In the message of March 25, 2001, Our Lady says:

I am with you, little children, and I call you to perfection of your soul and of everything you do.

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke to the crowd and to His disciples and He presented the Heavenly Father as the example of perfection to be followed: “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5,48). In the New Testament this surprising precept takes the place of the Old Testament’s commandment “You shall be holy, because I am holy!” (Leviticus 11,45; 19,2). From this, most certainly, a change of viewpoint was clearly manifested.

Old Testament

The Old Testament speaks about holiness more than, about perfection. God is Holy, which means that is of another order than the creatures of this world; He is great, powerful, terrible (Deuteronomy 10,17; Ps 76); marvelously good and faithful (Exodus 34; Psalm 136); just (Psalm 99). He is not called “perfect”: in Hebrew, this word is used referring only to limited beings. The Old Testament speaks about the perfection of His works (Deuteronomy 32,4), of His Law (Psalm 19,8), of His ways (2 Samuel 22,31).

When God, Who is Holy, chooses a ‘people’ for Himself, this ‘people’, itself becomes holy. This means it is separated from what is profane and is consecrated. At the same time, the exigency of perfection imposes itself upon him: what is consecrated has to be intact and without fault, physically complete (Leviticus 22,22), morally irreproachable – serving Yahweh with a “perfect heart”, sincerely and faithfully (1 Kings 8,61; cf. Deuteronomy 6,5; 10,12), obeying the commandments and fighting against evil (Deuteronomy 17,7.12).

Pious Jews were seeking perfection through the observance of the Law (Psalm 119).

New Testament

The Gospel pays homage to this perfection, full of expectation, which is the perfection of the parents of John the Baptist, “irreproachable” in their fidelity to the Law (Luke 1,6), and the perfection of Simeon and Ann (2,25-38). Nevertheless, if the practice of the Law is complacent and pretends to close the person unto himself, then it is only a false perfection and provokes the opposition of Jesus (cf. Luke 18,9-14; John 5,44), and later of Paul (cf. Romans 10,3 s; Galatians 3,10).

According to the words of Jesus, the Law has to be observed in a different way. Fully revealing that the Most Holy God is a God of love, Jesus gives the request to perfection, which comes from the relationship with God, an entirely different orientation. No more questions are raised about the integrity to be preserved; but only of the gifts of God, of the love of God to be received and to dispersed.

Jesus didin’t consider Himself as “just”, avoiding the contact with sinners: it was for them that He came (Matthew 9,12 s). He is the True “spotless unblemished lamb” (1 Peter 1,19), prefigured in the prescriptions of Leviticus. However, He took our sins upon Himself and shed His blood for their forgiveness; this is how He became our “perfect” priest (Hebrews 5,9 s), capable to make us perfect (Hebrews 10,14).

Perfection in humility

Who wants to profit from the salvation that He brings has to recognize himself as a sinner (1 John 1,8), to renounce to any personal advantage and count only on His grace (Philippians 3,7-11; 2 Corinthians 12,9). Without humility and detachment, one cannot follow Jesus (Luke 9,23; 22,26 s). Everyone is not called to the same kinds of effective renunciation (cf. Matthew 19,11 s; Acts 5,4), but who wants to advance towards perfection has to walk generously on this way; the word addressed to the rich young man attracts his attention: “If you want to be perfect, go, sell whatever you have … and come, follow me” (Matthew 19,21; cf. Acts 4,36 s).

Perfection of love

Perfection to which the children of God are called is the perfection of love (Colossians 3,14; Romans 13,8-10). In the passage of Luke – parallel to Matthew 5,48, instead of “perfect”, we read “merciful” (Luke 6,36), and both contexts speak about universal charity, of love extended even to the enemy and the persecutor. The Christian has to keep himself from evil (Matthew 5,29 ss; 1 Peter 1,14 ss), but, in order to be like his Father (Matthew 5,45; Ephesians 5,1 s), he has to be concerned about the evildoer (cf. Romans 5,8), has to love him and, whatever the price may be, to “conquer evil with good” (Romans 12,21; 1 Peter 3,9).

(It is very interesting that in the message of March 25, 2001, addressed to the visionary Marija, Our Lady calls us to perfection, and in the message of March 18, 2001, given only one week earlier to the visionary Mirjana, on the occasion of her annual Apparition, Our Lady calls us to love and mercy. “Today I call you to love and mercy. Give love to each other as your Father gives it to you. Be merciful (pause) - with the heart. … Every mercy that comes from the heart brings you closer to my Son.”

Perfection and progress

This conquering generosity never considers itself satisfied of the result which it has obtained. From now on, the idea of progress is linked to the idea of perfection. The Disciples of Christ were always striving to make progress, to grow in knowledge and in love (Philippians 1,9), even when they were already formed Christians (in Greek: “the perfect one’s” – 1 Corinthians 2,6; 14,20; cf. Philippians 3,12.15).

Perfection and parousia

They never stop preparing themselves for the Coming of their Lord, hoping that God would allow them to be found without reproach on that day (1 Thessalonians 3,12 s). They wanted to respond to the desire of Christ, who presents to Himself a Church “in splendor…” (Ephesians 5,27); forgetting what laid behind, they strained forward to what lay ahead (cf. Philippians 3,13), in order to “attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ” (Ephesians 4,13).

(Cf: Xavier Leon-Dufour, Biblical Theology’ Dictionary)