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Virginity Is Higher than Matrimony

In the immoral ambience of our days, it is opportune for Catholics to read the praises St. John Crysostom makes of those who choose virginity as a state of life. He compares virginity with the state of matrimony, to conclude that the former is higher. Interesting enough, the great Saint does not necessarily identify the state of virginity with the priesthood or religious state, as some Traditionalists wrongly do.

St. John Chrysostom

As you do, I also think that virginity is a good thing, better than the nuptial life. I add that it is as superior to the nuptial life as Heaven is superior to earth, or as Angels to men.

Since the Angels are not made of flesh and blood, for them there is no conjugal life. Since they do not live on earth, they are not subject to the disorders of passions and pleasures; they do not need to eat or drink; they are not attracted by a melodious music, a captivating song or a remarkable beauty, finally, they cannot be conquered by any type of softness.

Man, however, even though he is inferior to the angelic spirits, zealously and carefully seeks to be as much like them as he can. How does he do so?

Angels do not marry, neither does the virgin man. Angels live before God always at His service; so does the virgin man. Human nature, which bears the weight of the body, cannot ascend to Heaven as the Angels do; however, to compensate such deficiency, man has the greatest possible consolation, that is, by living pure of body and soul, he can receive and posses in the Eucharist the King of Heaven.

Can't you see all the excellence of virginity? Can't you see how it transforms those who still live clothed in this flesh and makes them equal to Angels?

Tell me in what point are those great lovers of virginity, Elias, Eliseus and St. John, different from Angels? In almost nothing. Only in this, that they are Angels in a mortal nature. Regarding the rest, anyone who analyzes them carefully sees that they deserve the same esteem as the angelic spirits. Further, because their condition is far inferior to the Angels, their merit is the greater. For because of their mortal nature, only with much violence and great effort could they attain such an eminent degree of virtue. See how much courage they had and the type of life they lived.

(St. John Chrysostom , Book of Virginity, apud Roman Breviary,
lesson 3 of the feast of St. Aloysius Gonzaga).

Blason de Charlemagne
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Posted March 31, 2007
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