Chastity: The Angelic Virtue - Virginity, Catholic Chastity Training, Chastity Stories, Christian Virtues, Purity

Chastity: The Angelic Virtue

"As firstfruits are the most delicious, so virgins consecrated to God are most pleasing and dear to him. The spouse in the canticles feedeth among the lilies? One of the sacred interpreters, explaining these words, says, that "as the devil revels in the uncleanness of lust, so Christ feeds on the lilies of chastity." Venerable Bede asserts that the hymn of the virgins is more agreeable to the Lamb than that of all the other saints."

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PART 3. CHASTITY: THE ANGELIC VIRTUE

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In this day and age, there are very few who speak or write about chastity since the world have become so lustful and sensual, but chastity is in fact one of the virtues that is most taught in the Holy Scripture. While most of the verses about chastity are found in the New Testament (which we will examine after the Old Testament passages on chastity), there are also some very noteworthy ones in the Old Testament Scripture which shows us that both the married and the unmarried Jews of the Old Law also were commanded by God to practice the virtue of chastity.

CHASTITY IN THE OLD TESTAMENT AND THE OLD LAW

Chastity is a virtue above other virtues according to the biblical Book of Exodus and Jewish traditional teaching and history

It is described in The Book of Exodus how God, when He spoke to Moses and told him to tell the Jewish people that He wanted them to “be to Me a priestly kingdom, and a holy nation”, that God wanted all of the Jews (married as well as unmarried) to practice one specific virtue for three days before they were able to meet Him and enter into a covenant and union with Him and receive the Ten Commandments; and that virtue was chastity: “He [Moses] said to them: Be ready against the third day, and come not near your wives.” (Exodus 19:15)

Exodus 19:9-11,14-15 “The Lord said to him [Moses]: Lo, now will I come to thee in the darkness of a cloud, that the people may hear me speaking to thee, and may believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people to the Lord. And he [God] said to him [Moses]: Go to the people, and sanctify them today, and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments. And let them be ready against the third day: for on the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai. … And Moses came down from the mount to the people, and sanctified them. And when they had washed their garments, He said to them: Be ready against the third day, and come not near your wives.”

Unless the people had practiced chastity for three days, they would not have received the grace to appear before God and receive His Laws. The remarkable thing about this is that God first chose to tell the people to practice chastity before He told them about the Ten Commandments. The reason why Our Lord did this was to show us how much He values and wants us to practice the angelic virtue of chastity, thus showing us all that we must be very pure and holy when serving God.

The Haydock Bible Commentary explains the verses of Exodus 19 in the following way: “Ver. 10. [and let them wash their garments], with their bodies, as the Jews understand by this expression. They were also to abstain from their wives, &c. By which exterior practices, they were admonished of the interior purity which God required. All nations seem to have adopted similar observances of continence, washing themselves, and putting on their best attire, when they appeared before God. See Herodotus, &c. (Calmet) --- Ver. 15. [come not near your wives]. St. Paul recommends continence when people have to pray, 1 Corinthians 7. [Even] On the pagan temple of Epidaurus, this inscription was placed, "Let those be chaste who enter here" (St. Clement of Alexandria, strom. 5)”, and so, it is not strange that, if even pagans who do not know God observe the virtue of chastity at some times for the sake of serving their false god or gods, that Christians who are reborn through Christ’s Blood should adopt an even greater and more virtuous and chaste lifestyle than the pagans did, adding many more periods of chastity since this is only right, even by those who are married, as St. Paul suggests.

It is of course not a coincidence that it was the virtue of chastity that God commanded the Jewish people to practice in order to become sanctified and be worthy to appear before Him and enter into a covenant with Him. This moment when the Jewish people were to first meet Our Lord and enter into a Covenant with Him and receive the Ten Commandments was one of the greatest moments in the history of the Salvation of mankind and a once in a lifetime event. God solemnly bound Himself to the Jewish people through this spectacular event, and yet, God only asked that one specific virtue was to be practiced before meeting with Him, and that was chastity.

From this biblical example alone in The Book of Exodus it is easy to see for an honest person who does not love his flesh and the sensuality of the world just how much God loves and appreciates that men and women practice the virtue of chastity. This example from Holy Scripture also shows us that God wants even married people to practice chastity. In truth, we see that God Himself classifies the act of observing chastity for a while for even the married as a part of becoming “sanctified” and worthy to appear before Him according to the words in the Holy Bible, contrary to what many lustful people now teach. Chastity is simply in a class of its own when compared to most of the other virtues, but too few people in the world care for or appreciate the inestimable graces that are received by people who practice chastity. It is undoubtedly so that a refusal to practice chastity, whether inside or outside of marriage, is one of the greatest causes of why most people are damned to burn in Hell for all eternity. This truth was also revealed to us by Our Lady of Fatima, who said: “The sins which lead most souls to hell are sins of the flesh... Many marriages are not good; they do not please Our Lord and are not of God!”

The Book of Exodus also shows us that God directly commanded the priests of the Old Law (which was the prophetic symbol and sign of the priesthood of the New Law) to “sanctify” themselves when they served the Lord, which, as we have seen in The Book of Exodus, meant that they had to be chaste (Exodus 19:10-22). This, of course, directly proves that the Catholic Church’s teaching and practice of clerical celibacy is the only biblical one. And so important is this matter of priestly chastity to God, that Our Lord directly threatens to strike priests who refuse to follow His commandment concerning this matter: “He [God] said unto him [Moses]: Go down, and charge the people: lest they should have a mind to pass the limits to see the Lord, and a very great multitude of them should perish. The priests also that come to the Lord, let them be sanctified, [that is, chaste] lest he strike them.” (Exodus 19:21-22)

One of the major problems that plagues Protestants and other heretics of today is that they have little or no understanding of the ancient custom of taking a permanent or temporal vow of chastity, even in marriage. This has occurred since in their short 475 year history, they have no examples of good and virtuous people doing such things in their inherently fleshly, impure and lustful religion. When a Protestant thinks of marriage, he automatically thinks that sex must occur and that he is allowed to perform all kinds of lascivious, perverse, unnatural or lustful sexual deeds while married, but that is obviously not the way Jewish or even early Christian people thought of or viewed marriage.

Living a celibate life within marriage was not unknown in Jewish tradition. It was told that Moses, who was married, remained continent the rest of his life after the command to abstain from sexual intercourse (Exodus 19:15) given in preparation for receiving the Ten Commandments, and that the seventy elders also abstained thereafter from their wives after their call, and so did Eldad and Medad when the spirit of prophecy came upon them. Indeed it was said that the prophets became celibate after the Word of the Lord communicated with them (Midrash Exodus Rabbah 19; 46.3; Sifre to Numbers 99 sect. 11; Sifre Zutta 81-82, 203-204; Aboth Rabbi Nathan 9, 39; Tanchuman 111, 46; Tanchumah Zaw 13; 3 Petirot Moshe 72; Shabbath 87a; Pesachim 87b, Babylonian Talmud).

Jewish tradition mentions that, although the people had to abstain from sexual relations with their wives for only three days prior to the revelation at Mount Sinai (Ex. 19:15), Moses chose to remain continent the rest of his life with the full approval of God. The rabbis explained that this was so because Moses knew that he was appointed to personally commune with God, not only at Mount Sinai but in general throughout the forty years of sojourning in the wilderness. For this reason Moses kept himself “apart from woman”, remaining in the sanctity of separation to be at the beck and call of God at all times; they cited God’s command to Moses in Deuteronomy 5:28 (Midrash Exodus Rabbah 19:3 and 46.3).

Moses understood how he was called by God to a more perfect and pure service than the rest of the Jewish people, and thus spoke accordingly, saying:

“‘If the Israelites, with whom the Shechinah spoke only on one occasion and He appointed them a time [thereof], yet the Torah said, Be ready against the third day, come not near a woman: I, with whom the Shechinah speaks at all times and does not appoint me a [definite] time, how much more so!’ And how do we know that the Holy One, blessed be He, gave His approval? Because it is written, Go say to them, Return to your tents, which is followed by, But as for thee, stand thou here by me. (The Babylonian Talmud Seder Mo'ed, Shabbath, Vol. II, tr. Rabbi Dr. H. Freedman, Rebecca Bennet Publications, 1959, p. 411-412)

“Thus, Moses said: ‘If in connection with Mount Sinai, which was hallowed only for the occasion [of Revelation], we were told: Come not near a woman (ib. XIX, 15), then how much more must I, to whom He [God] speaks at all times, separate myself from my wife?’”

We also have information from the Jewish traditional teachings on Moses and his chaste and pure marriage after Sinai. In truth,

“it was God Himself who told him [to separate himself from his wife], for it says, "With him do I speak mouth to mouth" (Num. XII, 8). R. Judah also said that it was told him directly by God. For Moses too was included in the injunction, "Come not near a woman", thus all were forbidden; and when He afterwards said: "Return ye to your tents" (Deut. 5:30) He permitted them [to their husbands]. Moses then asked: "Am I included in them?" and God replied: "No; but As for thee, stand thou here by Me" (Deut. 5:31).” (Midrash Rabbah Exodus, XLVI. 3, tr. Rabbi Dr. S.M. Lehrman, Soncino Press, NY, 1983, p. 529)

The Holy Prophets Elijah and Elisha were also celibate all their lives (Zohar Hadash 2:1; Midrash Mishlei 30, 105, Pirke Rabbi Eliezer 33). Carmelite tradition teaches that a community of Jewish hermits had lived at the Mount of Carmel from the time of Elijah until the Catholic Order of the Carmelites were founded there. The Carmelite Constitution of 1281 teaches that from the time when Elijah and Elisha had dwelt devoutly on Mount Carmel, Priests and Prophets, Jewish and Christian, had lived praiseworthy lives in holy penitence and purity adjacent to the site of the fountain of Elisha, in an uninterrupted succession.

There is quite much about chastity in the Jewish tradition and writings, but the Jews of today, however, speak nothing or near to nothing about this. When for the sake of the Torah (i.e., intense study in it), a rabbi would abstain from relations with his wife, it was deemed permissible, for he was then cohabiting with the Shekinah (the Divine Presence) in the Torah (Zohar re Gn 1:27; 13:3 and Psalm 85:14 in the Discourse of Rabbi Phineas to Rabbis Jose, Judah, and Hiya).

Jewish tradition also mentions the celibate Zenu’im (Chaste ones) to whom the secret of the Name of God was entrusted, for they were able to preserve the Holy Name in “perfect purity” (Kiddushin 71a; Midash Ecclesiastes Rabbah 3:11; Yer. yoma 39a, 40a). Those in hope of a divine revelation consequently refrained from sexual intercourse and were strict in matters of purity (Enoch 83:2; Revelation 14:2-5). Indeed, Philo (Apol. pro Judaeis 1X, 14-17), Josephus, (Antiq. XVIII. 21) and St. Hippolytus (Philosophumena IX, IV, 28a) wrote on the celibacy of the Jewish Essenes hundreds of years before the discovery of their settlements in Qumran by the Dead Sea.

