Sunday, February 28, 2010

Being "Perfect"

I was very fortuntate to be able to attend the *Columbus Catholic Women's Conference* yesterday. (Thanks Mom and Colleen and Reenie and Jon who all tag-teamed watching my boys!) It was a very nice day and I enjoyed being with my friends and praying and hearing the speakers.

One of the most memorable inspirations/challenges for me came from the Bishop's homily at Mass. Based on a reading from Matthew 5, he talked about the call to "be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect." Well, I am a perfectionist. Jon is too. We often joke about wanting things to be perfect and I spend much reflection and effort reminding myself that things can't/won't always be perfect. But here's the Gospel and the Bishop exhorting me to be perfect.

The key to this passage (which is so easy for me to miss) is to be perfect AS GOD IS PERFECT.... rather than "in the way that Katie thinks is perfect." God is perfect love, perfect mercy, perfect forgiveness. So often the perfection that I seek is ruthless and without real merit. It's about extraneous details or image or proving something or getting things done or finding my famous "sense of well being." That kind of perfection is not from God. I find myself running around in circles (physically, spiritually, mentally) trying to make things perfect and it becomes destructive to me and leads me away from God. It is selfish.

I realized in my prayer and reflection yesterday that I need to let God love me perfectly and teach me how to love more perfectly. Ironically, it may be in letting go of my quest for perfection in little things that I will grow closer to true perfection. I need to love myself enough to stop trying to make my own brand of perfection happen and let God speak and work more freely and fully in my life.

Bishop Campbell talked about perfect love, the quest for perfection in a powerful way. He reminded us that we can't say, "I forgive you but I won't forget!" We can't say we forgive someone, but keep the hurt locked up in a little cage in our heart and then take it out once in a while to visit and feed it. That is not the way God loves. That is not the way I want to love.

Another speaker challenged us by asking, "When people talk about you, do they say, 'She is just like Jesus Christ'?" (Of course we all really humbly laughed at that!) We were reminded to strive to grow in virtue, to imitate Jesus, to give God permission to really work powerfully in our lives.

And so, as I bid the "fabulous" month of February goodbye, I plan to "march" into March with a renewed heart. I felt so tired last night and today.... maybe from letting go of some things on my "perfection agenda." I relaxed and enjoyed having Jon home and not doing taxes. We went to Mass, took the boys swimming at the Y, and went to *Red Robin* for dinner.

Thank you, God, for your perfect love. Help me let go of the relentless pursuit of my own brand of perfection, that I may be transformed more fully into your image, into love that is perfect. I want to reflect you more perfectly, to be your mirror. I give you permission to lead me where you want me to go and to teach me to love more perfectly. Amen.


  1. Katie,
    Can I just say I love your blog! When I have gone on retreats you have lead I have said to myself, she says things I am thinking but she says them with so much grace and so "perfectly." Now I read this blog and think the same thing. God has given you a real gift and I am so glad I can experience it. I am so thankful for your friendship! Becky

  2. Katie, you said that "perfectly"...and that's a GOOD thing! Love you! ~ Mitzi