How far must we go to attain perfection?

I am stressed out because I don’t think I can monitor everything I do or think or say to filter out my thoughts or never tell an impure joke or never swear or always be perfectly kind to everyone. It seems exhausting and it seems I’d end up in a convent even though I don’t want to be a sister. I would have to enter a convent to decrease temptations…this post probably sounds ridiculous but I’m really stressed about it! I don’t want to try and be perfect because its too much worry :frowning:

Just do your best.

Temptation comes to EVERYONE.

It is not wrong to be tempted, perhaps those who are nearest God are tempted the most.

“Pray, hope and don’t worry!”

^^^ This!! :thumbsup:
Also, if you are **really **struggling with a specific virtue (i.e., purity), then spend some time throughout the day focusing on practicing that particular virtue and once you have it “nailed down” pretty well, then you can focus on something else.
Bear in mind that God loves you **always **, regardless of how imperfect we are, He will continue to love us!! :slight_smile:

I don’t believe Jesus and Mary want you to be stressed out about being perfect. I don’t think they want us to be stressed at all if we can help it. In one of St Paul’s letters he mentions that he would like us to have no anxiety. Perfection is not something we can attain solely by our own efforts, we need the grace of God and then we cooperate with the grace of God. However, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t give it our best effort but we should not try to move ahead of grace. A spiritual maxim attributed to St Ignatius of Loyola is “Work as if everything depends on you. Pray as if everything depends on God.”

Good news......... Your Human !  

Just like everyone else… we all think & do things that are bad… Thats life…
and like you say… , to avoid sin & any temptation you would need to join a convent…
for myself I would need to be locked up in a cell with a mattress on the floor…
no windows or doors… food through a small hole in the wall, and pray 24/7…
well in the real world that can’t happen… we have T.V… internet… friends, family…
Work Colleagues, and none of them are saints… it’s called living in the real world…
I can’t escape it nor do I wish to… I enjoy it… a lot !
be part of the world and go with the flow… Jesus knows what your going through…
He know the flesh is weak but the spirit strong… jesus know all about it…
I think we set a standard that is to high… just be yourself, just keep jesus in your heart
,pray a little,sing a little, enjoy a little, be humble a little. love your God a lot because God gave you life.

I think that Jesus means by “be” perfect is that we are always going forward and not getting stagnant or slidding back. We must always try to improve our relationship with Jesus otherwise we become indifferent and uncaring.

None of us are perfect, and this includes all the saints except Mary. But all the saints tried to find God’s will in this or that and incorporate it in their lives of love for him.

For instance, there may be family situations that need to be improved, or maybe our prayer life is getting sloppy or neglected. It may be that the eyes need to be more disciplined and reflect more the eyes of Jesus or Mary in what they see. It could be that our heart is growing cold towards others or maybe a certain person or selfcentered

There are many connotations to being perfect and so many paths to check out. The important thing is that we do have one or two things to strive for, targets, and check up on these on a regular basis to see if we are improving or slidding. A short exam of conscience on one particular thing at the end of the day is a right step.

Some will grow faster than others, but everyone should try to do something to improve their relationship with Jesus and become more like him everyday.

Just some thoughts.

“I no longer live but Christ lives in me.” St. Paul

Growth in holiness is a life long process,we have the sacraments to guide and help us. We all are sinners and we all struggle in the process, pray without ceasing that God will give us the grace to persevere till the end knowing that He is our hope. Peace, Carlan

I believe the core of the problem here is that you are focused on the wrong things. You seek perfection. That is good. But perfection is not found in avoiding things. Perfection is to be found in embracing things. Perfection is brought about by “becoming” a new person. The further along this path we move, the less we will be bothered by serious sin.

The key to this is to embrace the core of our faith which is Love. The two great commands are Love God and Love neighbor and all the rest of the law and the prophets are based on them (Mt 22:36-40). The “new command” that Jesus gives in John 13:34-35 is that we Love one another. St Paul in the famous passage in 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 says love is more important than faith or hope.

