Jesus said a hard thing when He said: Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
I don’t know about you, but I am not perfect. In fact, we pass off our failure by saying to ourselves: “Nobody is perfect.” This is wrong since at least the God-Man, Jesus, is perfect and there is a good theological argument that in her obedience His mother was also perfect.
When we demand perfection of ourselves, then we do great harm. We put our false ideas of perfection and our efforts in place of the good we can do. Striving to be perfect can drive a person utterly mad.
So here we are: imperfect. One strategy is to not worry. We are all imperfect, so imperfection can love company, but this is foolish. Instead, we can look to what can help us get better. If we cannot be perfect, perhaps we can be more perfect than we are. This at least stops our perfectionism that strains for something we cannot do.
Yet this is not enough. Jesus commanded us to be perfect and sadly, “closer to perfect” still is not perfect and only perfection will do. God’s utter joy is too intense for a soul with even a slight fault. Hell is the collapse of a broken soul in the face of the weight of God’s glory.
We must be transformed from within and the task is beyond our abilities. God must come and live in us and those parts of us that He inhabits are made perfect. As Saint Paul says, there is the imperfect old man and the new man that is coming.
We are simultaneously perfect and broken. Death will cause the broken bits to fall away while the perfection God makes, the persons we were meant to be, will be left. This impacts every part of us, if we will let it. Our minds can be made ready for paradise by Divine Wisdom, our hearts by Divine Love, and our passions purified by Divine Goodness. All we need to do is turn from our lies to God’s nature.
God is wisdom.When a man says: “I want to know,” then he is seeking God. When a man says, “I want to understand,” then he is seeking God. God is wisdom, there is no division. To know God is know virtue, wisdom, and joy. We know wisdom, because God knows all things and gives His children vision, understanding, and decidedness. We seek God and He reveals Himself to us. This vision of God, the experience of being born again, gives us a fresh understanding of the world.
We commit ourselves and then we see.
Is this experience for all? It can be. Christians are invited to perfection and we can move forward into divine transformation if we wish. Why don’t I wish this good thing? Simply because I am unwilling to lose what seems good enough.
*CS Lewis’ essay Weight of Glory is one of the most important I have ever read.