“Be perfect.” “How’s that, again?!?”

Quoted from Robert Royal’s latest column at The Catholic Thing:

St. John Henry Newman explains in his “simple rule of life”:

It is the saying of holy men that, if we wish to be perfect, we have nothing more to do than to perform the ordinary duties of the day well. A short road to perfection – short, not because easy, but because pertinent and intelligible. There are no short ways to perfection, but there are sure ones. I think this is an instruction which may be of great practical use to persons like ourselves. It is easy to have vague ideas what perfection is, which serve well enough to talk about, when we do not intend to aim at it; but as soon as a person really desires and sets about seeking it himself, he is dissatisfied with anything but what is tangible and clear, and constitutes some sort of direction towards the practice of it.

Our notions of “perfection” often tend to make it into something impossible. Newman helps by offering a definition, “By perfect we mean that which has no flaw in it, that which is complete, that which is consistent, that which is sound.” Practically, this means:

Do not lie in bed beyond the due time of rising; give your first thoughts to God; make a good visit to the Blessed Sacrament; say the Angelus devoutly; eat and drink to God’s glory; say the Rosary well; be recollected; keep out bad thoughts; make your evening meditation well; examine yourself daily; go to bed in good time, and you are already perfect.

Good advice, if more difficult than it sounds.

Speaking of “more difficult than it sounds”, The Catholic Thing is sponsoring a new online course that begins on 1 March, just a couple days away.   They have tackled the Dante’s Divine Comedy and The Confessions and City of God by St. Augustine.  This new course is on St. Thomas More’s Utopia.   It will be a four-week course. Utopia shows an additional side of More: his Christian humanism in a very rich work that contains elements of both idealism and satire over human follies. The very title of his book captures that ambiguity. It describes what many would like to think would be perfection — a “utopia” here on earth. But in Greek, as the learned More well knew, “utopia” means literally “no place.” As any real Christian knows, there’s no heaven on this earth, and attempts to create one often lead to hells.  Click HERE and follow the very simple instructions to register.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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One Comment

  1. VForr says:

    An excellent article and reminder. Thank you.

Comments are closed.