So what does all of this mean??? It means instead of asking God how to avoid sin, ask Him how to more fully embrace love…Agape…Love of neighbor and Love of God Himself. Look for opportunities to do good. They need not be big things - - holding a door, letting someone go ahead of you in line, smile, offer a cheery greeting - park away from a store so that another gets the closer spot. There are many small things that can be done.
Focus on the positive.

Of course this does not mean to just let the bad pass…but consider this.
Most all sin can be traced to some “fault” that is covered in the list of “seven deadly sins”. Meditate on these. Ask God to show where your biggest fault lies. Then you can work on overcoming this by cultivating the contrary virtue.

But here again the focus needs to be on building up the good rather than trying to avoid the bad. If you can do this…and recognize that failures are to be expected on any “fitness program”…your stress level will go down.

Peace
James

I agree with everything everyone wrote but entering a convent is not a solution for temptations. This type of thing is what has caused so much trouble in the Church.
Pray, attend Mass and Confession.

No human on earth as of right now is perfect. 1) You need to stay in Sanctifying Grace. 2) Pray.

God Bless
-TJ

(This is from st Padre Pio by the way).

In times of temptation call up on
1)St .Michael :He fights against the devil
2)Guardian Angel:He protects you from falling into sin
3)Pray Hail Mary :The Devil is afraid of Mary
4)Pray to Holy Spirit:Holy Spirit enlightens your mind and you get the strength to say NO to sin

This could be extremely true! However, if you are like me, dear Praying Duck, & thus a true sitting duck with only a prayer to clutch onto, then - what’s wrong with pole sitting for peace of mind? Always remember, you have to pick your battles/ err temptations. Never forget you have the ‘ever ready’ use of Retreat (& hide) at hand to serve you well when the Devil is looking for you. :rotfl:

Are you less worried about going to Hell?:slight_smile:

Well, that’s kind of the problem. I am worried about going to hell. But I feel like I am spending all my time avoiding sin and it is sucking all the joy out of my life. Sure, I can be incredibly careful with everything I say and do, but I am unhappy and stressed. I have to make sure I don’t laugh at any joke with a hint of impropriety, I have to speak up when people make inappropriate comments, I have to be sure not to give off any sign of me being okay with any kind of impropriety, I have to think about everything I say to make sure it isn’t offensive or unkind or improper, I can’t watch any movie that’s not rated pg, I can’t listen to almost any music. And I’m obsessively worried about whether I need to be married or religious because there is certainly a lot more occasion of sin in marriage–especially lust. It just feels like I can’t have any fun or anything in life because to achieve perfection I’d have to give up everything (e.g., only eating basic foods, owning the bare minimum of possessions, etc. I love doing crafts but the money I spend on supplies could be given to the poor).

Hi there~ try not to beat yourself with a stick!!
We all have temptations it is part of being human. But what you will find is that the longer you are faithful to the Sacraments, by attending Mass Sundays and when ever else possible and try regular Confession ~ perhaps weekly… you will find the temptations will start to ease. How long have you been a fully practicing Catholic?

I also recommend you to pray a daily Rosary which is helpful, perhaps even join the Rosary Confraternity rosary-center.org/
check out the link to find out more as there are spiritual benefits in joining.

Also I recommend you enroll yourself in the Seraphic Mass Association seraphicmass.org/ $5 to enroll for life and death.

Also check out the St. Louis De Montfort Marian consecration~ fisheaters.com/totalconsecrationmontfort.html
If you go ahead with the St. Louis De Montfort Marian consecration you should also join the Association of Mary Queen of all Hearts the Confraternity for those who have done the consecration.

Maybe you should wear the Brown Scapular as well and get enrolled in that. Wearing a miraculous medal around your neck I believe would be good too.

I mention all these things because they are some of the things that have helped me in my journey.

It is all a journey and the longer we are faithfully living the spiritual life the stronger we become against temptations etc. You do not have to seclude yourself from the world, but I guess we are called to detaching ourselves from the world to an extend. We are to live in the world but not be of the world.