Philo Judaeus (c. 20 B.C.-50 A.D.), a Jewish philosopher, described Jewish women who were virgins who have kept their chastity not under compulsion, like some Greek priestesses, but of their own free will in their ardent yearning for Wisdom: “Eager to have Wisdom for their life-mate, they have spurned the pleasures of the body and desire no mortal offspring but those immortal children which only the soul that is dear to God can bring forth to birth” (Philo, Cont. 68; see also Philo, Abr. 100). For “the chaste are rewarded by receiving illumination from the concealed heavenly light” (Zohar 11. 229b-230a). Because “if the understanding is safe and unimpaired, free from the oppression of the iniquities or passions... it will gaze clearly on all that is worthy of contemplation” (Philo, Sob. 1.5). Conversely, “the understanding of the pleasure-loving man is blind and unable to see those things that are worth seeing... the sight of which is wonderful to behold and desirable” (Philo, Q. Gen.IV.245)

Indeed, Holy communities of men and women that was both married and unmarried practiced the evangelical, monastic lifestyle of chastity and purity both before and after the promulgation of the Gospel. Anne Catherine Emmerich wrote the following interesting information when explaining how some of these virtuous people lived before the promulgation of the Gospel. She said, speaking concerning “The Ancestors Of St. Anne – The Essenes”:

“Until Isaiah assembled these people together and gave them a more regular organization, they were scattered about the land of Israel, leading lives of piety and intent on mortification. They wore their clothes without mending them till they fell off their bodies. They fought particularly against sexual immorality, and often by mutual consent lived in continence for long periods, living in huts far removed from their wives. When they lived together as husband and wife, it was only with the intention of producing a holy offspring which might bring nearer the coming of the Savior. I saw them eating apart from their wives; the wife came to take her meal after the husband had left the table. There were ancestors of St. Anne and of other holy people among these early Essenes.” (The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary by Anne Catherine Emmerich)

According to Wikipedia: “The Essenes were a sect of Second Temple Judaism that flourished from the 2nd century BC to the 1st century AD which some scholars claim seceded from the Zadokite priests. Being much fewer in number than the Pharisees and the Sadducees (the other two major sects at the time), the Essenes lived in various cities but congregated in communal life dedicated to asceticism, voluntary poverty, daily immersion, and abstinence from worldly pleasures, including (for some groups) celibacy. Many separate but related religious groups of that era shared similar mystic, eschatological, messianic, and ascetic beliefs. These groups are collectively referred to by various scholars as the "Essenes." Josephus records that Essenes existed in large numbers, and thousands lived throughout Roman Judea.”

Josephus describes this pious collection of pure and chaste men and women that lived in a similar way that monks and nuns now live in his work The Jewish War.

Flavius Josephus, The Jewish War, Book II, Chapter 8: “For three forms of philosophy are pursued among the Judeans: the members of one are Pharisees, of another Sadducees, and the third [school], who certainly are reputed to cultivate seriousness, are called Essenes; although Judeans by ancestry, they are even more mutually affectionate than the others. Whereas these men shun the pleasures as vice, they consider self-control and not succumbing to the passions virtue. And although there is among them a disdain for marriage, adopting the children of outsiders while they are still malleable enough for the lessons they regard them as family and instill in them their principles of character: without doing away with marriage or the succession resulting from it, they nevertheless protect themselves from the wanton ways of women...

“To those who are eager for their school, the entry-way is not a direct one, but they prescribe a regimen for the person who remains outside for a year, giving him a little hatchet as well as the aforementioned waist-covering and white clothing. Whenever he should give proof of his self-control during this period, he approaches nearer to the regimen and indeed shares in the purer waters for purification, though he is not yet received into the functions of communal life. For after this demonstration of endurance, the character is tested for two further years, and after he has thus been shown worthy he is reckoned into the group.

“… [They are] long-lived, most of them passing 100 years—as a result, it seems to me at least, of the simplicity of their regimen and their orderliness. Despisers of terrors, triumphing over agonies by their wills, considering death—if it arrives with glory—better than deathlessness. The war against the Romans proved their souls in every way: during it, while being twisted and also bent, burned and also broken, and passing through all the torture-chamber instruments, with the aim that they might insult the lawgiver or eat something not customary, they did not put up with suffering either one: not once gratifying those who were tormenting [them], or crying. But smiling in their agonies and making fun of those who were inflicting the tortures, they would cheerfully dismiss their souls, [knowing] that they would get them back again.

“… There are also among them those who profess to foretell what is to come, being thoroughly trained in holy books, various purifications, and concise sayings of prophets. Rarely if ever do they fail in their predictions.

“There is also a different order of Essenes. Though agreeing with the others about regimen and customs and legal matters, it has separated in its opinion about marriage. For they hold that those who do not marry cut off the greatest part of life, the succession, and more: if all were to think the same way, the line would very quickly die out. To be sure, testing the brides in a three-year interval, once they have been purified three times as a test of their being able to bear children, they take them in this manner; but they do not continue having intercourse with those who are pregnant, demonstrating that the need for marrying is not because of pleasure, but for children.” (Flavius Josephus: translation and commentary, vol. 1b: Judean War)

Regarding monks and nuns, the Old Testament records people who took special vows of consecration to God (Nazirites, cf. Num. 6), the Old Testament equivalent of monks and nuns. In the New Testament, Anna the prophetess seems to have lived like a cloistered nun, as “she did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day” (Luke 2:37). St. Paul also tells us of an order of widows devoted to good works who had vowed to not marry again (cf. 1 Tim. 5:9-12).

St. John Damascene (c. 676-749 A.D.), a Christian theologian, describes of Moses and the Israelites concerning purity, “Did not God, when He wished the Israelites to see Him, bid them purify the body? [Ex. 19:15; Num. 6:2] Did not the priests purify themselves and so approach the temple’s shrine and offer victims? And did not the law call chastity the great vow?” (An Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Book IV, Chapter XXIV.--Concerning Virginity). Why so few people today speak or write about chastity and purity is not hard to guess since almost all men and women, whether married or not, are filled with impurity, lust-fulness and sensuality. This is also the reason why God performs less miracles and why He reveals Himself to less people nowadays. Indeed, since almost all are entrenched in the flesh, this greatly hinders their spirituality and conversation with God. God, however, is never far away from those who seek and love purity and chastity. Thus, “If you long for God to manifest Himself to you, why do you not hear Moses, when he commands the people to be pure from the stains of marriage, that they may take in the vision of God [Ex. 19:15].” (St. Gregory of Nyssa, On Virginity, Chapter XXIV, ca. 335-395 A.D.)

There is “a time to be far from embraces” for those who are married according to God’s Holy Word in the Book of Ecclesiastes

In truth, contrary to what many lustful people nowadays teach, Our Lord and God teaches us in The Book of Ecclesiastes that there is “A time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces (Ecclesiastes 3:5) and this teaching of Our Lord in Holy Scripture directly applies to the married since He wishes them to practice chastity from time to time in order to grow in holiness and purity. The phrase “A time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces” refers to the marital act. Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary explains this verse: “Verse 5. Embraces. Continence was sometimes prescribed to married people, Leviticus xx. 18., and 1 Corinthians 7. (St. Jerome) (St. Augustine, Enchiridion 78.) (Calmet).” This clearly shows us not only that Our Lord wants all the married to sometimes abstain from the marital act, but also that the marital act sometimes must be abstained from altogether instead of being performed every day as the world and human sensuality predicates.

There are two main reasons for why the Holy Bible instructs married spouses to abstain from the marital act, teaching them that there is “a time to be far from embraces”. The first reason is that spouses who perform the marital act often will more easily fall into sexual sins either with his own spouse or with himself or with some other person, since he who indulges his flesh often is much more apt to fall into sexual sins of various sorts just like a person who drinks wine often is much more apt to fall into the sin of drunkenness than a person who rarely or never drinks wine at all. The second reason is that chastity helps a person’s prayer to become better and stronger and “give[s] you power to attend upon the Lord, without impediment” (1 Cor. 7:35) according to God’s Holy Word in the Bible.

The majority of the Jews in the Old Testament Religion awaited the coming and birth of the Messiah, and because of this, they also extolled the procreation of the Jewish race since they understood that the Messiah would be born from their race. The majority of them did not understand, however, that God would bring forth the Messiah from a pure virgin and without any sexual intercourse. The reason God chose to become man through a virgin, and without any human sexual relations is because Our Lord values chastity and purity above the marital life. It was not fitting that God who is purity Himself, should become man through an act that had become wounded and lustful through concupiscence after the fall and original sin of Adam and Eve. Thus, Our Lord decreed that He would become Man both since His dignity required this, but also because He wanted His people to understand that the meritorious action of observing chastity is a great virtue that showers humanity with blessings of different kinds.

St. Methodius, Banquet of the Ten Virgins (c. 311 A.D.): “For consider, O virgins, how he [St. Paul, in Holy Scripture], desiring with all his might that believers in Christ should be chaste, endeavors by many arguments to show them the dignity of chastity, as when he says, "Now, concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman," thence showing already very clearly that it is good not to touch a woman, laying it down, and setting it forth unconditionally. But afterwards, being aware of the weakness of the less continent, and their passion for intercourse, he permitted those who are unable to govern the flesh to use their own wives, rather than, shamefully transgressing, to give themselves up to fornication. Then, after having given this permission, he immediately added these words, "that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency;" which means, "if you, such as you are, cannot, on account of the incontinence and softness of your bodies, be perfectly continent, I will rather permit you to have intercourse with your own wives, lest, professing perfect continence, ye be constantly tempted by the evil one, and be inflamed with lust after other men’s wives."” (Discourse III, Chapter XI)

Speaking about the greatness and practice of purity and chastity of the men and women of the Old Law, St. Jerome (347-420) confirms the historical truth that chastity was practiced even then, as well as that Moses laid off the earthly garments of marriage in order to arraign himself in the pure and spotless garment of heaven and eternity, since he knew very well that “The truth is that, in view of the purity of the body of Christ, all sexual intercourse is unclean” and that sex is only tolerated and excused for the procreation of children: “Does he imagine that we approve of any sexual intercourse except for the procreation of children?”

St. Jerome, Against Jovinianus, Book 1, Section 20, A.D. 393: “But I wonder why he [Jovinianus] set Judah and Tamar before us for an example [Gen. xxxviii], unless perchance even harlots give him pleasure; or Onan who was slain because he grudged his brother seed [Gen. xxxviii. 9]. Does he imagine that we approve of any sexual intercourse except for the procreation of children? As regards Moses, it is clear that he would have been in peril at the inn, if Sephora which is by interpretation a bird, had not circumcised her son, and cut off the foreskin of marriage with the knife which prefigured the Gospel [Ex. iv. 24-26]. This is that Moses who when he saw a great vision and heard an angel, or the Lord speaking in the bush [Ex. iii. 5], could not by any means approach to him without first loosing the latchet of his shoe, that is, putting off the bonds of marriage. And we need not be surprised at this in the case of one who was a prophet, lawgiver, and the friend of God, seeing that all the people when about to draw nigh to Mount Sinai, and to hear the voice speaking to them, were commanded to sanctify themselves in three days, and keep themselves from their wives. I am out of order in violating historical sequence, but I may point out that the same thing was said by Ahimelech [1 Sam. xxi. 4] the priest to David when he fled to Nob: “If only the young men have kept themselves from women.” And David answered, “of a truth about these three days.” For the shew-bread, like the body of Christ, might not be eaten by those who rose from the marriage bed. And in passing we ought to consider the words “if only the young men have kept themselves from women.” The truth is that, in view of the purity of the body of Christ, all sexual intercourse is unclean. In the law also it is enjoined that the high priest must not marry any but a virgin, nor must he take to wife a widow [Levit. xxi. 13, 14]. If a virgin and a widow are on the same level, how is it that one is taken, the other rejected? And the widow of a priest is bidden abide in the house of her father, and not to contract a second marriage [Levit. xxi. 3]. If the sister of a priest dies in virginity, just as the priest is commanded to go to the funeral of his father and mother, so must he go to hers. But if she be married, she is despised as though she belonged not to him. He who has married a wife, and he who has planted a vineyard, an image of the propagation of children, is forbidden to go to the battle. For he who is the slave of his wife cannot be the Lord’s soldier. And the laver in the tabernacle was cast from the mirrors of the women who fasted, signifying the bodies of pure virgins: And within, in the sanctuary, both cherubim, and mercy-seat, and the ark of the covenant, and the table of shew-bread, and the candle-stick, and the censer, were made of the purest gold. For silver might not be brought into the holy of holies [Ex. xxxvii].”

