That we be perfect PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 20 July 2018 13:37

REFLECTION

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

CHRIST himself said it very clearly. In fact, he said it as a command. “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mt 5,48)

We need to feel at home with this divine injunction, and not to be afraid of it. More than that, we need to find ways of how we can translate this injunction into a reality in our life, something that is done knowingly and freely and not because we are commanded to do so.

To be sure, this command can be done, because on the part of God, everything has already been given so that we can manage to do it freely. And on our part, with the spiritual character of our

nature, we can also manage to go beyond the limitations of our material condition as well as to handle the moral difficulties that would be involved in the process.

We just have to be clear about what this perfection is, that Christ is asking us to achieve. It’s clearly not perfectionism that would express itself in self-righteousness, rigidity, fastidiousness, irritability, fanatical fervor. Perfectionism would not know how to handle mistakes, faults, defects, sins, whether they are of oneself or of others.

Christian perfection is a perfection of love as shown by Christ himself. The divine order to be perfect comes as some kind of conclusion to Christ’s long discourse, all in Matthew 5, about the beatitudes, about us being the light of the world, about the need to follow strictly the law but also to go beyond it, about our need to make our righteousness surpass that of the scribes and the Pharisees.

It comes after being told that we should not be afraid to cut a hand or to pluck an eye if they get in the way of our sanctification and salvation. Also, that we should not resist evil, that is, if one strikes us in the right cheek, we offer the other.

Then, to top it all, Christ told us to love even our enemies.

All these premises are pregnant with implications, both theoretical and practical. In these times of rapid communication and information, we should be very aware of them and try our best to live them.

We have to learn to leave behind what so far we think is loving, because love by nature goes without measure. We have to follow its unending quest and adventure, relying mainly on the impulses of God’s grace.

What is ironical is that in spite of our very advanced information technology, many of us may be gaining a lot of technical and scientific knowledge, but losing the religious knowledge, wisdom and piety. We need to do some drastic revision of attitudes.

What is clear is that we have to revolutionize our understanding of love which is the essence of our perfection. It should go beyond the parameters of our human condition, and give the dynamics of grace full play.

In practical terms, this could mean that we should never say enough to the demands of love. Loving requires us to be vitally in touch with God through prayers, recourse to the sacraments, development of virtues, carrying out of our responsibilities.

If we persist in praying, we can increasingly discern God’s will for us moment to moment. Our capacity to follow his will and to receive and share his powers and wisdom increases. We would just find ourselves swept by the forcefulness of his love. What we found before as difficult, if not impossible, to do, we would find it rather easy now.

This perfection of love has endless manifestations. We would always think well of others in spite of their mistakes and even their offenses against us. Like God, we would be slow to anger and quick to forgive.

Last Updated on Friday, 20 July 2018 16:29