RONALD Rolheiser, the author of “Sacred Fire: A Vision for a Deeper Human and Christian Maturity,” puts it this way: “The struggle for maturity, to give our lives away in an even more generous way, is a lifelong endeavor. In this life, we never fully arrive. There is something always to be done, and God respects that.”
Indeed, life is a constant invitation to change, to renew ourselves, to be great instead of just being good. God meets us at different stages of our lives and calls us to stretch our hearts and minds to deeper understanding, compassion, and generosity.
Perhaps, we should look at this Sunday’s Gospel on the Parable of the Wheat and the Weeds from the vantage point of compassion to one’s self than of God’s compassion to us. What do I mean by this? There are many times when can be so hard on ourselves: we can’t deal with our personal imperfections; we become impatient with our inability to overcome our faults; we constantly blame ourselves.
God, however, seems to treat us differently. He sees our desire to change and our hidden motives, and he is patient with us. He lets the “wheat” of our lives grow with the “weeds.” He is more tolerant and more compassion with us than we are with our own selves.
Realizing this truth about God is liberating! We become more tender with ourselves and with other people. We shed off our perfectionist behaviors and accept the fact that we will never be “done” or we will never arrive at one’s ideal self. It is only God who will make each of us perfect!
As we muse about our lives this summer, let’s not only take the time to relax and to pamper ourselves with rest and vacation days, but also to do the exercise of being kinder to ourselves.
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From a Filipino immigrant family, Reverend Rodel G. Balagtas was ordained to the priesthood from St. John’s Seminary in 1991. He served as Associate Pastor at St. Augustine, Culver City (1991-1993); St. Martha, Valinda (1993-1999); and St. Joseph the Worker, Canoga Park (1991-2001). In 2001, he served as Administrator Pro Tem of St. John Neumann in Santa Maria, CA, until his appointment as pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary, Los Angeles, in 2002, which lasted 12 years. His term as Associate Director of Pastoral Field Education at St. John’s Seminary began in July 2014.