The Office of Readings today gives us a selection from St. Maximus, confessor, on the mercy of God and reconciliation. I won’t translate it all from the Italian, but do want to offer this paragraph for your reflection today.
“All the preachers of the truth, all the ministers of divine grace and all those who from the beginning up to the these present days who have spoken to us about the saving will of God tell us that nothing is more dear to God and more in conformity with his love than the conversion of men through a sincere repentence from sin. Because of this, and to lead all men to himself, God worked marvelous deeds and gave the greatest proof of his infinite goodness. The Word of the Father, with an act of inexpressable humility and incredible benevolence, took on our flesh and saw fit to live among us. He accomplished, suffered and said all that was necessary to reconcile us who were enemies and adversaries of God the Father. He reclaimed again for us the life from which we had been excluded….. He freed us from many and terrible sins. Even more, with many examples, he prods us to be like him in understanding, courtesy and perfect love toward our brothers. …. Teaching us the justice and goodness of God, he commands us, ‘Be holy, be perfect, be merciful as is your Father in heaven.'”
Don’t be afraid of that admonition to perfection. It is not a standard for condemnation or punishment. It is an indication of the greatness of our dignity and calling as sons and daughters of God. It is an indication of the heights to which we are called. It is an indication of what Jesus has won for us by his Passion, Death and Resurrection. The doors of Paradise (perfection) have been opened to us.
Food for thought.