Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect. – Matthew 5:48
Perfection. We are constantly pressured to be more and more perfect. By the world’s standards, of course. Better grades, better jobs, better houses. As our peers continue to push the boundaries of how much they can accomplish, we can be whisked away with everyone else.
This unattainable goal comes with a price. Constant comparison, constant evaluation, constant criticism. What reprieve is there from being human, for having flaws and misjudgments?
When we fall into this mindset, it becomes a slippery slope. We lose ourselves in the goals of the whole. Our unique traits and interests are sacrificed for the sake of perfection. We are constantly reminded of our inability to succeed.
Where does it end? Low self-esteem, depression, and perhaps–God forbid–even suicide. We are helpless in the face of our own frailty.
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. – 2 Corinthian 12:9
Thankfully, God demands a different perfection from us: perfection in following Him. He provides us His grace, which is sufficient for all things. We are not asked to be perfect at all we accomplish in this life. Rather, we are asked to be humble and follow Him. When we stumble, His grace is there to help us get up.
But what about those people who are not aware of God’s grace? What right does the Church have to ask someone to continue immense suffering when they lack hope?
Voluntary co-operation in suicide is contrary to the moral law. – Catechism of the Catholic Church
Suicide in and of itself is not a religious principle. Rather, the Church views it as a part of the natural law; that is, the law inscribed on the hearts of every person. Indeed, in order to commit suicide, one has likely rejected every possible value that their life holds. This is by no means an easy feat, but an essential one to overcome. The Church is simply revealing a truth by stating her opposition.
Even still, life is messy. It can be difficult for loved ones of those plagued by thoughts of suicide to recognize the symptoms. There may not be enough time to get help. Or help may not be readily accepted.
We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives. – Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Church teaches that while suicide is morally contrary to the natural law, culpability may be diminished by the circumstances surrounding the suicide. It may be difficult for those affected to take the necessary steps to get help. God’s grace–while immense–requires cooperation. When someone’s life is already warped by feelings of inadequacy, it can seem like an impossible step. But with prayer, all things are possible. Let us remember to pray for those who have diminished feelings of worth, that God may open their hearts to their own beauty and immeasurable value in the arms of Christ.
[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://www.ignitumtoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Picture-038-e1313148209919.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Allie Terrell is a 2010 convert to Catholicism after dabbling in a few different trains of religious thought. She graduated from Rose-Hulman in 2009 with a degree in computer science, and is now pursuing her doctorate in the hopes of teaching some day. When she can spare a few hours, Allie likes to visit religious sites and work on her photography. She blogs about her journeys at Here Is The Church.[/author_info] [/author]