This morning, I wandered to another book in my stack: "All Shall be Well" by Robert Llewelyn, a priest, retreat conductor and chaplain at the Julian Shrine in Norwich until his death in 2006. In his exploration of the spirituality of Julian of Norwich, Llewelyn writes about the process of becoming purified in soul. It involves, he says, an embracing of humility.
Llewelyn encourages us to live our lives in the presence of the God of love, to focus on His compassion and kindness. As we seek to do so, we become aware of things like envy or jealousy, anger or lust. The temptation is to hide these feelings or motivations, to suppress them in a desire to seem more holy (or healthy) than we are. It's as if one goes to the doctor and then refuses to name the symptoms.
But God will have nothing if not ourselves filled with Him. He welcomes us to come into His presence, to sit and notice what is not of love (what causes us dis-ease). But then He takes our face in His hands, and turns our eyes toward Him. He invites us to sit under the fountain of His boundless compassion and desire for our good. It is humbling to admit that we are filled with thoughts and beliefs that are less than generous, like crusty residue on a forgotten bowl, set aside from last night's dinner. But God's love desires to flow and flow, dissolving, rinsing, gushing through our lives.