"Maybe some of you will say to me, Saint Paul is often severe in his writings. How can I say that he was spreading a message of love? My answer is this. God loves every one of us with a depth and intensity that we can hardly begin to imagine. And he knows us intimately, he knows all our strengths and all our faults. Because he loves us so much, he wants to purify us of our faults and build up our virtues so that we can have life in abundance. When he challenges us because something in our lives is displeasing to him, he is not rejecting us, but he is asking us to change and become more perfect. That is what he asked of Saint Paul on the road to Damascus. God rejects no one. And the Church rejects no one. Yet in his great love, God challenges all of us to change and to become more perfect."
As St. Paul pointed out over and over, as has the Holy Father, this becoming "more perfect," being more conformed to the image of Christ, is not something we are capable of doing on our own. It does not happen as a result of some super-human effort on our part. We need God- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, that is, we need grace. We need to recognize just what in us must change and desire that change, which is nothing other than desiring Christ, our Alpha and Omega. Seeing in Him our fulfillment and how that plays out not over and above our lives, but in and through what happens to us everyday.
Lord our God, Father of all,
you guard us under the shadow of your wings
and search into the depths of our hearts.
Remove the blindness that cannot know you
and relieve the fear that would hide us from your sight.
We ask this through Christ our Lord (Alternative Prayer for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time)