The figure of the Eucharist in the Holy Bible requires people to be chaste in order to receive it, teaching us to be chaste for three days before receiving the Eucharist

Another example of chastity in the Old Testament is found in The First Book of Kings (also called First Samuel) where the future King David, being on the run from King Saul, asks the priest Achimelech for some food to alleviate his and his friends’ hunger.

1 Kings 21:2-5: “And David said to Achimelech the priest: ‘…Now therefore if thou have any thing at hand, though it were but five loaves, give me, or whatsoever thou canst find.’ And the priest answered David, saying: ‘I have no common bread at hand, but only holy bread, if the young men be clean, especially from women?’ And David answered the priest, and said to him: ‘Truly, as to what concerneth women, we have refrained ourselves from yesterday and the day before, when we came out, and the vessels of the young men were holy. Now this way is defiled, but it shall also be sanctified this day in the vessels.’”

Haydock Commentary explains some very noteworthy and interesting things about these remarkable verses: “Verse 4. If the young men be clean, &c. If this cleanness was required of them that were to eat that bread, which was but a figure of the bread of life which we receive in the blessed sacrament [the Eucharist]; how clean ought Christians be when they approach to our tremendous mysteries? And what reason hath the Church of God to admit none to be her ministers, to consecrate and daily receive this most pure sacrament, but such as devote themselves to a life of perpetual purity. (Challoner) --- Verse 5. Vessels, i.e., the bodies, have been holy; that is, have been kept from impurity (Challoner)… Septuagint, "my men are all purified." (Calmet) --- Defiled. Is liable to expose us to dangers of uncleanness, (Challoner) as we shall perhaps have to fight. (Haydock) --- Sanctified. That is, we shall take care, notwithstanding these dangerous circumstances, to keep our vessels holy; that is, keep our bodies from every thing that may defile us. (Challoner)”

Just like in the case of The Book of Exodus where God demanded the people to be chaste for three days before receiving His Holy Word, so the figure and sign of the most Holy Eucharist in the Old Testament time also refers to the three days of chastity before receiving it. We see the three day standard of practicing chastity before receiving the Holy Eucharist in these words: “Truly, as to what concerneth women, we have refrained ourselves from yesterday and the day before, when we came out, and the vessels of the young men were holy.” (1 Kings 21:5) And as is the case with many types and figures of the Old Law that was fulfilled in the New Law, just like in the Old Law, where the “holy bread” that prefigured the Eucharist was only allowed to be received if the young men be clean, especially from women” so too the Holy Eucharist may never be received without abstaining at least three days from the marital sexual act, since “The dignity of so great a Sacrament [of the Eucharist] also demands that married persons abstain from the marriage debt for some days previous to Communion.” That is also why chastityis particularly to be observed for at least three days before Communion, and oftener during the solemn fast of Lent.” (The Catechism of the Council of Trent)

Likewise, the reception of the Word of God and the Ten Commandments by the people of Israel in The Book of Exodus after three days of chastity signifies that there is a necessity for all to be chaste for three days in order to receive the Word of God (Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself) made flesh in the Sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist, which is the true manna from Heaven “come down in the sight of all the people” according to Holy Scripture. “And he [God] said to him [Moses]: Go to the people, and sanctify them today, and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments. And let them be ready against the third day: for on the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai.And Moses came down from the mount to the people, and sanctified them. And when they had washed their garments, He said to them: Be ready against the third day, and come not near your wives.” The Old Testament could not be more clear on the beneficial nature of chastity, and that it is necessary for a person to practice it for three days before receiving the Most Holy Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

In the Old Law and the Old Testament, every time God commanded the people to “sanctify” themselves this meant that they were to be chaste for a period of time as evidenced from The Book of Exodus, as we saw above. The commandment to the people to “sanctify” themselves that were given by God and His Prophets and Priests in the Old Testament are quite often used in the Old Testament, but most people who read the Old Testament do not understand that the Jewish sanctification actually meant to practice the virtue of chastity for a certain amount of time. Thus, the Church of the Old Testament just like the Church of the New Covenant practiced chastity, and drew down a shower of grace and mercy from the Lord: “The Lord knoweth the days of undefiled; and their inheritance shall be for ever.” (Psalms 36:18)

Indeed, the necessity for us all to “sanctify” ourselves is crucially important, and especially so when we are to receive Our Lord’s Holy Body and Blood. Speaking about the reception of the Holy Eucharist, St. Jerome expresses himself in the following terms in his Commentary on The Gospel of Matthew: “If the loaves of Proposition might not be eaten by them who had known their wives carnally, how much less may this Bread [the Eucharist] which has come down from heaven be defiled and touched by them who shortly before have been in conjugal embraces? It is not that we condemn marriages, but that at the time when we are going to eat the flesh of the Lamb, we ought not to indulge in carnal acts.” (Epist. xxviii, among St. Jerome’s works)

For the same reason, in the year 1679 A.D., Pope Innocent XI addressed all priests in an encyclical, teaching them how married people are to be instructed and disposed in order to be able to receive the Most Holy Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist: “In the case of married persons, however, let them seriously consider this, since the blessed Apostle does not wish them to "defraud one another, except perhaps by consent for a time, that they may give themselves to prayer" [cf. 1 Cor. 7:5], let them advise these seriously that they should give themselves more to continence because of reverence for the most holy Eucharist, and that they should come together for Communion in the heavenly banquet with a purer mind.” (Pope Innocent XI (1676-1689), From the Decree C. S. Conc., Feb. 12. 1679, Denzinger #1147)

Pope Innocent XI also added additional instructions on how both the married as well as all others are to be instructed and disposed for the reception of Our Lord’s Body and Blood in the following words: “It will be of benefit, too, besides the diligence of priests and confessors, to make use also of the services of preachers and to have an agreement with them, that, when the faithful have become used to frequenting the most holy Sacrament (which they should do), they preach a sermon on the great preparation for undertaking that, and show in general that those who by devout zeal are stirred to a more frequent or daily partaking of the health bringing Food, whether lay tradesmen, or married people, or any others, ought to understand their own weakness, so that because of the dignity of the Sacrament and the fear of the divine judgment they may learn to revere the celestial table on which is Christ; and if at any time they should feel themselves not prepared, to abstain from it and to gird themselves for a greater preparation. … Furthermore, let bishops and priests or confessors refute those who hold that daily communion is of divine right...” (Pope Innocent XI (1676-1689), From the Decree C. S. Conc., Feb. 12. 1679, Denzinger #1149-1150)

So a good advice to pious persons is that they remain chaste for three days before receiving the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist in the same way as the Jewish people were commanded by God to practice chastity for three days before they received the Word of God in the Old Covenant; and just like David and his men had to be chaste and pure for three days before they received the figure and sign of the Body of Christ in the Old Law. The honor that a chaste and virtuous person gives to Christ and the Holy Eucharist by practicing the virtue of chastity for three days before receiving the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist is, simply said, inestimable. The biblical Commentary of First Kings also teaches us this fact, mentioning that “If this cleanness was required of them that were to eat that bread, which was but a figure of the bread of life which we receive in the blessed sacrament [the Eucharist]; how clean ought Christians be when they approach to our tremendous mysteries?”

In fact, the Catholic Church has always admonished and taught spouses that there is a necessity to abstain from the marriage debt for at least three days before receiving the Most Holy Eucharist of the Mass in order to obtain blessings from God, while also recognizing and admonishing spouses that “The dignity of so great a Sacrament [of the Eucharist] also demands that married persons abstain from the marriage debt for some days previous to Communion”.

The Catechism of the Council of Trent speaks much of the necessity of purity and preparation before receiving the Holy Eucharist. In the section “On the Sacrament of Matrimony” it teaches that the three days standard of observing chastity before receiving Communion was taught by their predecessors, thus indicating that the Tradition of the Church always taught this truth: “But as every blessing is to be obtained from God by holy prayer, the faithful are also to be taught sometimes to abstain from the marriage debt, in order to devote themselves to prayer. Let the faithful understand that (this religious continence), according to the proper and holy injunction of our predecessors, is particularly to be observed for at least three days before Communion, and oftener during the solemn fast of Lent. Thus will they find the blessings of marriage to be daily increased by an abundance of divine grace; and living in the pursuit of piety, they will not only spend this life in peace and tranquility, but will also repose in the true and firm hope, which confoundeth not, of arriving, through the divine goodness, at the possession of that life which is eternal.”

In the section “On the sacrament of the Eucharist, Preparation Of Body” The Catechism of Trent corroborates the fact that the story of David in the Bible shows us that we must both fast and be chaste before receiving the Holy Eucharist: “Our preparation should not, however, be confined [only] to the soul; it should also extend to the body. We are to approach the Holy Table fasting, having neither eaten nor drunk anything at least from the preceding midnight until the moment of Communion. The dignity of so great a Sacrament also demands that married persons abstain from the marriage debt for some days previous to Communion. This observance is recommended by the example of David, who, when about to receive the showbread from the hands of the priest, declared that he and his servants had been clean from women for three days. The above are the principal things to be done by the faithful preparatory to receiving the sacred mysteries with profit; and to these heads may be reduced whatever other things may seem desirable by way of preparation.”

