Monthly Reflections

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November 2017

Everything is Going to be All Right

by Rich P.


Father “Bo” T.M. Lyons, spiritual director extraordinaire, and I were having dim sum at Furama restaurant. For those of you who are unfamiliar with dim sum, it is the Chinese version of Sunday brunch or Spanish tapas, with all manner of dumplings, buns and other goodies served up from small carts that circulate through the restaurant.

We were talking about the phrase “everything is going to be all right”. I observed that the phrase is often used with children, relatives, spouses and friends to give comfort in difficult times.

“Yes,” stated Father “Bo”. “We like to tell those close to us that although we are not sure how, difficulties will somehow be overcome or resolved and things will get better.”

“Do you know where the expression comes from?” I asked.

“Perhaps Julian of Norwich” Father “Bo” speculated.  “Julian of Norwich was just becoming more widely known in the last century, although she wrote a book about her revelations in the fourteenth century. Thomas Merton felt that along with Cardinal Newman, she is the greatest English theologian. I have just discovered her, and I find her writings amazing, more so since she wrote in the fourteenth century. She was the first woman to write a book in the English language.”

“O.K.,” I said, “but why do you think that the expression “everything is going to be all right” comes from her?”

“I have no proof” replied Father “Bo”, “but in Julian’s thirteenth revelation, Julian wonders why did God in His infinite wisdom not prevent the beginning of sin? If God knew in advance that sin would so severely damage His magnificent creation and bring untold suffering ,why did He allow it to begin? In Julian’s mind, if sin had never been allowed, then all would have been well.”

Father “Bo” went on. “This was Jesus’ response from Julian’s text, ‘But Jesus, who in this vision informed me of all that I needed, answered by this word and said “sin is behovely, but all shall be well, and all shall be well. And all manner of things shall be well.”

“What does behovely mean?” I asked.

“Behovely in middle English bears the connotation of useful, necessary, or even advantageous,” said Father “Bo”.

I replied, “I see that Jesus’ response to Julian in modern English could very well be translated as ‘everything is going to be all right’.  I don’t think, however, that we will get to see how everything is going to be all right in this life.”

Father “Bo” replied, “I agree. That is to be left for heaven when we will see how all manner of things shall be well. However, we do have a partial answer in the cross. What can be a more horrific evil than the murder of God? And yet, from that we have the redemption and salvation of mankind.”

“We know that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His decree.”  Roman 8:28