To attempt to pull together the message of the Word today, we are seeing the contrast between a mentality that asks “What must I do?” and, “What can I do to follow God’s ways?” The first question is about minimal requirements, the second is about the maximal benefits involved with turning one’s life over to God.
Let’s reflect today on the daily task of “being” our personal best. Because that is where the word is taking us today. I say “being,” and not just doing, because the former way is inclusive of all that we are in a given day, and not just what we have accomplished based on the expectations of the day. The expectations of God can far outdistance human expectations.
And, what undergirds our living in this manner is the constant, graceful presence of wisdom. It is at our disposal if we deliberately, and habitually make that our intention, that is, to be open and cooperative with the grace of God. That is one way of describing the love for God – consciously, deliberately open and cooperative to where the Spirit of God is working. In 1Corinthians today Paul points out that God’s wisdom is mysterious, secret and hidden. As one author puts it, “this is a spirituality for the ‘mature.’ It is reached less by logic and reasoned discourse, but more by faith in a living, compassionate God and by a consistent obedience to one’s conscience, less by argumentation from the other and more by their good example.“
Yes, “being” our personal best is to trust in the Spirit of Jesus to lead us. Jesus asks for more. Not merely “do not kill,” but do not harbor what leads to killing in your hearts. Make amends, Reconcile with your opponent. Not merely “Do not commit adultery,“ but be faithful in your heart. Try to work things out, don’t just give up. Respect others. Do not objectify anyone. The basics can be difficult enough to live, but the “more” that Jesus asks is a great challenge.
And, I believe that wisdom is most accessible when we go beyond the normal, the predictable, the safe and secure way of living. That is a trust, only found in the reality of love.That is, going beyond the law to the Spirit-led “being” our best self today. “What eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him, this God has revealed to us through the Spirit. (1 Cor. 2:10)
Fr. Alex Steinmiller, C.P. is president emeritus of Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic High School, Birmingham, Alabama.