There is no definitive interpretation of the meaning of “Conversatio,” but one that stood out and had the greatest impact for me concerns the daily acceptance of our human condition:
We are human; we are not perfect; we make mistakes; we will at times fail.
As someone who knows me best will verify, aka my wife (hi, honey), I have trouble accepting this and it shows. I tend to be a perfectionist, and am hard on myself when I don’t achieve it. I can be self-deprecating, beating myself up emotionally. I tend to over-analyze the most insignificant details wasting minutes, sometimes hours, agonizing over them in the pursuit of perfection.
I also know that I am not alone in this pursuit. Why do we do this to ourselves? God only needs for us to do our best with what He gave us. He understands our failures and will always forgive. Only God is perfect, so why do we try to be like Him?
There is a flip side to this: How do we treat others when it comes to their failures and imperfections? All I want from my children is to give it their best. So why do I demand perfection? Why is their best sometimes not good enough for me?
This is what happens: I get upset for them not being perfect and they get upset because they don’t understand what they did wrong. Like I said before, only God is perfect. So why do I expect others to be perfect? Again, I also know that I am not alone in this pursuit, for I have been on the receiving end of such tirades as well.
Why is it easier for us to berate others than to understand and forgive? We see this happen between parents and children, family and friends, employers and employees—the list goes on. Yet we tend to forget that we are a community living together, be it at home, work or in society.
As Christians, we are a community centered on the teachings of the life of Jesus Christ. As Brother Benet Tvedten, O.S.B. states,
“Christ is the chain that binds us…and we are all bound to one another.”
In the eyes of God, we are all equal; we are all human. So why is it so easy for us to judge and deny, yet so hard for us to accept and forgive ourselves and others?
[my next blog: Benedictine Spirituality from a lay person: Conclusion (part 7 of 7)]
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