Maybe, finally, I’m beginning to understand the biblical idea of perfection!

In commenting on Benedict’s Rule, Joan Chittister (The Rule of Benedict:  A Spirituality for the 21st Century) talks about creating a “habit” or “delight” in virtue.  Our humility (knowing ourselves as God knows us — how little we are) is the foundation of our relationship with God.  If we are honest about who we are, we will come to know God.  We will never be flawless, and “earn” God.  But if we recognize the presence of God in our lives, we will become more perfect.  Not in the sense that I bring with me of being flawless (impeccable).  But “in the biblical sense of having become matured, ripened, whole.”

The idea seems to be that in recognizing God’s presence in our life, by habitually welcoming God’s presence in our life, we grow into being what God created us to be.  We ripen.  We mature.  We become whole (in my mind, a synonym for holy — complete as God intended us).  A wonderful (perfect) garden tomato can be ugly and buggy.  But it is truly what it is meant to be (and it will work wonderfully in my salad).  This seems to connect in my mind with God’s (“kairos,” or completeness or fullness of) time (as opposed to our “chronos,” or by the clock or calendar measure of time).  Garden vegetables and people grow and ripen in God’s time — not by the calendar.  Perfection doesn’t mean we are without fault.  It means we have become whole.  It means we are who we are meant to be in Christ Jesus our Savior.  It means that God is so much a part of our life that we live in that awareness habitually — it shapes how we live.

I’m trying to put this together in my mind with Norvene Vest’s (Preferring Christ: A Devotional Commentary & Workbook on the Rule of St. Benedict) suggestion that we turn to Christ and put Jesus ahead of everything else because Jesus is desirable (“a matter of almost erotic loving”) and not out of a sense of duty or oughtness.  And in my mind that takes me back to Capon’s idea that God draws us, attracts us, by the “beauty of holiness” (The Third Peacock: The Problem of Good and Evil – which I read back in seminary). Living life in Christ is beautiful and rewarding.  It is what makes us whole.

So, anyway, at least a glimmer …