Indeed, there is a “great necessity of this previous preparation” for all who presume to receive the Most Holy Body of Our Lord: “We now come to point out the manner in which the faithful should be previously prepared for sacramental Communion. To demonstrate the great necessity of this previous preparation, the example of the Savior should be adduced. Before He gave to His Apostles the Sacrament of His precious Body and Blood, although they were already clean, He washed their feet to show that we must use extreme diligence before Holy Communion in order to approach it with the greatest purity and innocence of soul.” (The Catechism of Trent, On the sacrament of the Eucharist, Necessity Of Previous Preparation For Communion)

Considering all of the above, it is clear why The Catechism of Trent, in the Chapter about the Sacrament of the Eucharist, and the Necessity Of Previous Preparation For Communion, rightly declared that he who dares to approach the Holy Eucharist “without this preparation [of purity] not only derives from it no advantage, but even incurs the greatest misfortune and loss,” which directly contradicts the lustful and depraved world who teaches that God does not require any kind of special purity in order to receive Him: “In the next place, the faithful are to understand that as he who approaches thus prepared and disposed is adorned with the most ample gifts of heavenly grace; so, on the contrary, he who approaches without this preparation not only derives from it no advantage, but even incurs the greatest misfortune and loss. It is characteristic of the best and most salutary things that, if seasonably made use of, they are productive of the greatest benefit; but if employed out of time, they prove most pernicious and destructive. It cannot, therefore, excite out surprise that the great and exalted gifts of God; when received into a soul properly disposed, are of the greatest assistance towards the attainment of salvation; while to those who receive them unworthily, they bring with them eternal death. Of this the Ark of the Lord affords a convincing illustration. The people of Israel possessed nothing more precious and it was to them the source of innumerable blessings from God; but when the Philistines carried it away, it brought on them a most destructive plague and the heaviest calamities, together with eternal disgrace. Thus also food when received from the mouth into a healthy stomach nourishes and supports the body; but when received into an indisposed stomach, causes grave disorders.” (The Catechism of Trent, On the Sacrament of the Eucharist; and the Necessity Of Previous Preparation For Communion)

Indeed, in The Revelations of St. Bridget, Jesus also tells us that we will be punished if we receive Him in the Eucharist with a wicked or impure heart. Our Lord Jesus Christ spoke to St. Bridget, saying, “When the words ‘This is my body’ are spoken, the bread becomes the Body of Christ that people receive, both the good and the wicked, one person as much as one thousand, according to the same truth but not with the same effect, for the good receive it unto life, while the wicked receive it unto judgment.” (The Revelations of St. Bridget, Book 4, Chapter 61) And so, “as the sacred feasts approach, observe chastity with your wives for several days preceding, so that you may approach the Lord’s altar with a peaceful conscience.” (St. Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 19:3)

Before the apostasy of the 20th and the 21st century, it was commonly known by the faithful of the Church that the Church taught married spouses to abstain for at least three days from marital relations as well as that all people (except the sick or weak) were to fast from the preceding midnight until the moment of Communion in order for the servants of Christ to be pure and better disposed to receive the Holy Eucharist. Nowadays, however, since people are worldly and lustful, they either reject or ignore this ancient Church teaching. It is indeed obvious that Christians who receive the true Body of Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist rather than just a figure or shell of it as the Jews did in the Old Law, should minimally practice as much chastity or even more purity than those in the Old Law did, since this is only reasonable and just. The true Body of Christ is of infinitely more value and deserving of honor than the figure of it, and yet most so-called Christians of today do not even practice as much virtue as the Jews in the Old Law did.

Already in the 6th century, Pope St. Gregory the Great, in his Epistle to Augustine, Bishop of the English, rightly declared that God demands from us purity and chastity when we are to receive Him in the Most Holy Eucharist of the Mass, since this was even required in the Old Law which was only a sign of the Eucharist.

“Furthermore it is to be attentively considered that the Lord in mount Sinai, when about to speak to the people, first charged the same people to abstain from women. And if there, where the Lord spoke to men through a subject creature, purity of body was required with such careful provision that they who were to hear the words of God might not have intercourse with women, how much more ought those who receive the Body of the Almighty Lord to keep purity of the flesh in themselves, lest they be weighed down by the greatness of the inestimable mystery! Hence also it is said through the priest to David concerning his servants, that if they were pure from women they might eat the shew bread; which they might not receive at all unless David first declared them to be pure from women.” (Selected Epistles of St. Gregory, in "Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers", Volume XIII, Book XII, Epistle LXIV)

It is a sad fact to have to relate, but carnal Christians who reject purity and holiness before receiving the Most Holy Eucharist of the Mass show a lack of estimation and appreciation for the Body of Christ by their worldly and pleasure seeking lifestyle, showing themselves to be lovers of the flesh and of the world rather than of Our Lord. It is an utter disgrace and blemish on every Christian (who have received countless of more graces than the Jews of the Old Law) to practice less virtue than the Jews in the Old Law did. This lack of virtue is undoubtedly also one of the main reasons of why the Church’s members have been decreased drastically during the 20th century and why so many of them were allowed to fall into immorality and apostasy from God. The Holy Bible is crystal clear when it says that: “whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the Body and of the Blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that Bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the Body of the Lord. Therefore are there many infirm and weak among you, and many sleep.” (1 Corinthians 11:27-30)

Our Lord Himself tells us in The Revelations of St. Bridget that there is an absolute necessity for all to receive Him in purity and chastity. Our Lord spoke to St. Bridget in a revelation, saying: “I am like a ruler who fought faithfully in the land of his pilgrimage, and returned with joy to the land of his birth. This ruler had a very precious treasure [the most Holy Eucharist]. At its sight, the bleary-eyed became clear-sighted, the sad were consoled, the sick regained their strength, the dead were raised. For the purpose of the safe and honest protection of this treasure, a splendid and magnificent house of suitable height was built and finished with seven steps leading up to it and the treasure. The ruler entrusted the treasure to his servants for them to watch over, manage, and protect faithfully and purely. This was in order that the ruler’s love for his servants might be shown and that the servants’ faithfulness toward the ruler might be seen.

“As time went on, the treasure began to be despised and its house rarely visited, while the guardians grew lukewarm, and the love of the ruler was neglected. Then the ruler consulted his intimate advisers concerning what was to be done about such ingratitude, and one of them said in answer: ‘It is written that the neglectful judges and guardians of the people were ordered to be hanged in the sun. However, mercy and judgment are your nature; you are lenient toward all, for all things are yours and you are merciful toward all.’

“I am the ruler in the parable. I appeared like a pilgrim on earth by virtue of my humanity, although I was mighty in heaven and on earth by virtue of my divinity. I fought so hard on earth that all the muscles of my hands and feet were ruptured out of zeal for the salvation of souls. As I was about to leave the world and ascend into heaven, I left it a most worthy memorial, my most Holy Body, in order that, in the same way that the Old Law could glory in the ark, the manna, and the tablets of the covenant, and in other ceremonies, so the new man could rejoice in the New Law—not, as before, in a shadow but in the truth, indeed, in my crucified body that had been foreshadowed in the law. In order that my body might be given honor and glory, I established the house of the Holy Church, where it was to be kept and preserved, as well as priests to be its special guardians, who in a certain way are above the angels by reason of their ministry. The one whom angels fear to touch due to a reverent fear, priests handle with their hands and mouth.

“I honored the priests with a sevenfold honor, as it were, on seven steps. On the first step, they should be my standard-bearers and special friends by reason of the purity of their mind and body, for purity is the first position near to God, whom nothing foul can touch nor adorn. It was not strange that marital relation was permitted to the priests of the law during the time in which they were not offering sacrifice, for they were carrying the shell, not the nut itself. Now, however, with the coming of the truth and the disappearance of the figure, one must strive all the more fully for purity by as much as the nut is sweeter than the shell. As a sign of this kind of continence, first the hair is tonsured, so that desire for pleasure does not rule over spirit or flesh.

“… My grievance now, however, is that these steps have fallen apart. Pride is loved more than humility, impurity is practiced instead of purity, the divine lessons are not read but the book of the world, negligence is to be seen at the altars, God’s wisdom is regarded as foolishness, the salvation of souls is not a concern. As if this were not enough, they even throw away my vestments and scorn my weapons. On the mountain, I showed Moses the vestments that the priests of the law were to use. It is not as though there were anything material in God’s heavenly dwelling, but it is because spiritual things cannot be understood except by means of physical symbols. Thus, I revealed a spiritual truth by means of something physical in order that people might realize how much reverence and purity are needful for those who have the truth itself—my Body—given that those who were wearing but a shadow and a figure had so much purity and reverence.

“Why did I reveal such magnificence in material vestments to Moses? It was, of course, in order to use them to teach and symbolize the magnificence and beauty of the soul. As the vestments of the priests were seven in number, so too the soul that approaches the Body of God shall have seven virtues without which there is no salvation. The first vestment of the soul, then, is contrition and confession. These cover the head. The second is desire for God and desire for chastity. The third is work in honor of God as well as patience in adversity. The fourth is caring neither for human praise nor reproach but for the honor of God alone. The fifth is abstinence of the flesh along with true humility. The sixth is consideration of the favors of God as well as fear of his judgments. The seventh is love of God above all things and perseverance in good undertakings.

“These vestments, however, have been changed and are now despised. People love to make excuses and smooth over their guilt instead of going to confession. They love constant lasciviousness instead of chastity. They love work for the benefit of the body instead of work for the salvation of the soul. They love worldly ambition and pride instead of the honor and love of God. They love all kinds of redundancy instead of praiseworthy thrift, presumption and criticizing God’s judgments instead of the fear of God, and the clergy’s thanklessness toward everyone instead of God’s love toward all. Therefore, as I said through the prophet, I shall come in indignation, and tribulation shall give them understanding… My mercy shows pardon to them all and endures them all. However, my justice calls for retribution, for I cry out each day and you see well enough how many answer me. Nevertheless, I will still send out the words of my mouth. Those who listen will complete the days of their lives in that joy that can neither be expressed nor imagined because of its sweetness. To those, however, who do not listen, there will come, as it is written, seven plagues in the soul and seven plagues in the body. They will find this out, if they think and read about what has been done. Otherwise, they will quake and quail when they do experience it.” (The Revelations of St. Bridget, Book 4, Chapter 58)

Again, God’s holy word is clear that there is “A time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.” (Ecclesiastes 3:5) But most people, however, refuse to obey these words of Our Lord which says that one must practice chastity from time to time. Instead, they choose to act in a gluttonous way in the marital act by overindulging in it even though it is contrary to reason to have more marital relations than what is necessary.

The infinite value of the many and great graces and special friendship of God that lustful people lose because of their inordinate love of this fleshly act is, simply said, impossible to estimate, since a single Grace is truly of more worth than the whole of the universe combined. “He that loveth cleanness of heart, for the grace of his lips shall have the King [of Heaven] for his friend.” (Proverbs 22:11)

Many Popes and Saints, as we have seen, tried to get all Christians to practice chastity before they received the Eucharist. It is clear that this is an Apostolic Tradition, since the Church, from the beginning, tried to admonish and teach Her children to always abstain from the sexual act before receiving the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. For example, in the year 866, Pope St. Nicholas the Great wrote a letter to Boris, prince of Bulgaria, and explained the reason for abstaining from marital relations on Sundays and holy days, saying that: “If we must abstain from worldly labor on Sundays, how much the more must we be on our guard against fleshly lust and every bodily defilement.” And so, it is certain that the Church always have taught that Christians are to remain chaste before receiving the Eucharist. St. Caesarius of Arles (c. 470-543 A.D.), who was a fierce promoter of chastity before receiving the Most Holy Eucharist, wrote concerning “a good Christian” in the following way: “That man is a good Christian who, as often as the sacred feasts come around, in order that he may receive Holy Communion more serenely, observes chastity with his wife during the few preceding days, that he may presume to approach the Lord’s altar with a free and serene conscience because of his chaste body and pure heart.” (Sermon 16:2)

Jonas, Bishop of Orleans from 818 to 843, scolded married folk for “irreverently coming” to church after engaging in marital relations. Not only were these married folk “so indiscreet as to come up as far as the altar,” lamented Jonas, but they also received “the Body and Blood of Christ.” Jonas warned those soiled with the “uncleanness” of their marital activity: “Let them understand that they should only enter Christ’s Church and receive His Body and Blood with a clean body and a pure heart.” (Jonas of Orleans, De Institutione Laicorum) St. Caesarius of Arles adds: “Who is unable to advise that, as often as the sacred solemnities approach, chastity with one’s own wife should be observed several days preceding, so that the altar of the Lord may be approached with an upright and pure conscience. Indeed, if a man communicated without chastity, he will receive judgment where he might have had a remedy.” (Sermon 1:12)

Origen (c. 182-254 A.D.) in his Treatise on the Passover, Exegesis of Exodus 12, explains that the Holy Bible teaches us that we must receive the Holy Eucharist with: “Your loins girded.” He then goes on to explain what this means: “We are ordered, when we eat the Passover [the Eucharist], to be pure of bodily sexual union, for this is what the girding of the loins means [in the Holy Scripture]. Thus Scripture teaches us to bind up the bodily source of seed and to repress inclinations to sexual relations when we partake of the flesh of Christ.”

