Perfice Gressus Meos – Thoughts on the Offertory for the Sixth Sunday After Pentecost
PÉRFICE gressus meos in sémitis tuis, ut non moveántur vestígia mea: inclína aurem tuam, et exáudi verba mea: mirífica misericórdias tuas, qui salvos facis sperántes in te, Dómine.
Perfect Thou my goings in Thy paths, that my footsteps be not moved: incline Thy ear, and hear my words: show forth Thy
wonderful mercies, Thou who savest them that trust in Thee, O Lord.
Psalms 16: 5, 6, 7.
I see a lot of posts on Catholic forums about how to resist sin. Sometimes we find ourselves committing the same sins over and over. Some of these sins become habitual.
Does God not give us the grace that we need to overcome our sin? Of course he does, but do we have a part to play? Yes we do. We are not to remain passive in hope that God will pick up our limbs and move us about as if we are marionettes.
Notice the offertory says “Perfect Thou My Goings”. It doesn’t say make me go or make me act. The verse assumes that one has taken a step in the right direction. It assumes that one is striving for increased sanctification. When we observe his commandments, God “perfects our goings”.
Philipians 1: 6 says:
“…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus”.
God initiates and completes our salvation. At the same time, Philippians 2:12-13 says:
12 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, (as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but much more now in my absence,) with fear and trembling work out your salvation.
13 For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to his good will.
Working towards our salvation is a combination of trust in God and also our specific actions to grow in holiness. If we do this, God will not allow our footsteps to be moved.
Isn’t reassuring that God will be there for us when we are weak as well as when we are strong? We just have to do our part: frequent prayer, mortification, frequent confession and frequent reception of the Eucharist.
God bless you all!