is less celibacy and more chastity.
Delaying marriage, as a general rule, especially in the case of young women, until . . . [insert goal or aspiration here] . . . has resulted in rampant fornication and a lot of lonely people.
Whereas the Holy Scriptures set forth holy matrimony as both a blessed gift of God and a remedy for lust and perversion, the world increasingly praises and supports illicit sex as good and marriage as bad. Better to marry than burn with passion, St. Paul writes; yet, many parents would prefer to have their children fornicate than get married "too early." The temptations of the flesh are taken lightly, so that parents naively suppose that their children will sail through college and the work-a-day world with nary a scratch to their body and soul. Would that it were so in far more cases than it is!
Kudos to those fathers and mothers who have assured their daughters and sons of their support, financial and otherwise, irrespective of whether they remain single or get married.
It is not necessary that every person marry or be given in marriage. But the blessed cross of celibacy is neither a common gift nor an easy vocation to bear. Those who are not married should possess their own vessel in purity and honor, and dedicate themselves to the service of Christ and His Church and their neighbors in the world. Those who are not yet "ready" to get married are even less "ready" to fornicate; there is never a good time for sin, whether in the teens or twenties, the thirties or forties, the fifties, sixties or seventies.
Of course, chastity belongs also to the married estate. Husbands and wives are to live, not as though their marriage were their god, but unto Christ in faith and love. We are neither more nor less righteous by the vocation of marriage, nor by the vocation of celibacy; but, wherever God has placed us by His grace, we are given to live according to His Word.
Thanks be to God for that one sacred and eternal marriage of Christ and His Bride, the Church, wherein He has given Himself for us, bedecked us in His righteousness, adorned us with His holiness, cleansed and healed us of every blemish, stain and wrinkle. He has not remained celibate, but He is chaste, and all that belongs to Him is ours, according to the tender mercies of our God. So do our bodies belong to Him, as members of His Body, and that is a good thing.
The Image of God
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