The best known quote from Julian of Norwich, a great spiritual writer who died just over 600 years ago, is ‘All will be well and all manner of things will be well.’ When she wrote that, and many similar things, it was not the product of mindless optimism, but the result of her deep and unshakeable trust in the love of God, even, or perhaps especially, when things were going wrong.
At the funeral last week of Fr Kevin Snape, a wonderful priest who taught me Maths and Music in the 1960s, the homily spoke of how he had gradually, over the course of his long life, come to trust more and more in the goodness of God as a loving Father and how, coming across the writings of Julian of Norwich only a few weeks before he died, he had found himself at one with her confidence and trust in God.
The first reading this weekend adds another image for the unwavering love of God: the powerful bond between mother and child. Even if a mother could forget her child, God says to his people, I will never abandon you.
The psalm takes up the message, piling up the metaphors: in God alone is our soul at rest, because he is our rock, our stronghold, our safety and our glory, so we should trust him at all times.
Finally, in the Gospel, Jesus invites his followers to look around them, at the birds in the sky and the flowers of the field, so that they will not worry about the pressing needs of life. He doesn’t deny those pressing needs, reassuring us that our heavenly Father knows about everything we need. But he asks us to lift our eyes from the daily worries that weigh us down and to remember that, whatever else happens, we can rely on the God who loves us as a Father and Mother, and much more than any earthly parent can.
Today things may not seem to be going well for us but in God’s plan and in God’s time, all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.