Micah 6: Path to Perfection
Adapted from a Favorite written on June 16, 2009. Yesterday we considered false prophets and false leaders; today we reflect on who and what and how a true leader is and how her or his leadership impacts the world.
Is this coincidence that here I am on an SSND retreat and for the first time as a Noontime reflection this citation of Micah 6:8 appears? I do not know. These words that stand high on the cafeteria wall above the statue of the Blessed Mother regulate the small detains and the big events of our lives at NDP. They are words that are important to anyone who believes that God is the creator of all good. They are words to live by.
Micah speaks to those who turn their gaze away from social injustice and in this chapter we hear the Lord ask: My people, how have I offended you? I who took you out of Egypt and slavery, I who gave to you as guides Moses, Aaron and Miriam, I who saved you from pagan nations, what have I done that you ignore me?
Today’s Gospel is Matthew 5:43-48 and I am thinking about today’s MAGNIFICAT Meditation by Fr. Alfred Delp, a priest condemned to death in Germany in 1945. He wrote about the path to perfection which Micah foretells and which Jesus describes. The essential requirement is that humanity must wake up to the truth about itself. We must rouse our consciousness to our own worth and dignity, of the divine and human potentialities within ourselves, and at the same time we must master the undisciplined passions and forces which, in our name and by bemusing us with delight in our own ego, have made us what we are . . . Humans want to be happy and it is right that they should. But by thinking only in terms of self we destroy ourselves for it is a limited concept and has no room for anything stronger than the human order. Left entirely to themselves humans are unhappy and intrinsically insincere. We need other people to give us a sense of completeness; we need the community. We need the world and the duty of serving it. We need eternity, or rather, we need the eternal, the infinite.
The people to whom the prophet Micah spoke were not much different from us today in that these were people of means who sought to enjoy the gifts of life. What they forgot – and what we may also forget if we do not remind ourselves – is this: We are made by God, in God’s image to bring our diverse expressions of God together into one body, the body of Christ. When troubles assail us, as they always do and are meant to do, we might smile as we step into them, seeing them as opportunities to serve God rather than as obstacles to pleasure. Life and its turmoil is our playground where we are given the chance to interact justly, wisely and humbly with God guiding and speaking to us constantly . . . telling us how to go and where to go.
This is the mystery we are offered. It is the mystery we might share for eternity . . . if first we remember to respect good, to love with fidelity, and to obey humbly. We are not asked to be perfect by God for this is an impossibility; but it is true that God asks us to seek perfection in our search of him, and in our desire to be God’s instrument. In this way we do become perfect. If this is our path, the humble, loving and wise path described by Micah, then we cannot misstep. It is in this kind of journey that we find true, deep and ever-living happiness . . . through our perfect desire to be with and follow God . . . lovingly, justly, wisely, humbly.
Cameron, Peter John, ed. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 16.6 (20o9). Print.