Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astounded and said, “Then who can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”
Then Peter said in reply, “Look, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
As a teacher of talented, highly motivated students, I often find myself in conversations with them about the perils of perfectionism. I find myself reminding my students of something I constantly have to remind myself: the perfect is the enemy of the good. Perfectionism traps me in the prison of self, forcing me to constantly think about myself and what I could do better, rather than the good that is already at work.
The absurdity of the image of a camel passing through a needle’s eye only serves as the setup for the next hammer Jesus drops: “For men this is impossible.” No amount of my perfectionism, no extra task, no extra effort can allow me singlehandedly to make the reign of God come, and trying too hard turns my focus to myself, my ego, my riches. Where am I being called today to let go of my own designs on the perfect and instead notice God’s possibilities?
—Matthew Spotts, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic teaching history and religion at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School, Indianapolis IN.
May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.
—St. Therese of Lisieux