Conversion can have two distinct, but related meanings.  It can be understood as a dramatic turning point in one’s life, like St. Paul on the road to Damascus.  It can also    be understood as an ongoing process.

Conversion, in this latter sense, can also be described as striving for perfection.  Jesus once said to his followers: “Be perfect as your heavenly be Father is perfect.”  We might well ask how that is possible.  How can I with all my faults and limitations hope to become perfect?
C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity points out that we need not be discouraged in the face of that demand.  Even as we recognize the failure of our attempts to be good, we know that each time we fail God is ready to forgive.  That idea is expressed in a Japanese proverb: Fall seven times; get up eight.  Or, as T.S. Eliot put it: “We are only undefeated because we keep on trying.”

As Christians we believe God is always ready to give us the grace to stand up, to continue our journey toward him.  And more.  God knows perfectly well that our own unaided efforts are never going to bring us anywhere near perfection. The crucial thing is not to give up, to keep on trying,  to remain open to God’s grace which is always and everywhere available.  God wills to bring each of us to perfection i.e. to complete
union with him.  The only thing that can prevent us from reaching that goal is ourselves.

There is a subtle temptation that takes the form of saying to ourselves: “I don’t want to be canonized.  I just want to be a decent Christian believer.  But it is not a question of what we want or intend ourselves to be.  It is a question of what God wants us to be.

God wants us to be perfect, or better, God wants to bring us to perfection.  That cannot be accomplished through our own unaided efforts.  Without God’s help we could not even manage to be good human beings.  With God’s help the goal can be achieved.

The command to be perfect is not a command to do the impossible.  It might be better described as a command to be totally open to God’s grace. It is important to note that   is not something purely passive.  It includes working to remove any obstacles to grace coming into our lives.  That process will be long and, at times, very painful but that is what we are in for.