The amount of Popes, Fathers and Saints that could be quoted concerning the absolute necessity to be chaste before the reception of the Holy Eucharist and the Body and Blood of Christ is almost endless. Gratian, in his Marriage Canons From “The Decretum”, which is based largely on the authority of the Church Fathers (written in the 12th century), clearly shows us how this Apostolic Tradition of observing a period of chastity before receiving the Holy Eucharist was firmly established and believed by the faithful in the Early Church. However, these quotations and Early Church Canons also clearly shows us the necessity of abstaining from marital relations not only before Receiving the Sacraments of the Holy Mass, but also on all Holy Days. Gratian writes concerning this,

“That spouses may not lawfully render each other the debt during times of prayer, St. Jerome writes in a certain sermon, saying: "A man should abstain from the Flesh of the Lamb when he renders the debt to his wife. You know, most dear brothers, that one who renders the debt to his wife cannot devote himself to prayer, nor can he eat the Flesh of the Lamb." Also: "If those who touched women could not eat the Showbread [that was the mere sign of the future Eucharist described in the biblical book of 1st Sam. 21:4], how much more should those who have not refrained from matrimonial embrace refrain from touching and violating the Bread Come Down from Heaven? Now, we do not condemn marriage, but when we are to eat the Flesh of the Lamb, we ought to forego carnal works."

“Also, [Saint] Augustine, [in Sermon ii of the Temporal Cycle, that is, for the Second Sunday of Advent]: "One should abstain from conjugal union on the solemnities of the saints. On Christmas and other festivals we ought to abstain, not only from the company of unbelieving concubines, but also from our own wives." Also, [Saint] Ambrose, in his sermon on the Lord’s Coming: "On fast days one ought also to abstain from one’s wife. Brethren, you should abstain, not only from every impurity, but you should also carefully hold yourself back from your own wives. Let no one have relations with his wife. The same, on the First Letter to the Corinthians [Chapter 7]: If a wife is taken for procreating children, not much attention needs to be dedicated to that. What is necessary for conception and childbirth shows that one can abstain from works of the flesh on feast days and rogation days, as the law demands at those times."

“Also, Augustine, in his book Questions on the Old and New Testaments, [Question cxxvii], says: "One must refrain from one’s wife on certain days. Sometimes a Christian may lawfully approach his wife, at other times he may not. On the rogation days and fast days, one may not lawfully approach her, because one should then abstain even from lawful things, in order to entreat and pray more easily. Hence the Apostle [1 Cor. 7:5] says that spouses should abstain for a time by mutual consent, to devote time to prayer. For according to the law [cf. Is. 58:4], one may not sue and fight during fasts, although one might afterwards." Also, [Saint] John Chrysostom: "Without continence, one does not truly do penance. One who claims to do penance and master himself by self-denial speaks in vain if he does not abandon the bed-chamber [cf. Joel 2:16] and add continence to his fasting."

“Also, [Pope Saint] Gregory, [to the Questions of Augustine, Bishop of the English, Reply 10]: "A man should refrain from entering a church after sleeping with his wife… We do not suggest that marriage is wrong, but because lawful conjugal relations cannot occur without lust, one should abstain from entering a sacred place… Lawful union of the flesh must be for the sake of offspring, not for lust, and fleshly intercourse for having children, not for satisfying vice… But since, in the act of union, men are dominated, not by desire to procreate offspring, but by lust, spouses do have something to regret in their union."

“Gratian: The following forbid the celebration of marriage on days of abstinence. Hence in the Council of Laodicea, [A.D. 363-364, canon 52]: "Marriages or feasts may not be celebrated during lent." Also, from the Council [Lateran Council of 649] of Pope [Saint] Martin, [canon 48]: "The feasts of the martyrs may not be celebrated during Lent, but the offering may be made in their memory on Saturdays and Sundays. Neither feasts nor weddings may be celebrated during Lent." Also, from the Council of Lerida [A.D. 546]: "Weddings may not be celebrated from Septuagesima until the Octave of Easter, during the three weeks before the feast of St. John, and from Advent until Epiphany. If any do so, let them be separated [excommunicated]." Also, [Pope Saint] Nicholas, to the questions of the Bulgarians, [A.D. 866, Letter 99]: "I think it no way possible to take a wife or have any celebrations during the season of Lent."” (Gratian, Marriage Canons From The Decretum (Vulgate Edition), Case Thirty-Three, Question IV, Part 1 and 2)

Thus, “As often as you come to church and wish to receive the sacraments of Christ on a feast, observe chastity several days before it, so that you may be able to approach the Lord’s altar with a peaceful conscience. Devoutly practice this also throughout Lent, even to the end of the Pasch, so that the Easter solemnity may find you pure and chaste. In fact, a good Christian should not only observe chastity for a few days before he communicates, [that is, before he receives the Holy Eucharist] but he should never know his wife except from the desire for children. A man takes a wife for the procreation of children, not for the sake of lust. Even the marriage rite mentions this: ‘For the procreation of children,’ it says. Notice that it does not say for the sake of lust, but ‘for the procreation of children.’

“… So, too, we read in the Old Testament that, when the Jewish people were about to approach Mount Sinai, it was said to them in the Lord’s teaching: ‘Be sanctified, and be ready against the third day, and come not near your wives,’ [Exodus 19:15] and: ‘if any man be defiled in a dream by night, let him not eat of the flesh of the sacrifice of salvation, lest his soul be cut off from his people.’ [Deut. 23:10; Lev. 7:20] If after defilement which happens to us even unwillingly we may not communicate [receive the Eucharist] unless compunction and almsgiving come first, and fasting, too, if infirmity does not prevent it, who can say that there is no sin if we do such things intentionally when we are wide awake?

“… Since no man wants to come to church with his tunic covered with dirt, I do not know with what kind of a conscience he dares to approach the altar with his soul defiled by dissipation. Evidently, he does not fear what the Apostle said: ‘Whoever partakes of the Body and Blood of the Lord unworthily will be guilty of the Body and the Blood of the Lord.’ [1 Cor. 11:27] If we blush and fear to touch the Eucharist with dirty hands, we should fear much more to receive the same Eucharist within a polluted soul. As I mentioned, we have been created in our soul according to God’s image. Now, if you put your image on a tablet of wood or stone, and someone impudently wanted to shatter that image with stones or to stain it with dirt, I wonder whether you would not take up arms against him, I ask you, if you are so jealous of your image that was painted on a lifeless tablet, what kind of an injury do you suppose God suffers when His living image in us is defiled by dissipation? Therefore, if we do not restrain ourselves for our own sake, let us do so for the sake of God’s image according to which we have been made.

“Above all, no one should know his wife when Sunday or other feasts come around. Similar precautions should be taken as often as women menstruate, for the Prophet says: ‘Do not come near to a menstruous woman.’ [Ezech. 18:6] If a man is aware that his wife is in this condition but refuses to control himself on a Sunday or feast, the children who are then conceived will be born as lepers, or epileptics, or perhaps even demoniacs [that is, he means that it is common that this happens for such unrestrained and lustful spouses]. Lepers are commonly born, not of wise men who observe chastity on feasts and other days, but especially of farmers who do not know how to control themselves. Truly, brethren, if animals without intellect do not touch each other except at a fixed and proper time, how much more should men who have been created according to God’s image observe this? What is worse, there are some dissolute or drunken men who sometimes do not even spare their wives when they are pregnant. Therefore, if they do not amend their lives, we are to consider them worse than animals. Such men the Apostle addresses when he says: ‘Every one of you learn how to possess his vessel in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who have no hope.’ [1 Thess. 4:4,5] Because what is worse, many do not observe proper chastity with their own wives, they should give abundant alms, as I said above, and forgive all their enemies. Thus, as we mentioned, what has become defiled by dissipation may be cleansed by constant alms giving.” (St. Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 44)

Now, then, when exactly must one start to observe chastity and purity if one wants to receive the Eucharist in accordance to the ordinances of the Church? The Bible is clear on this point in The First Book of Kings: “And the priest answered David, saying: ‘I have no common bread at hand, but only holy bread, if the young men be clean, especially from women?’ And David answered the priest, and said to him: ‘Truly, as to what concerneth women, we have refrained ourselves from yesterday and the day before [that is, three days in total when adding the same day he received the bread], when we came out, and the vessels of the young men were holy. Now this way is defiled, but it shall also be sanctified this [third] day in the vessels.’” (1 Kings 21:3-5) This biblical text shows us that spouses must be chaste on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, if they are to receive the Most Holy Eucharist on a Sunday. This means that they must be chaste for two whole days before the reception of the Eucharist, as well as completely chaste on the whole day they also received the Holy Eucharist.

Likewise, the reception of the Word of God and the Ten Commandments by the people of Israel in The Book of Exodus after three days of chastity signifies that there is a necessity for all to be chaste for three days in order to receive the Word of God (Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself) made flesh in the Sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist, which is the true manna from Heaven “come down in the sight of all the people” according to Holy Scripture. “And he [God] said to him [Moses]: Go to the people, and sanctify them today, and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments. And let them be ready against the third day: for on the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai. … And Moses came down from the mount to the people, and sanctified them. And when they had washed their garments, He said to them: Be ready against the third day, and come not near your wives.” Thus, as is the case with many types and figures of the Old Law that was fulfilled in the New Law, just like in the Old Law, where the “holy bread” that prefigured the Eucharist was only allowed to be received if the young men be clean, especially from women” so too the Holy Eucharist may never be received without abstaining three days from the marital sexual act, since “The dignity of so great a Sacrament [of the Eucharist] also demands that married persons abstain from the marriage debt for some days previous to Communion”. (The Catechism of the Council of Trent)

Holy Scripture again mirrors this teaching in The Book of Exodus and The Book of First Kings and confirms the practice of observing chastity for three days by teaching in The Book of Tobias that one should not consummate the marriage immediately after one has been married, but that one should wait for three days while praying earnestly to God to bless their marriage, “because for these three nights we are joined to God: and when the third night is over, we will be in our own wedlock.” (Tobias 8:4) The Holy Archangel Raphael, acting as God’s messenger, instructs husbands and wives to always wait three days in prayer before consummating the marriage.“But thou when thou shalt take her, go into the chamber, and for three days keep thyself continent from her, and give thyself to nothing else but to prayers with her.” (Tobias 6:18)

These words shows us that spouses must remember their bond with the Lord first and foremost and that the fleshly or physical part of the marriage must always come secondhand. By this highly virtuous act of abstaining from marital relations for three days, the devil’s power over married couples is undoubtedly thwarted and diminished. Holy Scripture thus advices spouses to be “joined to God” for three days in prayer before performing the marital act. Not only that, but spouses should always fervently pray to God before every marital act and ask Him to protect them from falling into sin, and also after the marital act in order to ask Our Lord to forgive them if they committed any sin during the act. This is the safe road of the fear of God that every righteous man or woman should follow if they wish to enter Heaven.

