Friday, December 30, 2011

Giving Thanks

As I complete my 14th year as an Oblate of the Order of Julian of Norwich, I rejoice and celebrate with all my OJN sisters and brothers the anniversary of the founding of the Order by Fr. John Julian, OJN, on December 30, 1985. That day The Rt. Rev. W. Bradford T. Hastings, Episcopal Visitor of the Order and Suffragan Bishop of the Diocese of Connecticut, heard the solemn profession of life vows by Fr. John Julian, formerly John Douglas Swanson, and invested him with the staff and medallion of the Guardian of the Order. 

Fr. John Julian wrote earlier: "On a personal level, it is the blossoming of a flower whose seed was planted almost an immeasurable age ago. But you will understand that even after what seemed sometimes an interminable wait, it is still fraught with awe and dread. One hears the echo of Mother Julian's words: 'The soul may do no more than seek, suffer, and trust, and this is wrought in the the Holy Ghost; and the clearness of finding is of his special grace when it is his will."

Those last words resonate and echo, especially today, in the hearts of each of us who is a Member, Oblate or Associate of the Order. We've each been drawn into this common enterprise in many different ways: some determined and direct, some after much procrastinating or doubt, some in complete surprise. But here we find ourselves trying each day to "seek, suffer, and trust", by the nudging of the Spirit, to live our vows of holy poverty, chastity, obedience and prayer. Looking back on fourteen years -- and I know many feel the same as I do -- I'm not sure what I'd have done without the Order and the support of devoted and beloved sisters and brothers. Scott Peck opens his book The Road Less Traveled with the words "Life is difficult." He surely wasn't kidding, and anyone who's tried living by the Spirit knows the depth of those words in spades. 

Thanks be to God that Fr. John Julian was attentive to the call, despite many overwhelming odds, and by the Spirit's inspiration provided a means by which so many of us could come to know Mother Julian and drink from the springs of her amazing wisdom. And in the process, we have found ourselves, by God's "courteousness and love", as Julian would put it, growing ever closer to God and to each other, and reaching out with that same courteousness and love to the Church and the world. 

1 comment:

John-Julian, OJN said...

What a lovely gift! Many thanks, my dear Brother.