It strikes me how earnestly many of us strive for ultimate acceptance. I see it in people’s words and actions; in self-recrimination; especially in hopes and dreams. Most commonly there is an effort, according to some plan, to “reconfigure” ourselves to match an idea of perfection. It’s thought if we attain this longed for state – whether it be clarity of mind or heart, an act of greatness, a sublime moment of complete resignation – that God will nod His head, and something may occur to make us whole again.
Considering the extent of work involved – to such minute degree as how one thinks during prayer, or sits, or envisions God – it occurs to me the real key is not one of change. Rather, the answer to the unsolvable conundrum is to realize, deeply, fully, in both mind and heart and with real faith: that God’s grace far exceeds our gratitude. He is a better Host than we are guests. “No man that seeketh Us will We ever disappoint.” A child does not convince his parent to love him; his foolish words and deeds only increase the flow.
When this gate unlocks, a river of mercy pours into our castigated hearts. And I believe this is the time to seek perfection of character. Not because it stands between us and heaven, but as fulfillment. Michaelangelo did not seek ready-formed blocks of marble, but rough, unhewed ones. He already knew what the stone contained. And at the moment the bond formed between master and ingredient, a long process of refinement began so its beauty might shine out.
We are all rough and unmade stones as well. Should we form ourselves into an idea of what is best, and then present ourselves to our Maker? Or should we submit entirely to His hand; let His words trace their impression upon our grain; and thus gradually, through a process of deep communion and cleansing, reveal what luster lay beneath.