In a recent doctor's appointment, my amazing physician gave me some advice for diet and exercise which struck me as a guide not just for health but for a steadfast faith life. She said, "Don't let perfection get in the way of good." To be fair, she wasn't the first one to say it. Voltaire is generally credited with saying, "Perfect is the enemy of good." But she is the one who said it to me, and it has prompted this blog entry, so she and the Holy Spirit are getting all the credit today.
Lent is a time of preparation to walk with the Lord in his Passion and welcome the Risen Lord into the world again. But faith is sometimes a struggle and prayer is a discipline, which means we go hot and cold in our relationship with God. Therein lies the problem. At the beginning of Lent, I had the best of intentions to attend Daily Mass, a practice which I love, among other things. It did not go well. I prayed, but not as deeply or regularly as I would have liked.
Each day this Lent seemed to be full of things, obligations, and experiences which did not feed my soul. That left me at the end of day giving God the leftovers, the tiny bits of myself which I could piece together and offer him. I thought of a child placing found items, like treasures, in a box. A button, a marble, a macaroni necklace, a rock. Lots of rocks. I gave him a box of me each night, jumbled and cobbled together with no rhyme or reason. More detritus than glory. In his infinite Mercy, I'm sure he accepted it, but like a parent coming across their child's treasure box, I wonder if he thought, "What is this?"
But now we are in the Triduum, my favorite liturgical time of the year. The preparation should be done. And the truth that I can do better, that I have done better, weighs on me. That's where perfection can get in the way of good. I could just go on with my three-day weekend because I didn't prepare as I should. I could just stay away. But you see, he's still there. When I'm less than what I should be, he's there. With those who believe but do not practice any kind of faith, he's there. With those who profess belief but act in ways which he never would, he's there. With those who do not believe in him at all, he's there. There. On that cross. Dying. For me and you, for them and us. For everyone who ever was and ever will be. He's there.
Perfection was never part of his plan. Goodness always was. So despite my struggle this Lent to be more than I am-- magis as Ignatius would say, "greater"-- I am drawn to him. I want to sit at that table and break that bread with him, drink that cup. Last night, much as the apostles, I fell asleep instead of getting this blog out. But today, I can pray with my beloved faith community... Behold the wood of the cross, on which is hung our salvation. Come let us adore. Afterwards, I can walk with him, not on dusty streets but on a curving labyrinth. I can sing in the spirit of the Taize community... Wait for the Lord, whose day is near. Wait for the Lord, keep watch, take heart. I can do this because my imperfections don't keep me from him. They never have, even if I felt they did. Don't let your doubts or fears or ambivalence or sins keep you from him this weekend or ever. His mercy is greater. His love is more. He'll take the bits and pieces of me and you into the tomb with him. On Sunday, we'll rise.