Except for Our Lady, not one of us was born into the perfect life. (Your mother-in-law might think her son is perfect, but…)
Here’s the thing. Jesus says in Matthew 5:48 “be perfect even as your heavenly father is perfect.” And let’s be honest, that’s a bit of a high bar. “C’mon Jesus! Isn’t that impossible for everyone descended from Adam and Eve? I’m struggling hard to be good, much less perfect!”
But while Christ calls us to the perfect life, we have to understand how that happens. We have to reorder our understanding of perfection. The bottom line is that we can’t make it happen on our own.
In case you haven’t noticed, we’re a bit weak thanks to that original couple with no belly buttons. But that’s okay. God is well aware of our inadequacies. In fact, he sent his Son to make up for our inadequacies.
In 2 Corinthians 2:9-10, St. Paul says of the Lord, “but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Except for your Uncle Phil apologizing for taking another hot dog at the family picnic, when was the last time you heard someone boast of their weakness?
Paul continues: “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (v. 11)
In other words, perfection means accepting our weaknesses. It’s only by giving them over to Christ that we become strong. That’s why Paul is “content” in his weakness. He knows Christ works through it to make him holy, to move him toward perfection.
That doesn’t mean he isn’t striving with all of his might to be holy. Rather, he accepts that without Christ, he can do “nothing.” (John 15:5)
So if you get frustrated with various spiritual struggles, don’t get too down on yourself. Instead, relax a little and give them over to our Lord. That’s the only path to perfection humans can actually travel.