Background: Julian of Norwich is responsible for one of the most famous phrases in all of mysticism, “All shall be well, all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” In her vision this is said by Jesus. He is responding to her distress. She states that if God had just stopped sin from happening, then “all should have been well.”
Jesus response is that sin is necessary. But it doesn’t matter. And that’s when he gave Julian the phrase which she then gave the world: “all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”
It seems that the phrase has lots of resonance with those who do not know the wider context. It certainly appealed to me before I researched it. I like knowing the full story though, because it helps me to understand part of the appeal.
The Jesus of Julian’s vision uses her very own language. It is almost as if she says “Things were supposed to be good.” And that response is so very affirmative and over the top, that it puts it to shame. It is a little bit like the contrast between saying “he is risen.” and “he is risen indeed.” The second statement goes further than the first.
It seems like the appeal of this statement is in the promise that in the widest possible view, the outcome of everything will be so much better than we could have possibly hoped.
- Place your feet flat on the floor.
- Sit straight and comfortably.
- With the next inhale, think “All shall be well.”
- With the next exhale, think “And all shall be well.”
- With the next inhale, think “And all manner of things shall be well.”
- Repeat steps 5-8 for most of the time you have to devote to your practice today.
- When you are ready, release these words and sit in a time of wordless union,