The Hazelnut

In 1373, English anchoress and mystic Julian of Norwich received a series of visions that she spent her life attempting to understand. She recorded these visions and her interpretations in her book Revelations of Divine Love. In Chapter 5 of the “Long Text,” she writes:

And in this vision, [God] showed me a little thing, the size of a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand, and to my mind’s eye it was as round as any ball. I looked at it and thought, “What can this be?” And the answer came to me, “It is all that is made.” I wondered how it could last, for it was so small I thought it might suddenly disappear. And the answer in my mind was, “It lasts and will last forever because God loves it; and in the same everything exists through the love of God.”

In this little thing I saw three attributes: the first is that God made it, the second is that he loves it, the third is that God cares for it. But what does this mean to me? Truly, the maker, the lover, the carer; for until I become one substance with him, I can never have love, rest or true bliss; that is to say, until I am so bound to him that there may be no created thing between my God and me.