Tobias 6:18, 20-22 “[St. Raphael said to Tobias:] But thou when thou shalt take her, go into the chamber, and for three days keep thyself continent from her, and give thyself to nothing else but to prayers with her.… But the second night thou shalt be admitted into the society of the holy Patriarchs. And the third night thou shalt obtain a blessing that sound children may be born of you. And when the third night is past, thou shalt take the virgin with the fear of the Lord, moved rather for love of children than for lust, that in the seed of Abraham thou mayst obtain a blessing in children.”

It is sad to see that none today seem to care anything about these promises or virtuous deeds that promise these remarkable and wondrous graces that Our Lord said He would bless a virtuous couple with. One could think that even a worldly or ungodly couple would appreciate the grace of not receiving a child that is deformed and that they, if they believed in God or were aware of these promises, would act in accordance to the words of the Holy Scripture; but now neither “Catholics” or so-called Christians nor any people of the world care anything about these words of our Lord that promises the inestimable grace of receiving “a blessing that sound children may be born of you.”

Tobias 8:4-10 “Then Tobias exhorted the virgin, and said to her: Sara, arise, and let us pray to God today, and tomorrow, and the next day: because for these three nights we are joined to God: and when the third night is over, we will be in our own wedlock. For we are the children of saints, and we must not be joined together like heathens that know not God. So they both arose, and prayed earnestly both together that health might be given them, And Tobias said: Lord God of our father, may the heavens and the earth, and the sea, and the fountains, and the rivers, and all thy creatures that are in them, bless thee. Thou made Adam of the slime of the earth, and gave him Eve for a helper. And now, Lord, thou know that not for fleshly lust do I take my sister to wife, but only for the love of posterity, in which thy name may be blessed for ever and ever. Sara also said: Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us, and let us grow old both together in health.”

These three days also correspond perfectly to Our Lord’s suffering, death and resurrection, which is the mold that all Christians must conform to and form themselves after if they want to be saved. “Know you not that all we, who are baptized in Christ Jesus, are baptized in his death? For we are buried together with him by baptism into death; that as Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin may be destroyed, to the end that we may serve sin no longer. For he that is dead is justified from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall live also together with Christ: Knowing that Christ rising again from the dead, dieth now no more, death shall no more have dominion over him. For in that he died to sin, he died once; but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God: So do you also reckon, that you are dead to sin, but alive unto God, in Christ Jesus our Lord. Let no sin therefore reign in your mortal body, so as to obey the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of iniquity unto sin; but present yourselves to God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of justice unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you; for you are not under the law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are whom you obey, whether it be of sin unto death, or of obedience unto justice. But thanks be to God, that you were the servants of sin, but have obeyed from the heart, unto that form of doctrine, into which you have been delivered.” (Romans 6:3-17) Douay Rheims Bible Commentary explains the verses in Romans 6:6 in this way: “Our old man: Our corrupt state, subject to sin and concupiscence, coming to us from Adam, is called our old man, as our state, reformed in and by Christ, is called the new man. --- Body of sin: The vices and sins, which then ruled in us, are named the body of sin.”

In truth, if we are dead to the world, we shall live forever with Christ. Therefore, every time we will receive the Holy Eucharist, we must be chaste for two days before we receive it, as well as on the day we receive it. For example, if we want to also receive it on a Friday apart from the normal time on the Sunday, we must be chaste on the days of Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Then, if we also decide to receive it on the Sunday, we must continue to be chaste on Saturday and Sunday. Those, however, who choose to perform the marital act on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, are obliged to abstain from the Eucharist that Sunday so that the next week, they may receive it in a state of perfect purity.

It must be said, however, that no one that is married should perform the marital act on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, since these days signify Our Lord’s suffering, death, and resurrection which is what we all must conform to if we wish to be saved, by putting to death our old sinful, fleshly and sensual nature and man, and by being resurrected in Christ, rising to heaven in purity and chastity as a new spiritual man that has been freed from our former Body of sin: “Therefore, if you be risen with Christ, seek the things that are above; where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God: Mind the things that are above, not the things that are upon the earth. For you are dead; and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ shall appear, who is your life, then you also shall appear with him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, lust, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is the service of idols.” (Colossians 3:1-5)

The virtue of Chastity helps people become victorious in battles or war according to the Holy Bible

The Jews of the Old Testament time understood how the practice of chastity would benefit them both spiritually and physically and that is also why the common practice of many of the Jews who entered into military life (as we saw in the case of King David and his men) were to remain chaste and sanctify their life in order to receive the grace of God to become victorious in battle. This virtuous and great example of chastity that David and his men in the Old Testament time practiced in wartime and as soldiers, is found in The First Book of Kings (also called First Samuel) where the future King David, being on the run from King Saul, asks the priest Achimelech for some food to alleviate his and his friends’ hunger.

1 Kings 21:2-5: “And David said to Achimelech the priest: ‘…Now therefore if thou have any thing at hand, though it were but five loaves, give me, or whatsoever thou canst find.’ And the priest answered David, saying: ‘I have no common bread at hand, but only holy bread, if the young men be clean, especially from women?’ And David answered the priest, and said to him: ‘Truly, as to what concerneth women, we have refrained ourselves from yesterday and the day before, when we came out, and the vessels of the young men were holy. Now this way is defiled, but it shall also be sanctified this day in the vessels.’”

Indeed, God Himself directly commanded the Jews to always be pure and chaste when they were to engage in a war or a battle: “When thou goest out to war against thy enemies, thou shalt keep thyself from every evil thing. If there be among you any man, that is defiled in a dream by night, he shall go forth out of the camp. And shall not return, before he be washed with water in the evening: and after sunset he shall return into the camp.” (Deuteronomy 23:9-11)

The wonderful example of purity and chastity in the Old Testament of the soldier Urias the Hethite, whose name means “my light is Yahweh” or “flame of God”, also shows us that the practice of being totally chaste even from one’s own wife, was a necessity for all men in the army. After King David had unlawfully impregnated Urias’ wife by an act of fornication or adultery, David tried to get Urias to sleep with his own wife since David himself had illicitly made her with child. However, Urias refused to indulge in the sensual pleasures of the flesh, showing us very clearly by his answer to David that it was common knowledge of the necessity for the army to practice absolute chastity, and that his act of abstaining from sex was an act that effected other people too, since he says that his chastity is connected to “thy welfare and by the welfare of thy soul”: “And Urias said to David: The ark of God and Israel and Juda dwell in tents, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord abide upon the face of the earth: and shall I go into my house, to eat and to drink, and to sleep with my wife? By thy welfare and by the welfare of thy soul I will not do this thing.” (2 Kings 11:11 or 2 Samuel 11:11)

When one remembers that God commanded the Jews to always practice chastity in both war and peace time, it is not hard to understand why in the cases when they lost their wars, their lack of chastity was a main reason (if not the greatest reason) why they lost their battles and their independence.

The Christian Crusaders also practiced chastity like the Jews and did penance in order to become victorious in battles against the heathen. Many times God also revealed through supernatural revelations to the Christian combatants just like He did to the Jews that unless they were virtuous and pure, they would lose future battles. The order of the Knights Templar was one of these virtuous orders who solemnly took vows of chastity and perfect purity, constantly waring against the Devil, the flesh and the world on one side, and the Heretic, Saracen, Muslim or Infidel on the other. They were a kind of warrior monk; a new breed indeed in the Christian world; and because of their spectacular purity, a small number of the Crusaders could miraculously defeat a multitude of infidels, who were much more numerous and stronger than they were themselves. These pure servants of Christ also wore a white dress which signified their inner purity. In The History of the Knights Templar, by Charles G. Addison, we read the following words concerning this: “To all the professed knights, both in winter and summer, we give, if they can be procured, white garments, that those who have cast behind them a dark life may know that they are to commend themselves to their Creator by a pure and white life. For what is whiteness but perfect chastity, and chastity is the security of the soul and the health of the body. And unless every knight shall continue chaste, he shall not come to perpetual rest, nor see God, as the apostle Paul witnesseth: Follow after peace with all men, and chastity, without which no man shall see God...”

As we have already seen from the example of the Holy Scripture, God commanded those who are engaged in war to always remain chaste during their war in order to become victorious. The Book of Judith in the Holy Bible is another great example of how the Jewish people was saved from death and triumphed over their enemies through the holy fear, virtue and chastity of a holy woman named Judith.

The book describes how Judith and the Jewish people was being occupied by a heathen army and that all seemed as though they were going to either starve to death or be butchered by the enemy army. God, however, had other plans and choose a virtuous and chaste woman to single-handedly save the Jewish people from certain death.

Judith 15:11 “For thou [Judith] hast done manfully, and thy heart has been strengthened, because thou hast loved chastity, and after thy husband hast not known any other: therefore also the hand of the Lord hath strengthened thee, and therefore thou shalt be blessed for ever.”

Judith 16:26 “And chastity was joined to her virtue, so that she knew no man all the days of her life, after the death of Manasses her husband.”

As we can see from these verses, the love and practice of the virtue of chastity is not a vain or useless practice, but it is in fact a virtue so dearly loved by God that He showers humanity with countless of graces and helps of different sorts because of it.

Our Lord also teaches us in the New Testament Holy Scripture that a widow will become more blessed if she do not remarry, just like in the case of the holy widow Judith who stayed unmarried after the death of her husband. “But more blessed shall she be, if she so remain, [that is, a widow] according to my counsel; and I think that I also have the spirit of God.” (1 Cor. 7:40) This passage clearly shows us that God desires both men and women to stay chaste and unmarried after their spouse have died, and that the virtuous and chaste life of all who stay chaste are “more blessed” and beloved by God when compared to those who remarry and have children for the love of God. In truth, God is infinitely more honored by those souls who, for His sake, offers up their purity and chastity as a holocaust to Him, since the marital life is more sensual with many cares and worries that draws us away from God and perfection.

The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary and her Chastity and Purity is undoubtedly a direct proof that God loves the chaste and pure with a special love, since God has never loved nor will ever love anyone (whether angel or saint) more than Her. In The Revelations of St. Bridget, Our Lord explicitly revealed this truth about Our Lady in the following words, “The angels and other saints bear witness that your love for me was more ardent and your chastity more pure than that of any other, and that it was more pleasing to me than all else. Your head was like gleaming gold and your hair like sunbeams, because your most pure virginity, which is like the head of all your virtues, as well as your control over every illicit desire pleased me and shone in my sight with all humility. You are rightly called the crowned queen over all creation - “queen” for the sake of your purity, “crowned” for your excellent worth.” (The Revelations of Saint Bridget, Book 5, Revelation 4)

In truth, the love and practice of the virtue of chastity draws down many great blessings on mankind, and victory in war is just one of them, as we have just seen. Too few today, however, are able to see or appreciate the great worth of this angelic virtue.

