Barb Spies, OFS, Director of Mission Services and Pastoral Care

Last week we had a Gospel reading at Mass from the Matthew 5:43-48. The final verse was, “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” I’ve been thinking about that line ever since. It’s a pretty big demand of us! But, I don’t think Jesus would call us to do something that is impossible. One of the beautiful things in the Franciscan tradition is the call for daily conversion. Reminding ourselves each day of our purpose in striving to be who God wants us to be is helpful. If we read the Gospel and work to follow its precepts in our lives, we are making our strides toward perfection.

Franciscan Friar Fr. Dan Horan, OFM, has written many wonderful books that offer us wisdom. In his book The Franciscan Heart of Thomas Merton, he explains some challenges for his readers. The first is to “become instruments of peace” which requires us to “more intentionally look at how we understand the human person.” Seeing in each person the image and likeness of God leads us to treat each individual with care.

The second challenge is to “look to Jesus Christ in the Gospel as both the fullest revelation of who God is and the fullest revelation of who we are.” As we see Jesus offer love, forgiveness, and peace, then so must we. I think of the hymn “They Will Know We Are Christians by Our Love.” I had a friend who was studying to be a priest. He’d start humming that hymn when he was in conversation with classmates after a disagreement erupted. It was both funny and a really important reminder of who we are meant to be!

The third challenge is “to consider how we view others.” When we pray “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,” Fr. Dan says that we are praying for that ideal view of ourselves and others. When we work to view others and the world through the eyes of God, we can’t help but strive for peace and justice. Our daily work of conversion keeps calling to us. May your week be filled with perfection!

Blessed Angela: “Perform all activities as much as possible with a pure intention of pleasing God.”

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