Julian’s teachings about Goodness, Joy, and Awe: Drink in goodness and ‘God, the same thing as nature — the very essence of nature’. Value awe. Reverently marvel. To behold God in all things is to live in complete joy.

“God is the same thing as nature,” and God is “the very essence of nature.”

From Matthew Fox, Jan. 21, 2021 – Hearing the new president yesterday, I felt that a search for goodness was on the agenda again from our political leaders, including a search for truth, justice and the common good.

Julian of Norwich and her vision of the hazelnut. Iconographer unknown.

As we have seen, goodness and the search for it lies at the heart of Julian’s teaching.  She offers us at least 15 teachings about Goodness, Joy, and Awe

Some people complain that the West has few spiritual practices compared to the East.  I disagree.  Both lineages have much to offer and we need both today.  Julian offers us the practice of looking for goodness. A summary of her teachings follows.

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Fall in love with the world, in spite of history.

Remember what a blessing it is to be here in an amazing universe on an amazing planet after an amazing journey of 13.8 billion years. See the bigger picture.

“When the Clouds Broke” Photo by Alfred Aloushy on Unsplash

Drink in goodness. And remember: “The first good thing is the goodness of nature.”

Do not become “too blind to comprehend the wondrous wisdom of God, too limited to grasp the power and goodness” of what is being revealed to us daily.

“God is the same thing as nature,” and God is “the very essence of nature.” Dwell on that.

“The goodness in nature is God.”

“Delight.” Photo by Jonathan Borbora on Unsplash.

God is “unending goodness” and an “endless goodness.”

God undergoes “supreme delights” and “five supreme joys” in particular that he/she “wants us to rejoice in also.”

We are all born into a “birthright of never-ending joy.”

 Healthy self-love is vital, and all we encounter in creation is “everything that God loves” also.

 “To behold God in all things is to live in complete joy.”

 Our work (inner and outer) is holy. “Dig and ditch, toil and sweat” to “make sweet floods to run and noble and abundant fruit to spring” in your soul and soil. Let this “food and drink” of your labor become your “true worship.”

“The Beekeepers.” Image by Michael Strobel from Pixabay

Value awe. The first duty of the soul is “to reverently marvel.” A “reverent awe is the proper response to the supreme beauty of the divine.”

 “This is the holiest prayer—the loving prayer of thanksgiving.”

 Thanksgiving leads to actions. “Charged with the quality of reverence and loving awe, we turn ourselves with all our might toward the actions” to which we are guided.


Adapted from Matthew Fox, Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic—and Beyond, pp. 101f., 20-33.

Banner Image: “Joyful Sunrise.” Photo by Austin Schmid on Unsplashhttps://www.youtube.com/embed/kGuwqx7SYUY

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