‘God wishes us to know that he safely protects us both in sorrow and joy equally, and he loves us as much in sorrow as in joy. And to benefit his soul, a man is sometimes left to himself, though not because of sin… But God gives generously when he so wishes, and sometimes allows us sorrow; and both come from love. So it is God’s will that we should hold onto gladness with all our might, for bliss lasts eternally, and pain passes and shall vanish completely. Therefore it is not God’s will that we should be guided by feelings of pain, grieving and mourning over them, but should quickly pass beyond them and remain in eternal joy, which is God almighty, who loves and protects us’. (Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love, Penguin Classics)
Julian of Norwich (c 1342) is the first writer in English definitely identified as a woman. She was an anchorite and mystic who experienced a series of divine revelations.