• “He never gives you more than you can bear. Every burden prepares you for eternity.” – Basilea Schlink

Margery Kempe (1373-1439)

Margery Kempe was illiterate and exhibitionistic but valiantly struggled to imitate the lives of these saints and their book-writing. She did so by means of having others read to her devotional books by Walter Hilton and by Birgitta of Sweden and then travelled to the same places Birgitta had visited as a pilgrim, Compostela, Jerusalem , Rome, Trondheim, Cologne and Gdansk. Her confessor was a Dominican, the Dominicans of Lynn being in direct contact with Catherine of Siena’ s Raymond of Capua. She next dictated her memoirs in order thatThe Book of Margery Kempe be written down. Birgitta had worked to reform the state, to reform the Kingdom of Sweden by reforming her King, then the state of Europe by reforming not only kings and queens but even Emperors and Popes. Her work with the Friends of God was not for herself but for all of Christendom. Catherine of Siena, likewise, worked for not only her city state of Siena, but for all of Tuscany, striving for peace between the ancient enemies, Siena, Pisa and Florence, then she worked for the Church and for peace in all of Christendom, begging the English mercenary, Sir John Hawkwood, to leave Tuscany and go on a bloody Crusade elsewhere, against pagans rather than Christians. Julian leaves aside issues of Church and State and works directly for the love of one’s even-Christian, and she even and perhaps especially shows that charity towards Margery Kempe. Birgitta, Catherine and Julian are characterised by joy, by laughter, Birgitta’s maid servant telling Margery many years later that her mistress had always a laughing cheer, Catherine of Siena being deeply loved by her disciples and joking about God playing a joke upon her, Julian bringing in laughter even at her death-bed scene. But Margery takes herself too importantly to be able to laugh at herself – and this makes it hard to take her seriously. What we find in these mystics’ writings is that self-importance is a form of noughting, while the love of God and one’s neighbour in God’s image, is oning .

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  • “My soul remained in a kind of heavenly elysium. So far as I am capable of making a comparison, I think that what I felt each minute, during the continuance of the whole time, was worth more than all the outward comfort and pleasure, which I had enjoyed in my whole life put together. It was a pure delight, which fed and satisfied the soul. It was peasure, without the least sting, or any interruption. It was a sweetness, which my soul was lost in. It seemed to be all that my feeble frame could sustain, of that fulness of joy, which is felt by those, who behold the face of Christ, and share his love in the heavenly world.” – Sarah Edwards, wife of Jonathan Edwards

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Verse of the Day

[Joy in the Fellowship of God] A Psalm of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water. — Psalm 63:1 (NKJV)

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