[from Julian of Norwich]

'Julian' was a 14th century English woman whose real name is unknown; she attached herself to the church of St Julian in Norwich as an anchoress or hermitess, to live a life of contemplation. She is often said to be the greatest of the English mystics.
     In the passages below she speaks of "Adam's tunic", by which she means human nature. It is worn by Adam, which means all of us ("in the sight of God all humankind is Adam and Adam is all humankind"), and of course by Jesus. Jesus wears our tunic, our human nature. This phrase of Julian's is a vivid image of our 'incorporation in Christ'. Today we are inclined to think of the individual as the ultimate repository of meaning, a position that entails many bizarre as well as tragic consequences. The Christian sense of the Body of Christ (or the Mystical Body, as it has been called) is the real alternative. We could also speak of 'the Christ-mind', or 'the Christ-nature', as Buddhists speak of the Buddha-mind or the Buddha-nature.

        Outwardly, [Adam] was clad humbly as a workman who was used to hard labour, and he stood very near the lord…. His clothing was a white tunic, thin, old and all soiled, stained with sweat of his body, tight fitting for him and short, as it were but a hand's width below the knee, undecorated, seeming as if it would soon be worn out, about to be turned to rags…. But inwardly in the servant was shown a foundation of love which he had for the lord which was equal to the love that the lord had for him….
     The white tunic is [Jesus's] flesh; its thinness is that there was absolutely nothing separating the Godhead and humanity; the tightness of the tunic is poverty; the age is from Adam's wearing it; the staining of sweat, from Adam's toil; the shortness shows the servant's work.
     And thus I saw the Son standing, saying in his meaning, "Behold, my dear Father, I stand before you in Adam's tunic all ready to jump up and to run. I am willing to be on the earth to do your honour when it is your will to send me…."
     By the fact that his tunic was at the point of being turned to rags and torn is understood the stripes and the scourges, the thorns and the nails, the pulling and the dragging, his tender flesh tearing….
     The body was in the grave until Easter morning, and from that time on he lay down never more. Then was rightfully ended the wallowing and the writhing, the groaning and the moaning; and our mortal flesh that God's Son took upon himself (which was Adam's old tunic, tight, bare and short) then by our Saviour was made fair, new, white and bright, and of endless purity, wide and long….
     No longer stands the Son before the Father as a servant fearfully, plainly clad, in part naked, but now he stands before the Father directly, richly clad in blessed ampleness, with a crown upon his head of precious richness (for it was shown that we are his crown, which crown is the Father's joy, the Son's honour, the Holy Spirit's pleasure, and endless marvellous bliss to all that are in heaven.   

In their many different idioms the classical spiritual writers have attempted to throw light on the eternal question of union with God. 
Every month we give you a brief passage from a spiritual classic.