Seek Perfection

8 Mar

“The Lord measures out perfection neither by the multitude nor the magnitude of our deeds, but by the manner in which we perform them.” ~ St. John of the Cross

A week and a half ago, we began this holy season of Lent. It started on Ash Wednesday and we were marked on the forehead by a cross made from the ashes of burned palms. We heard the admonition, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.”  On that day, we remembered our mortality.

Doing so, we were spurred on to enter the season with great honesty and humility.  We made resolutions for ourselves, promising to forgo on some of the things that we enjoy as well as to do positive good by performing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

I remember an episode of Touched By An Angel where a man who was not quite good had seen the Angel of Death.  He became frightened and began to do all sorts of good works all for the reason of trying to earn favor with God so that he would not have to face the Angel of Death.  His actions were all for show and were quite selfish.  He did not really care about people in need.  He was just trying to buy his way into heaven.

After his eyes were opened, he began to live his life in an entirely different manner, not trying to impress the Lord and win heaven but merely trying to please the Lord and give Him praise.

I think St. John of the Cross would have been pleased with that episode because his sentiment says much the same thing.  The Lord is not concerned with the multitude or magnitude of our deeds.  The Lord is concerned with what is in our hearts as we carry out our deeds.  If we do the things we do for show or in a vain attempt to earn heaven, we are on the wrong course.  If, however, we do the things that we do out of love for God, than no matter how great or small the deeds may be, God will be pleased.

What were the reasons behind our Lenten resolutions?  Did we resolve to do the things we are doing for God’s greater glory or for our own?  Did we resolve to do the things that we are doing to make points with God or to serve God with all our hearts?  It really does make a difference.

We are still early in the season.  Examine the reasons behind your resolutions.  If modifications need to be made, by all means do so.  Let God know by your words and deeds throughout the holy season that your desire is to draw closer to Him and not for your own benefit.

FAITH ACTION:  Pray for the grace to do the Lord’s will.  Encourage family and friends to hold firm to their Lenten resolve as well.