Being Perfect as the Father Is Perfect

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I want to meet Cardinal Kasper one day and thank him for changing my life. In the wake of my failure as a youth minister in the first parish where I served, I was doubting everything and questioning everything, including my faith itself. I went back to graduate studies as much to sort out my faith as to prepare to be a better minister. I went back to the Catholic University of America very wounded and in need of healing from that experience at my first parish. God knew just what I needed.

That first semester back, I had a Theology of God (Trinity) class and The God of Jesus Christ by Cardinal Walter Kasper was required reading. That class, that book saved my relationship with the Lord.

Because of my mental make up, I needed to have tight intellectual answers in the face of a growing Nietzsche inspired atheism I saw within me. I needed to understand what it means to be saved. I needed to know who God is.

Cardinal Kasper’s writings rescued me from the seductive web of Friedrich Nietzsche and set me on a path of a deeper encounter with the Lord and a path to holiness beyond piety.

I knew that God is love, but Cardinal Kasper defined God as freedom to love.

Matthew 5:48 reads, “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

You have to be kidding me! Perfect? Be perfect because God is perfect? Seriously, Matthew, are you sure you heard Jesus correctly? 

The Greek word for perfect is “teleiosais” with “teleos” as the root word. The best translation would be something akin to “end”, as in “goal”, or “fully developed” or “fully realized”. God is perfect because He is fully who he is and nothing can place limits on who He is. He is completely free to be his deepest identity: Love. God is freedom to love and nothing can stop him from that. He is perfect.

I, too, am to be and can be perfect. Holiness for me is to be the fullness of who God created me to be and freedom in Christ means that nothing has any power over me. I am created from freedom to love and I am created for freedom to love. I am the man God created me to be when I am free to love.

If my love for someone else is dependent on their mood, I am not free. If my love of the Father is dependent upon my enthusiasm for prayer or for ministry, I am not free. A person’s loveableness is to have no power over my love of them. If it does, I am not free. God is freedom to love. When I am before another and their past has no sway over me; their mood holds no condition for my love; when I only see them in the present moment and love that person with my full attention, then I will be free. Then I will be perfect as the Father is perfect.

Freed to Love

If the Son has set you free, you are free indeed.

I am free to love.

I am free to move from the quiet and consolation of the morning into the noise and the disruption of the day.

I am free from the anger of being misunderstood.

I am free from the anger and calumny of others.

I am free to love.

I am free from being a prisoner of the moment and I am free to live in the Sacrament of the Moment.

When mood dictates actions, I am a prisoner of the moment.

When the shadow of flaws obscure, I am a prisoner of the moment.

When the vacuum of ego ingests all particles of light, I am a prisoner of the moment.

I am free from the emotions and moods of others.

There is no future. There is not past. There is only the presence of God in this moment. There is only the Sacrament of the Moment.

I am free to love.

Anger. Embarrassment. Appetite. They hold. They blind. They constrict.

These things have no sway where there is love.

Love frees me to love.

I am free to love.