Servant of God, Isaac Thomas Hecker wrote on reflecting on passages of ““Showings of Divine Love,” by Juliana of Norwich (1342-1416)
The soul is at home in God as a man under his own roof, or a babe is in the arms of its mother. It is so true that man is not himself till he has found his home: in God. Mother Juliana wrote: “Highly are we to enjoy that God dwells in our soul; and more highly are we to enjoy that our soul dwells in God. Our soul is made to be God’s dwelling place: and the dwelling of our soul is God, which is unmade. It is a high understanding to inwardly see and know that God, who is our Maker dwells in our soul, and it is a higher understanding to more inwardly see and know that our soul which is created, dwells in God’s substance; and so we are what we are, by God.”
(Again Mother Julianna writes) “The cause for which we battle and suffer is the unknowing of love. For some believe God is almighty and may do all; and that God is all wisdom and can do all; but here is where we fail, not believing that God is all love and will do all. This unknowing is the greatest obstacle to God’s lovers.”
Quotes from Isaac Thomas Hecker CSP
A Response from Paul Robichaud CSP:
Father Hecker whose spirituality was grounded in his belief in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit cites Julian of Norwich’s “Showings.” Julian writes that through the Holy Spirit present in the soul, God the Trinity finds a dwelling place in each of us. That the very being of God sits within our created being. But she is not content with the fact that God dwells within us. Because God has found a dwelling place in our souls, we have within us extraordinary possibility. Because we dwell in the very substance of God, within each of us is the door, the gateway to God. Father Hecker, filled with hope and believing in extraordinary possibility, must have loved reading Juliana’s words, “we are what we are by God.” God continues the process of creating us and bringing us to fulfillment.
Father Hecker cites a second text from Juliana. For Juliana the problem of sin and evil comes from lack of knowledge, what she calls “unknowing.” Julian writes about the feminine as well as the masculine attributes of God. God as father has power and goodness and God as mother has wisdom and love, drawn from the courtly culture of the high middle ages. The greatest obstacle to faith is not the “knowing” of God’s power but the “knowing” of God’s love. If we are to use the gateway to God within our being, we need to be lovers as well as doers in order to grow closer to God.
Paulist Father Paul Robichaud CSP is Historian of the Paulist Fathers and Postulator of the Cause of Father Hecker. His office is located at the Hecker Center in Washington D.C.