Thursday, November 03, 2011


I hate making mistakes, which is really a pain because I do it all the time. When I read the gospels, though, I don't feel so bad, because I see that the disciples made mistakes all the time, too. Peter was forever putting his foot in his mouth—In Mark 9:5 he's having this dazzling experience with Jesus, James, John, Moses and Elijah, and he has to blurt something out. Right afterward, a cloud appears and a voice tells Peter (and the rest) "This is my beloved Son; listen to him!"

In Mark 16, we see Mary and Mary and Salome going to visit Jesus’ tomb. They have no idea how they're going to get in there (Mark 16:3)—planning's not so good. Once they do get in, they receive instructions (Mark 16:7 "But go, tell his disciples..."). They don't obey the instructions (Mark 16:8)—execution's not so good.

There are lots more like this, and as I said, this gives me hope because... well, no need to go into details.

Today I also read some of Merton's words about mistakes, which mean so much more to me now that I know he struggled with these things himself. He is like one of the high priests spoken of in Hebrews 5:2, who "can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness."

As long as we are on Earth our vocation is precisely to be imperfect, incomplete, insufficient in ourselves, changing, hapless, destitute and weak, hastening toward the grave. But the power of God and His eternity and His peace and His completeness and His glory must somehow find their way into our lives, secretly, while we are here, in order that we may be found in Him eternally as He has meant us to be.

The relative perfection which we must attain to in this life if we are to live as sons of God is not the twenty-four-hour-a-day production of perfect acts of virtue, but a life from which practically all the obstacles to God's love have been removed or overcome.

No Man Is an Island 7.10 (pp. 129-130)
Doesn't that sound good? To know that mistakes are part of life, nothing to be surprised about, to have God's power and peace &c finding their way into our lives, and to have nothing between God's love and us... sign me up! What's stopping me from getting there? Merton tells us in the next sentence:
One of the chief obstacles to this perfection of selfless charity is the selfish anxiety to get the most out of everything, to be a brilliant success in our own eyes and in the eyes of other men.
I resemble this remark too! Thanks be to God; he knows all this and chose us and called us anyway. And that's good news.

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