The Highest Prayer

From Revelations of Divine Love 1.6 (ca. 1415) 

The purpose of this revelation was to teach our soul the wisdom of cleaving to the goodness of God. And so our customary practice of prayer was was brought to mind: how through our ignorance and inexperience in the ways of love we spend so much time on petition. I saw that it is indeed more worthy of God and more truly pleasing to him that through his goodness we should pray with full confidence, and by grace cling to him with real understanding and unshakable love, than that we should go on making as many petitions as our souls are capable of. For however numerous our petitions, they still come short of being wholly worthy of him. For in his goodness is included all one can want, without exception. 

To know the goodness of God is the highest prayer of all, and it is a prayer that accommodates itself to our most lowly needs. It quickens our soul, and vitalizes it, developing in it grace and virtue. Here is the grace most appropriate to our need, and most ready to help. Here is the grace which our soul is seeking now, and which it will ever seek until that day when we know for a fact that he has wholly united us to himself. He does not despise the work of his hands, nor does he disdain to serve us, however lowly our natural need may be. He loves the soul he has made in his own likeness.  

Julian of Norwich (1343-ca. 1417) is the name commonly given to an English anchoress attached for decades to Norwich’s Church of St. Julian, where many visited her for spiritual counsel. She experienced a series of visions of Christ’s Passion in 1373, and recounted them, with extensive theological commentary, in The Revelations of Divine Love, the first book written in English by a woman. She is commemorated on May 8 on the calendars of several Anglican churches. 


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