Pondering Perfection


We are invited to be perfect “as the Father’s perfect”. But only the Father is perfect. This “unrealistic” reaching for the impossible is a stumbling block for many. How can sinners become perfect? Perfection thus is seen a fixed state, which is different from seeing it as being progressional. The stimulus then becomes its own gratification . To be received into the kingdom of God, the young man who had kept the commandments all his life, was counselled by Jesus to sell off all his riches, give the proceeds to the poor, and then become a follower. It was a big ask, yet possible for one wanting to serve one master. Jesus is always asking for that extra effort: to walk that extra mile: to turn the other cheek: to forgive seventy times seven. The disciple, like a super athlete trains to break a record. Once achieved, the bar is raised higher for the next aspirant. There is no resting on laurels in this constant quest for perfection. When one mountain is surmounted, there is another ahead waiting to be climbed.

To those daunted by the challenge, Jesus has the answer, “All things are possible for God”. With His help we can ask a mountain to be removed, it will be moved. A plant tended to by humans during the day grows mysteriously during the night. So too with God’s help a camel may walk through the eye of a needle – if we believe.

Our spiritual life is the co-related organic dimension of our earthly presence. When our muscles and physical structure grow so too do awareness of history, the environment, and that uncanny ability to speculate on the future. Concurrently a spiritual growth also takes place (whether we recognise it or not). St Ignatius would say, just as the body needs exercise and nurturing, so does our spiritual life. By ignoring it we dumb it down, or, leave it stunted at some childhood level. Thereby, exposing it to misconceptions and unbalanced ridicule. 

Perfection of all that’s perfect, my Lord and Master! Teach me to walk in the way of perfection. You, who remain hidden from the learned and frustrate the proud, hear my prayer. Smile upon me, gather me in your arms, and give me the grace to seek earnestly, with humility, for that priceless pearl for which I would give up all desires and riches, and follow you.