Perfect Moments

There is a picture in my office that I have had since last century. It is a picture of Jeff Pierce. You probably have never heard of Jeff. He was a professional bicycle racer. He rode for the 7-Eleven team back in the late 1980s when they were the first American team to race in Europe. In the 1987 Tour de France, Jeff was a domestique, a rider whose principle task was to be a support for the team leaders: carry water bottles, protect the top riders from the ravages of wind, and at the end of the day to struggle across the finish line well after the leaders. Against all odds Jeff won the grand finale, the last stage in Paris on the Champs Elysees. A gendarme in the background of the photograph stares in disbelief. Jeff is alone. Crossing the finish line, arms raised in unbelieving triumph. He won against the greatest riders of his day. An American in Paris.  I look at that picture and know that perfect moments are possible.

We know about moments that seem perfect. Moments that in their own way are so captivating that people pause, watch, and wait, until a mystical power is unleashed into the world.

  • A miracle on ice when a bunch of US college kids defeated the best hockey team in the world – and a nation collectively exploded in joy.
  • Capt. Sullenburger safely crash lands his USAir flight on the Hudson River, everyone lives to tell the story.
  • Soldier, sailor, airman, marine on the tarmac or dockside – and the family races to embrace their husband and father.

Think about some of the best moments in your life. Moments that are forever seared in memory, an immortal picture. Maybe it is a moment that took your breath away back then, and can almost bring you to a stop today. Maybe a quiet moment that makes you smile, laugh, cry and celebrate. A moment that you want to cherish forever; a moment you share with those you love. A moment that is just for you. Maybe it was a first kiss, however awkward. A night of solitude, alone with the desert night sky and a billion stars. Holding your newborn child.  A moment that seems to be a glimpse into perfect.

That is the great thing about perfect moments – you can have more than one. Yet as perfect as they seem, none of them are without flaws. They are perfect in that we feel, if just for a moment, whole, complete, fulfilled. And we know, in the moment, what is possible.

Not only possible – commanded by Christ: “…be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48). Be perfect, telios, the Greek word which speaks of wholeness, a completeness, a certain end point, goal or destiny that is ours. “…be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Our destiny, our divine calling – a project for this lifetime. A project that with the grace of God is ours in the here and now – and forever.

From the first Sunday of this year we have heard the divine calling. St Paul called us to it: “Put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another…and above all, put on love.” Each week there is a reading calling us to perfection. The last few weeks we have heard Jesus’ lessons on discipleship in the Sermon on the Mount. Lessons on going the extra mile, giving to those who ask, and more. All lessons in learning to be a disciple, to be whole and complete in compassion, kindness, gentleness, forbearance, forgiveness and above all love – to be perfect.

Such perfection is only with the grace of God. But we can be intentional in seeking that grace. Lent is drawing close. A wonderful time to be intentional. Experience the forgiveness of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Know the mercy of God’s love and forgiveness. And at absolution’s final words, know that in that moment you are whole, complete, and loved. We know it is possible. We have felt it, experienced it. We remember its closeness if only for a moment.

…be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” It is our calling, our destiny. And not in some distant future. We are called this day, tomorrow, every day to be disciples, to practice, to experience what is possible with God. What we remember now as just a moment is a lifetime that awaits us. Where perfect moments are eternal.

A lifetime of intentions, a fountain fullness of grace, a journey towards wholeness and completion of what God has called you to be.



1 thought on “Perfect Moments

  1. Perfect moments when it was the small little things that saved me from despair such as ladybug and hummingbird. I believe they were sent by God to focus outside and live to remember that miraculous.

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