God’s goodness is always complete, and incomparably closer to us, for truly our lover, God, wants our souls to cling to him with all their might, and always be clinging to his goodness. For all of the things that the heart can think, this pleases God most and helps us soonest. For our soul is so especially loved by him who is highest that it surpasses the knowledge of all created things…who can know how much and how sweetly and how tenderly our maker loves us.Julian of Norwich: Revelations of Divine Love. Chapter 6, Long Text.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 1and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.Ephesians 3: 17b-18
It was St Teressa of Avilla that lit the touch paper to my own contemplative journey through her work The Interior Castle. Reading it simply reconnected me to an awareness of my soul, for it is the soul that is eternal, pre-existent even, and yet often the part of us that we know least about. It is who we are, and it contains the Image of God. So much of our life is lived in the context of exterior stimuli that seek our constant attention; work, school, family, friends, Brexit! Richard Rhor in Everything Belongs is very perceptive when describing the contemplative journey; it has to be real and as much part of our everyday lives as it is sitting in solitude.
The more that we can attend to our soul by recognising the sacred space that is contained within each one of us, the more we will be able to receive and cling to his goodness. And the more that we are aware of his goodness, the more we are able to be still; the patch of calm in the eye of the storms of life. This connectedness is a daily reality, rather than something that we find only in meditation or solitude, however often this is where it starts. Finding God’s goodness as a living reality in our lives allows us to navigate the stormy waters of life, engage with the world, find true compassion. It is an awareness of his goodness that equips us to cary the lantern through the valleys that others are transiting and lead them through to hope, without becoming lost ourselves.