As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,
knelt down before him, and asked him,
“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good?
No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments: You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
you shall not defraud;
honor your father and your mother.”
He replied and said to him,
“Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,
“You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
At that statement, his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
(Mark 10: 17-22)
There is such beauty and good news in St. Mark's little detail that Jesus looked at the man and loved him. For what does Jesus have a special love for the devout soul?
Not for its perfection, certainly, for this man lacked what he still needed to do to be perfect.
And not for any perfection that it will later have either, for Jesus certainly knew that this man would go away sad.
So for what does Jesus love the devout soul? Simply for the eager desire to want to be open to the next step, regardless of relative success or failure in the spiritual life. That's it.