In the book, Prayer Our Deepest Longing, Fr. Ronald Rolheiser talks about various ways to look at what it means to be holy or perfect. He says, “There are two classical concepts of perfection, one Greek and the other Hebrew. In the Greek idea, to be perfect is to have no deficiencies, no faults, no flaws. Perfection, to the Greek mind, means to measure up to some ideal standard, to be whole, true, good, and beautiful. To be perfect is never to sin.”
Rohlheiser continues, “The Hebrew ideal of perfection is quite different. In this mindset, to be perfect simply means to walk with God, despite our flaws. Perfection here means being in the divine presence, in spite of the fact that we are not perfectly whole, good, true, and beautiful…….to be perfect means walking with God, despite imperfection.”
In the Christian scriptures (Luke 18:1-8) Jesus told his disciples that it is important to pray always without becoming weary.” In many ways Jesus encourages us to, “just show up.”
“Just show up” has become a rather common saying in spiritual and psychological arenas. “Just showing up” can mean that all we need to do is to be present. No need for words, no need to “do”, no need to be anyone other than who we are. So it is in relationship with God. God does not ask us to be perfect as in the Greek sense, not making mistakes, etc. rather God, the Divine spirit, asks us to “show up” to be present and to listen, just as we are…
I often wonder if the abuse of alcohol and drugs and other addictions comes from a feeling of being imperfect in the Greek sense and the need to cover that pain. Whereas the reality is we are beautifully, wonderfully made in the image of the Divine and really there isn’t anything to cover up. God loves us as we are, flaws, searching and imperfection …and all.
Our invitation is to embrace our imperfection and receive God’s love…and do not throw stones at ourselves.
Blessings and peace