The Book of Wisdom teaches that chastity is very beneficial for salvation

The Book of Wisdom clearly describes the difference that the Holy Scripture makes between virtuous and chaste people on the one hand, and carnal, sensual and worldly people on the other. The memory of the chaste generation is indeed immortal and “it triumpheth crowned for ever, winning the reward of undefiled conflicts.”

Wisdom 4:1-5 “O how beautiful is the chaste generation with glory: for the memory thereof is immortal: because it is known both with God and with men. When it is present, they imitate it: and they desire it when it hath withdrawn itself, and it triumpheth crowned for ever, winning the reward of undefiled conflicts [in the cause of continence]. But the multiplied brood of the wicked shall not thrive, and bastard slips shall not take deep root, nor any fast foundation. And if they flourish in branches for a time, yet standing not fast, they shall be shaken with the wind, and through the force of winds they shall be rooted out. For the branches not being perfect, shall be broken, and their fruits shall be unprofitable, and sour to eat, and fit for nothing.”

Haydock Commentary adds the following words about verse 1:Glory. The offspring of the chaste is happy, (Calmet) and honorable: (Haydock) very different from that of adulterers. (Calmet) --- Bodily chastity is a great virtue. (Worthington)”

The Book of Tobias teaches spouses to practice chastity

Another great story of virtue and chastity found in the Old Testament Scripture is the story of the holy youth Tobias in The Book of Tobias or Tobit. Not surprisingly, this book is sadly missing from most protestant “bible” versions. Sad to say, being controlled by the devil and impurity, it is not hard to understand why the devil was allowed to fool the protestants to reject this biblical book since they are such fierce enemies of all sexual purity and morality.

The Book of Tobias describes how the holy youth Tobias was commanded by almighty God through the Archangel Raphael to never perform the marital act for the sake of lust and that he shall be “moved rather for love of children than for lust, that in the seed of Abraham” he “mayest obtain a blessing in children”. Tobias, who was a holy, chaste and virtuous person of course consented to this admonishment by the Holy Angel Raphael and answered God in his prayer, saying to Him that: “not for fleshly lust do I take my sister to wife, but only for the love of posterity [children], in which thy name may be blessed for ever and ever”, thus showing us a great and edifying example of marital purity, and the necessity for all to perform the marital act for the sole purpose of procreation of children and the love of God, if they want to perfectly please Our Lord rather than their own fleshly lusts and desires.

Tobias 6:22; 8:9 “And when the third night is past, [after praying to God for three days in chastity] thou shalt take the virgin with the fear of the Lord, moved rather for love of children than for lust, that in the seed of Abraham thou mayest obtain a blessing in children… [Tobias said:] And now, Lord, thou knowest, that not for fleshly lust do I take my sister to wife, but only for the love of posterity, in which thy name may be blessed for ever and ever.”

Tobias 6:16-17 “Then the angel Raphael said to him [Tobias]: Hear me, and I will show thee who they are, over whom the devil can prevail. For they who in such manner receive matrimony, as to shut out God from themselves, and from their mind, and to give themselves to their lust, as the horse and mule, which have not understanding, over them the devil hath power.”

The holy youth Tobias approached his bride Sara after three days of prayer and chastity, not for fleshly lust but only for the love of posterity, having been instructed by the Archangel Raphael that to engage in the marital act he shall “be moved rather for love of children than for lust so that in the seed of Abraham thou mayest obtain a blessing in children”. Our Lord’s words about “the seed of Abraham” refers to those who are going to be saved from Hell by Christ’s redemptive blood since God solemnly revealed in the New Testament Scripture that “if you be Christ’s, then are you the seed of Abraham, heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:29) The “blessing in children” obviously refers to an abundant blessing of offspring blessed by God for those who perform the marital act for the sole motive of procreation rather than the satisfaction of their sexual lust.

The practice of observing chastity for three days after one gets married as the Holy Bible and the Church have always told us to follow, is something that God’s Holy Word considers to be vitally important, and that is why every couple should follow this biblical advice of praying together or individually in chastity, purity and holiness for three days before consummating their marriage. In truth, after they have consummated their marriage, they should also continue this practice of prayer for three days before they perform every marital act since Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself commanded “that we ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1). Our Lord’s words in the Bible are not to be followed only once, but should be practiced every day even until death in order to increase grace and virtuous living.

Our Lord spoke to Tobias through the Archangel Raphael, saying: “But thou [Tobias] when thou shalt take her, go into the chamber, and for three days keep thyself continent from her, and give thyself to nothing else but to prayers with her. … But the second night thou shalt be admitted into the society of the holy Patriarchs. And the third night thou shalt obtain a blessing that sound children may be born of you. And when the third night is past, thou shalt take the virgin with the fear of the Lord, moved rather for love of children than for lust, that in the seed of Abraham thou mayst obtain a blessing in children.” (Tobias 6:18, 20-22)

Notice how Our Lord and God in the biblical Book of Tobias clearly promises that all those who pray and abstain from the marital act for three days before having marital relations shall receive the inestimable graces of receiving “sound children” on the third night and that they shall be admitted “into the society of the holy Patriarchs” on the second. The honor of being “admitted into the society of the holy Patriarchs” is of course too great to even describe in human terms since the Holy Patriarchs were the most beloved friends of God because of their purity. The blessing on the third night of “sound children may be born of you” obviously means that those couples who do not perform the marital act for the sake of lust or too often and who are virtuous and wait for three days in accordance with the promise of Holy Scripture, will give birth to a child without birth deformities or defects. This may be hard for many to believe, but this is really and truly what Holy Scripture is promising and saying.

This is not to say, however, that personal sins of the parents are the only reasons why children are born with defects or deformities. There are also other causes for a child’s defects described in The Gospel of John, where the apostles asks Our Lord the reason why a man was born blind: “And Jesus passing by, saw a man, who was blind from his birth: And his disciples asked him: Rabbi, who hath sinned, this man, or his parents, that he should be born blind? Jesus answered: Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” (John 9:1-3)

Our Lord also tells us in The Revelations of St. Bridget that sin and the disorder of nature produce the defects that we all have to endure: “I am the Creator of all things, and all things are foreknown to me. I know and see all that has been and all that will be. But, although I know and can do all things, still, for reasons of justice, I no more interfere with the natural constitution of the body than I do with the inclination of the soul. Each human being continues in existence according to the natural constitution of the body such as it is and was from all eternity in my foreknowledge. The fact that one person has a longer life and another a shorter has to do with natural strength or weakness and is related to a person’s physical constitution. It is not due to my foreknowledge that one person loses his sight or another becomes lame or something like that, since my foreknowledge of all things is such that no one is the worse for it, nor is it harmful to anyone. Moreover, these things do not occur because of the course and position of the heavenly elements, but due to some hidden principle of justice in the constitution and conservation of nature. For sin and natural disorder bring about the deformity of the body in many ways. This does not happen because I will it directly, but because I permit it to happen for the sake of justice. Even though I can do all things, still I do not obstruct justice. Accordingly, the length or brevity of a person’s life is related to the weakness or strength of his physical constitution such as it was in my foreknowledge that no one can contravene.” (The Revelations of St. Bridget, Book 2, Chapter 1)

It is indeed very sad to see that no one today, whether married or unmarried seem to care anything about these promises and wonderful, virtuous deeds of chastity and purity in Holy Scripture and that so few people actually try to practice any of these virtuous deeds we have just seen and read about, that will produce these remarkable and wondrous graces from Our Lord and which He promised He would bless a virtuous couple and their offspring with. One would think that even a worldly or ungodly couple would appreciate the grace of receiving a child that is sound and without deformity and that they—if they believed in God or were aware of these promises—would act in accordance to the words of the Holy Scripture; but now neither “Catholics” or so-called Christians nor anyone else of the world seem to care anything about these words of our Lord that promises the inestimable grace and blessing of receiving a sound child free from all birth deformities or defects, and the honor of being admitted “into the society of the holy Patriarchs”.

The words in the Book of Tobit also shows us that spouses must remember their bond with the Lord first and foremost and that the fleshly or physical part of the marriage must always come secondhand. In truth, “married women who have observed mutual fidelity and have neither known anything outside of themselves not even themselves except the desire for children, if they continually give alms and observe God’s precepts as well as they can, will merit happily to be associated with holy Job, Sara, and Susanna, along with the Patriarchs and Prophets.” (St. Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 6:7, 6th century)

By practicing this highly and virtuous act of abstaining from marital relations for three days, the devil’s might and power over married couples is undoubtedly thwarted and diminished. Holy Scripture thus advice spouses to be “joined to God” for three days in prayer before performing the marital act. Not only that, but spouses should always fervently pray to God before every marital act in the future and ask Him to protect them from falling into sin, and also after the marital act in order to ask Our Lord to forgive them if they committed any sin during the act of marriage. This is the safe road of the fear of God that every righteous man or woman should follow if they wish to enter Heaven.

St. Augustine, On Marriage and Concupiscence, A.D. 419: “Whosoever possesses his vessel (that is, his wife) with this intention of heart, [that is, for the procreation of children] certainly does not possess her in the "disease of desire," as the Gentiles which know not God, but in sanctification and honor, as believers who hope in God. A man turns to use the evil of concupiscence, and is not overcome by it, when he bridles and restrains its rage, as it works in inordinate and indecorous motions; and never relaxes his hold upon it except when intent on offspring, and then controls and applies it to the carnal generation of children to be spiritually regenerated, not to the subjection of the spirit to the flesh in a sordid servitude. That the holy fathers of olden times after Abraham, and before him, to whom God gave His testimony that "they pleased Him," thus used their wives, no one who is a Christian ought to doubt, since it was permitted to certain individuals among them to have a plurality of wives, where the reason was for the multiplication of their offspring, not the desire of varying gratification.” (Book 1, Chapter 9 - This Disease of Concupiscence in Marriage is Not to Be a Matter of Will, But of Necessity [for the Procreation of Children])

God’s Holy Word is clear. Spouses are to engage in the marital act moved rather for love of children than for lust. They are also to practice chastity from time to time (Ecclesiastes 3:5; 1 Corinthians 7:5).

By the grace of God, let us not live like pagans or heathens anymore who only searches for ways to please their flesh and the world and others, but let us rather strive to please God our heavenly Father and our spiritual nature; and that is also why we all, (whether married or unmarried) who have resurrected with Christ from the dead, and from our old sinful nature, must leave every form of carnality and impurity behind, instead look up and embrace Our Lord in the purity of the heart and of the body, longing for what is above, and for high and spiritual things. “This then I say and testify in the Lord: That henceforward you walk not as also the Gentiles walk in the vanity of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their hearts. Who despairing, have given themselves up to lasciviousness, unto the working of all uncleanness, unto covetousness. But you have not so learned Christ.” (Ephesians 4:17-20)

Contrary to the world today, Saint Augustine, writing On the Good of Widowhood in about A.D. 414, describes the pure mindset of the Holy Jews and Patriarchs during the Old Testament era, telling us how they would willingly have chosen a life of perpetual chastity rather than the marital life had it been known to them that children could be had in another way than through sexual intercourse: “Forsooth different in the times of the Prophets was the dispensation of holy females, whom obedience, not lust, forced to marry, for the propagation of the people of God, that in them Prophets of Christ might be sent beforehand; whereas the People itself also, by those things which in figure happened among them, whether in the case of those who knew, or in the case of those who knew not those things, was nothing else than a Prophet of Christ, of whom should be born the Flesh also of Christ... Whence also holy women were kindled, not by lust of sensual intercourse, but by piety of bearing; so that we most rightly believe of them that they would not have sought sensual intercourse, in case a family could have come by any other means. And to the husbands was allowed the use of several wives living; and that the cause of this was not lust of the flesh, but forethought of begetting, is shown by the fact, that, as it was lawful for holy men to have several wives living, it was not likewise lawful for holy women to have intercourse with several husbands living; in that they would be by so much the baser, by how much the more they sought what would not add to their fruitfulness.” (St. Augustine, On the Good of Widowhood, Section 10)

The Book of Leviticus commands spouses to practice chastity during the woman’s menstruation and infertile period under pain of death, thus showing us that God wants married persons to practice chastity during this time period

The way to perfection regarding the marital act is that spouses only perform the act with the sole intention and hope of conceiving children. That means spouses are to be chaste during the monthly infertile period of the woman and when she is pregnant.

