Guest Post: Perfectionism vs. the Will of God

(Many thanks to reader Rannygazoo, who has written today’s post, a brief meditation on a recent experience when out for a walk.)

While taking a walk and praying the Rosary I came across a piece of cellophane from someone’s gas-station sticky bun.  I practiced “pick it up, don’t pass it up”, intending to dispose of it in a trash can farther along my route.  A few feet away I spied a tattered shopping bag “flag” waving breezily from atop tall grass bordering an empty field.  As I had set the precedent I might as well get that, too.  A little way more and a candy wrapper sprawled in the gutter.  Why not? Feeling vaguely virtuous I proceeded, enjoying birds, sunshine and leaves when I saw a Sonic cup in some landscaping.  I wanted to get it too, but…my hands were full.  Quandary!  Of course, if I quit praying and put my Rosary in my pocket I could pick up the cup.  But I wanted to pray. Yet I wanted to pick up the litter, too.  What to do?!

After a brief mental skirmish I averted my eyes, walked past the cup and continued with the Rosary. I realized that I am not responsible for saving the world from debris.  I can’t, anyway.  I am also not a cloistered nun whose full time job it is to pray contemplatively.  What I am called to do is live my vocation, in my little piece of the world, doing all the good I can.  Any guilt that wells up is likely from the Evil One trying to discourage me from doing even the little good that I am attempting!  But God is kind and His grace is plentiful.  I merely need to live in the present moment seeking His grace to do the next right thing that is within my power. But I accept that each will be accomplished in a limited way–I collect the trash I can in the moment and pray the way I can in the moment.

That is what Our Lord wants from each of us.  Not perfection.  Not even success.  Just our best effort.  And the amazing thing is that He will give each of us, if we ask Him, everything necessary to do his Will.  In a nutshell that is how each of us can become a saint—by doing God’s Will in our own corners.  And sometimes that will entail a walk, a Rosary and garbage!

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