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Pearls and Perfection

Jesus says in the Gospel:

“The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls.

When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it

(Matt 13:45-46).

What could this pearl represent? The pearl of the parable, according to the words of Jesus, is something of such high value that it is necessary to sell all one's possessions in order to obtain it. In another passage, as well, the Lord expresses the need to sell everything: when he explains to the rich young man how to achieve perfection. In fact, he says, If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me”(Matt 19:21). Looking at these two passages from Matthew, therefore, it would seem that the pearl of great value could correspond to the particular vocation to "evangelical perfection" (cf. Matt 5:48) which can be reached in different stages, leaving and selling everything to then follow Christ (cf. Luke 14:33), in a gradual journey of imitation and conformation to him – to 30, 60 and 100 percent (cf. Mark 4:20), each according to his own specific calling. In fact, speaking of different degrees of perfection, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (a Doctor of the Church) says:

“I understood, too, that there were many degrees of perfection and each soul was free to respond to the advances of Our Lord, to do little or much for Him, in a word, to choose among the sacrifices He was asking.” [1]

May the Lord give each of us, more and more, the wisdom to know how to choose and conquer in this life what is truly of great value and which will give us a treasure in Heaven for eternity (cf. Mt 6:20; Eph. 1:18) !!

--Sr. VMD


[1] Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, Story of a Soul, ch. 1

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