Dear one. I see from another one of your posts that you have had issues with OCD and Scruples. What you are dealing with here is very much in this same vein. Please try to get the regular counsel of a good confessor and spiritual director. Such will be far more valuable than anything that we strangers can offer you, though certainly we will try to help.

You say above that you are worried about going to hell. This is a quite legitimate concern, but it shows a rather common misconception of God and how salvation works. Jesus tells us to call God “Our Father”. The NT tells us that God is Love (1 John 4:7-8). so - God, the Father is a Loving Father. Why would a loving Father send a child to hell who is doing the best that they can?
I’m sure you will agree that our Loving Father would not do such a thing. The important thing for us, as His loving children is to simply do the best we can.

But I feel like I am spending all my time avoiding sin and it is sucking all the joy out of my life.

The question to ask here is - Why is this so? If avoiding sin is taking away your joy…is this because you find joy in sin?
I don’t really think that it the case…but it is worth asking…where is my joy?

Sure, I can be incredibly careful with everything I say and do, but I am unhappy and stressed. I have to make sure I don’t laugh at any joke with a hint of impropriety, I have to speak up when people make inappropriate comments, I have to be sure not to give off any sign of me being okay with any kind of impropriety, I have to think about everything I say to make sure it isn’t offensive or unkind or improper, I can’t watch any movie that’s not rated pg, I can’t listen to almost any music.

Quite honestly you are feeling stressed here because you are trying to lift too much weight all at once.
Spiritual growth is like physical conditioning, it requires time and patience and improvements come gradually. A person who wants to run a marathon, or a person who wants to shed a lot of weight…If they have any chance of success are going to start small and with a plan. That plan is going to deal with many things pertaining to diet and exercise AND with their outlook on the world…on what is important to them.
The one who finds no joy in the physical conditioning and the daily running, who finds avoiding certain food to be “sucking the joy from their life” will fail. Not because they are not strong enough…but because they have not replaced the joy they got from bad habits with joys they get with new habits and new accomplishments.

Sorry - I’m getting kind of wordy here…The bottom line is that you need to reconsider how you are defining joy. What gives you joy?

And I’m obsessively worried about whether I need to be married or religious because there is certainly a lot more occasion of sin in marriage–especially lust. It just feels like I can’t have any fun or anything in life because to achieve perfection I’d have to give up everything (e.g., only eating basic foods, owning the bare minimum of possessions, etc. I love doing crafts but the money I spend on supplies could be given to the poor).

With regards to vocations, we cannot help. This requires that you speak with your pastor/confessor/spiritual director etc and will take some time to work out.

As to the other matters…Remember that we are called to be perfect in Love…pray carefully about who and what you love…where your joy comes from and the rest will begin to make more sense.

Also - as regards avoiding sin…remember the runner and the dieter…they set intermediate goals and work to achieve them…they don’t try to do it all at once.

Be patient with yourself.

Peace
James

Thank you all for your thoughtful responses! I have a hard time, what with my scruples, distinguishing between what is sin and what is not. For example, I don’t know if venting to a friend about someone being annoying is a sin or not. So I feel like I spend a lot of time and energy trying to avoid any possible venial sin. I worry, however, that this will turn me into a personality-less, preachy person that nobody wants to be around. Yet I need to avoid sin at all costs. I plan to find a spiritual director, and I would appreciate any prayers you can offer.

I’ve given a lot of practice in my listening to my conscience. It seems to have helped me considerable in being able to discern my inner voices.

What other people think of you is not important. Get a spiritual director and jump into the Gospel with both feet. Don’t forget what the Pope said about Apostolic zeal. If you fill yourself with the word of God then you will fill your heart with the word of God.

from the heart comes the things we say. If you’re serious about how to attain perfection then read the start of Joshuah. God tells him how to prosper and be successful in all things. remember it’s old testament so replace the book of the law with the new testament and you’ve got the recipe for success and prosperity.

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