While on vacation, I came across a certain painting that was hanging on the wall of my children’s bedroom in the house where we were staying. There was no information on the painting as to who the painter was or where it was sold. The background was reminiscent of the green grass of a field and in the foreground was a football with a saying:
“Perfection is not attainable but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”
I didn’t think much of it at first, but after I saw that saying again when putting the kids to bed that night, I laid awake unable to get it out of my mind.
A few weeks earlier, I was talking about Jesus’ sermon in the Gospel of Matthew with my 7th grade PSR class. Within the text was a line that the students where struggling to understand: “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48). As we discussed this, I thought to myself that people of all ages, including myself, struggle with the meaning of this same line.
It seems that today, society has acquired a “god-like” complex, putting the emphasis on perfection; that anything less is failure. The pressures we put on ourselves are so great that we are at our boiling point. We miss the point and this painting helped put it back into perspective for me.
I came across a summary of Jesus’ sermon on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website. Their summation of verse 48 is that “His disciples, as children of God, must imitate the example of their Father, who grants his gifts of sun and rain to both the good and the bad.” What a great parallel to the saying on that painting on the wall:
“Perfection is not attainable…”, and as humans, we are not perfect, we make mistakes, we sin, but God always forgives His children (Reconciliation). “But if we chase perfection…” to do our best to live our lives as Jesus showed us, with the unique gifts that God gave each of us, “…we can catch excellence,” the reward of the Kingdom of God.
Keep your senses open, because you never know where or how you will find the truth.
Featured image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net