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THE LIFE OF PERFECTION
Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Monday, 8th Week of the Year, May 28, 2012
1 Pet. 1:3-9, Ps. 110, Mark 10:17-27


"And Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said to him, ‘You lack one thing; go sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come follow me" (Mark 10:21).


This is Jesus' response to the rich young man who asked, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" First of all Jesus said, "You know the commandments." To this the rich young man responded, "Teacher, all these I have observed from my youth." Then Jesus called him to the life of renunciation, the life of perfection (Matt. 19:21), calling him to leave all that he had, give it to the poor, and come and follow him. Jesus called him to be a renouncer, to renounce all that he had, his family (Mark 10:29), his house, his parents, his brothers and sisters, a wife, children-the householder life-to live only for God with all his heart, without dividing it by love for a wife, children, parents, brothers or sisters (Luke 18:29; 1 Cor. 7:32-34)). It is a call to live in poverty, without a home of his own, without lands of his own, in simplicity, fasting, and prayer-a life lived only for God in all its aspects. This is the renouncer versus the householder life. This is a life of much silence and prayer, of spiritual reading and ministry, a life of preaching and writing for the good of others, a life of good works. This is a life in which we renounce the lifestyle, dress, and entertainments of the world to find all our joy only in God, without spouse, family, brothers or sisters (Matt. 19:29).


This is the life which receives the hundredfold reward (Matt. 19:29). This is the renouncer life, the consecrated life, the priestly life, the religious life, the monastic life. It is the life of those who seek the beauty of God within themselves by renouncing all else. This is the life of perfection (Matt. 19, 21), in which one loves God with an undivided heart (1 Cor. 7:32-34). This is the way of life that we need to renew today, for today most want a worldly life, filled with the pleasures of the world. If we want vocations to this life of perfection, we must begin by living it in an integral way ourselves. Otherwise we will never attract vocations.


This is the most radical form of Christian life that serves only one master (Matt. 6:24) and has only one treasure (Matt. 6:19-21). It is the life that renounces parents, brothers, sisters (Luke 14:26; Matt. 8:22; Luke 9:59-62), and possessions (Luke 14:33; 5:11, 28) in order not to be choked by the pleasures of life (Luke 8:14). It is the life that renounces all (Mark 10:28, 21). It is the life that loses its life in this world to find it in God (Mark 8:35; John 12:25). It is the life that renounces all to obtain the pearl of great price and the buried treasure (Matt. 13:44-46). It is the life that renounces the world (John 17:14; 1 John 2:15; James 4:4). It is the life that most radically chooses the straight and narrow path of life (Matt. 7:13-14). It is the life that is crucified to the world and its pleasures (Gal. 6:14). It is the life that makes itself last in this world to be first with God (Mark 10:31).


This is the life that we must renew in our day by living it integrally if we want to attract vocations. Only in this way will we attract vocations. We have tried everything else but this, and it has failed. This is the only thing we have not tried. Only this will succeed. Only by truly being what Jesus has called us to be will we succeed. The worldliness of the past forty-five years has only brought us to the brink of self-destruction.

 

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