The Beauty of Imperfection

Richard Rohr is one of my favorite daily reads. He challenges me to see and be the purity of love. In this quest to live out one’s life through the application of pure love, we can often translate this into a desire for perfection like that Jesus spoke about in the Gospel of Matthew: “be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Mt 5:48).

Rohr notes in Wholeness and Love that “perfection is not the elimination of imperfection. Divine perfection is the ability to recognize, forgive, and include imperfection—just as God does with all of us. Only in this way can we find the beautiful and hidden wholeness of God underneath the passing human show.”

It is these very imperfections that define our humanness. Once we can accept this about ourselves, we are then able to accept others as they are. This seems so foundational to a faith based mission of life. This is what another great spiritual writer, Henri Nouwen, spoke about in his wonderful work The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society.

Nouwen speaks of the Christian being called as a minister of healing, “It is our humanity, not our pseudo-perfection, that allows us to both receive and pass on what Christians call grace—the goodness that flows into our lives from beyond.”

It is the wholeness of self, with all that is imperfect, that allows us to enter the path to our deepest humanity. This allows us as Rohr says, “to live with an openness of mind and heart, to encounter others, not as strangers, but as parts of one’s self. When we enter into the heart of love in this way, we enter the field of relatedness and come to know our truest and deepest belonging and calling.”

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