God, Rigidity, and You!

Our Lord told us, in Matthew 5, “Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Now, something that is perfect has no need to change.  Need to change implies imperfection. A god who changes wouldn’t be God at all. Dig, dig and we find that God simply cannot change. God is … “rigid”.

Our Lord told us, in effect, “Be rigid, as also your heavenly Father is rigid!”

And… come to think of it, God is also Mystery.  He could even be said to be hiding something…


[I am so encouraged that so few people figured out what I did here.]


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. AM says:

    “Flecte quod est rigidum”, though.

  2. majuscule says:

    I see what you did there!

  3. Lucas Whittaker says:

    Indeed! The very measure of growing in depth of conversion and becoming a saint, as you irenically describe the precept to become like unto our unchanging God.

  4. Polly Wogs says:

    I did the longest exegesis of my life on the passage from which this line comes. When I was done I felt like I had really learned something about the difference between God-perfect and me-perfect. For anyone who’s interested, here was my conclusion:

    This passage offers a valuable lesson about human perfection, and one that could be more precisely articulated in the contemporary context. The command to “be perfect” tends to be heard by moderns as an impossible expectation of sinlessness. For this reason it is incumbent upon catechists and preachers to deepen the understanding of the term “perfection” (teleios) as it is used in the text itself.

    The temptation in a learning environment to replace the term “perfect”, on the human side of the analogy, with another that seems less demanding, should be avoided. The Matthean Jesus demonstrates that perfection (teleios), as an attribute of the human person, is not a state, but a process. Such a process leads to personal holiness and unites the disciple with God. Thus, one who teaches from this text should address the learner with an articulate grasp of the equivocal nature of terms predicated commonly of both man and God within the context of analogies.

    The human side of perfection is shown in the end to be a matter of ongoing imitation of the always-loving God. Such imitation carries one’s striving as it exists on the human side of the analogy into consistent holiness such that the image of God as love can be seen in human terms. The purest form of such an image is seen in Jesus himself.

  5. Midwest St. Michael says:

    “Our Lord told us, in effect, “Be rigid, as also your heavenly Father is rigid!””

    Ah Father, don’t you know? Haven’t you heard?

    To be “rigid” (perfect) is an *ideal* that our Lord really doesn’t expect His faithful to actually obtain. No-no. This is something we reach for, but rarely attain because we all are sinners and fall short of the glory of God! (s/)


  6. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    “Vere tu es Deus absconditus, Deus Israel, salvator.”

  7. Huber says:

    The devil hates rigidity (probably as much as he hates Latin). In fact, his cry of “non serviam!” speaks to how inflexible serving God truly is…

    It is ironic that our current hardened rock, our Petrus, is bemoaning rigidity.

    …. Only a foolish man that would want the flexibility of sand for their theological foundation.

  8. AVL says:

    EXCELLENT point. I wish you were the pope.

  9. Felipe says:


  10. comedyeye says:

    Maybe he used the wrong word in trying to explain what he meant.

  11. Absit invidia says:

    We learned today that “Pope Francis has urged Donald Trump not to forget the poor and marginalized in his first comments on the president-elect to be published after the Republican’s stunning election win.”

    Does this include those that Pope Francis himself has marginalized?

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