We read in the Old Testament that God had forbidden even the married to perform the marital act during the infertile monthly cycle of the woman: “The woman, who at the return of the month, hath her issue of blood, shall be separated seven days.” (Leviticus 15:19) Haydock Commentary explains: “Days, not only out of the camp, but from the company of men.” As soon as a woman showed signs of infertility (menstruation), intercourse would cease until the cessation of the flow of blood and she became fertile again: “Thou shalt not approach to a woman having her flowers: neither shalt thou uncover her nakedness.” (Leviticus 18:19) Haydock Commentary adds: “Saint Augustine believes that this law is still in force. [On Lev. 20:18] This intemperance was by a positive law declared a mortal offense of the Jews.” This clearly shows us that God does not want spouses to perform the marital act during this time.

To abstain from sexual intercourse during a woman’s menstrual period or pregnancy and subsequent restricted days has all but been ignored by most of today’s people. Observing the period of restriction for sexual activity not only diminishes sexual sins and temptations, but it also places a woman into her fertile period when it is most beneficial for conception to occur. This helps to fulfill the initial command of God to “be fruitful and multiply,” a command that is clearly not being observed by many people today. God Thus, the wise commandment of God for the women and the men to not have any communication with each other during this time of separation.

A woman’s menstrual cycle is about 28 days long, and the menstrual phase is about 5 days. Adding 7 days after the menstrual phase in accordance with God’s word in the Bible would mean that men and women should remain chaste for at least 12 days out of every 28 days during the woman’s natural menstrual cycle.

Good husbands and wives do not have sexual relations whenever their unbridled lust desires it, but only at times prescribed for this purpose and when it is necessary. The guide of good and pious husbands and wives are thus their conscience and reason instead of their selfish, unbridled lust. “All things have their season, and in their times all things pass under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted. A time to kill, and a time to heal. A time to destroy, and a time to build. A time to weep, and a time to laugh. A time to mourn, and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather. A time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-5)

The phrase “A time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces” refers to the marital act. Haydock Commentary explains: “Ver. 5. Embraces. Continence was sometimes prescribed to married people, Leviticus xx. 18., and 1 Corinthians vii. (St. Jerome) (St. Augustine, Enchiridion 78.) (Calmet).” This shows us that the marital act must sometimes be abstained from altogether and not engaged in everyday as the evil and immoral world teaches. As said already, one of the reasons for abstaining from the marital act is in order to cultivate virtue and chastity. This is important to do from time to time, for people who have sex often are more likely to become enslaved by this pleasure and fall into sexual sin. “The task of the law is to deliver us from a dissolute life and all disorderly ways. Its purpose is to lead us from unrighteousness to righteousness, so that it would have us self-controlled in marriage, in begetting children, and in general behavior.” (St. Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata or Miscellanies, Book III, Chapter VI, Section 46, written about 198-203 A.D.)

People who never try to control their lust and that let their temptations roam freely—indulging in it whenever it pleases them—have allowed their lust to become their “fix” or “high”. People who act in this way have become worshipers of this fleeting fleshly pleasure and have grown attached to it. Such people must be very careful about themselves, for whenever they die and are called before the throne of Our Lord Jesus Christ, their eternal destiny will be decided based on what they loved more in this life: Our Lord and His Love, or themselves and their unbridled, selfish lust. If they loved themselves and their lust more than they loved the Lord, they will not be saved. Only in Hell will many spouses regret that they never thought of controlling their lust or that they never had relations at proper times or at proper seasons. In truth, “there are others who have become absorbed by marriage and fulfill their desires... and, as the prophet says, "have become like beasts" [Ps. 48:13].” (St. Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata or Miscellanies, Book III, Section 67)

If we claim that we are not pagans anymore, but yet act in the same way as them, satisfying our flesh and the world at every turn, how shall we not stand condemned before Our Lord in the frightful day of Judgment? “And you, when you were dead in your offenses, and sins, Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of this air, of the spirit that now worketh on the children of unbelief: In which also we all conversed in time past, in the desires of our flesh, fulfilling the will of the flesh and of our thoughts, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest: But God, (who is rich in mercy,) for his exceeding charity wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together in Christ, (by whose grace you are saved,) And hath raised us up together, and hath made us sit together in the heavenly places, through Christ Jesus. That he might shew in the ages to come the abundant riches of his grace, in his bounty towards us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:1-7)

Legal marital relations in the Bible is described as a cause of impurity

In the book of Leviticus, the infallible Word of God describes how even legal marital relations between husband and wife makes them impure or unclean, thus describing the marital act itself as the cause of impurity, and not as something “holy” or “good,” as many people nowadays have deceived themselves into believing.

Leviticus 15:16-18,24 “The man from whom the seed of copulation goeth out, shall wash all his body with water: and he shall be unclean until the evening. The garment or skin that he weareth, he shall wash with water, and it shall be unclean until the evening. The woman, with whom he copulateth, shall be washed with water, and shall be unclean until the evening. … If a man copulateth with her in the time of her flowers, he shall be unclean seven days: and every bed on which he shall sleep shall be defiled.”

Douay-Rheims Bible Commentary explains Leviticus 15 thus: “These legal uncleannesses were instituted in order to give the people a horror of carnal impurities.”

As we can read from these verses from Holy Scripture, God describes even legal marital relations as a cause of defilement and impurity between husband and wife and ordains that both of them shall be considered as unclean on the day they had marital relations. Leviticus also prohibits the man from seeing his wife during her infertile monthly cycle, thus diminishing the temptations of both parties. “The woman, who at the return of the month, hath her issue of blood, shall be separated seven days.” (Leviticus 15:19)

However, one must not think that the marital act is evil or impure in and of itself from the moral viewpoint when it is performed for the sake of procreation, but rather that after the fall, the human will or intent almost always yields more or less to concupiscence and self-gratification. St. Augustine explain it thus: “I do not say that nuptial union that is, union for the purpose [or motive] of procreating is evil [or sinful], but even say it is good. But…If men were subject to the evil of lust to such an extent that if the honesty of marriage were removed [such as in the case of most men and women today], all of them would have intercourse indiscriminately [by unnatural and excessively lustful sexual acts], in the manner of dogs...” (Against Julian, Book III, Chapter 7:16, A.D. 421)

The main reason why Holy Scripture defines the marital act as a cause of defilement and impurity is because the sexual act is so potent in giving a person lascivious thoughts and desires—by implanting and defiling the mind with countless unholy and ungodly desires. While the marital act performed for the purpose of procreation is a lawful act, the act still defiles the mind by giving it all sorts of lascivious feelings, pictures or thoughts, in addition to making the spouses intoxicated by the drug of sexual pleasure, and this is also the reason why the Holy Bible directs all spouses who have performed the marital act to consider themselves impure, so that they may seek Our Lord’s help in order to conquer their concupiscences, temptations and thoughts that arises as a result of the marital act.

St. Thomas Aquinas confirms this truth of the defects of the marital act after the fall, teaching that “because the reason is carried away entirely on account of the vehemence of the pleasure, so that it is unable to understand anything at the same time, [as in the case of intoxication of drugs]... the marriage act also will always be evil unless it be excused...” (Summa Theologica, Supplement, Q. 49, Art. 1, 5) This is also why St. Paul warns those who are going to marry and perform the marital sexual act that they “shall have tribulation of the flesh”: “But if thou take a wife, thou hast not sinned. And if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned: nevertheless, such shall have tribulation of the flesh.” (1 Corinthians 7:28).

The only couple who performed the marital act without this curse of concupiscence was the parents of Our Blessed Lady at the time they conceived Her, since Our Lord supernaturally protected them from feeling any concupiscence so that they would not be able to transmit the original sin to Our Lady, who would become the Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ. That is why Mary was conceived free from original sin from the first moment of her conception in the womb of her mother. Every child would have been born without original sin if Adam and Eve had not sinned. From this we can understand that it is very important for parents to fight against the search for self-gratification in order to draw down abundant blessings and graces from Heaven to themselves and their children. God's eyes and special grace are always on the pure and good who refuse to indulge in unlawful pleasures inside or outside of marriage, and that is why this topic of chastity is vitally important to teach to all men, as lust in all its forms is the greatest cause of why people in end are damned according to the Saints: “The Lord knoweth the days of undefiled; and their inheritance shall be for ever.” (Psalms 36:18)

CHASTITY IN THE NEW TESTAMENT AND THE NEW LAW

The Holy Bible is clear that chastity is better and more blessed than matrimony, and that “It is good for a man not to touch a woman”, and that married people should abstain from the sexual act from time to time “that you may give yourselves to prayer”

St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians is one of the most clear examples in Scripture of how God places the virtue of virginity, chastity and purity above the marital state. Our Lord Jesus Christ, speaking through the mouth of St. Paul in First Corinthians, is crystal clear that: “It is good for a man not to touch a woman” and that “he that is with a wife, is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife: and he is divided. And the unmarried woman and the virgin thinketh on the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she that is married thinketh on the things of the world, how she may please her husband.”

St. Paul is also clear that every married couple should practice chastity from time to time, in order to give time to prayer: “But for fear of fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render the debt to his wife, and the wife also in like manner to the husband… Defraud not one another, [of the marital debt] except, perhaps, by consent, for a time, that you may give yourselves to prayer; and return together again, lest Satan tempt you for your incontinency.” (1 Cor. 7:2,5)

Haydock Commentary explains First Corinthians 7:2,5: “Verse 2. &c. But because of fornication, let every man have, and live with his own wife, and not leave her, nor dismiss her. Take notice, that St. Paul speaks these words to those that are already married, and speaks not of the unmarried till the 8th verse. He does not then here exhort every one to marry, but admonishes married persons to live together, and not to refuse the marriage duty, which neither the husband nor the wife can do without mutual consent, because of the marriage engagement. Yet he advises them to abstain sometimes from what they may lawfully do, that they may give themselves to prayer, and as it is added in the common Greek copies, to fasting. St. Chrysostom observes, that the words of St. Paul, are not only, that they may pray, (which no day must be omitted) but that they may give themselves to prayer, that is, may be better disposed and prepared for prayer, contemplation, and for receiving the holy Sacrament, as we find the priests even of the ancient law, were to abstain from their wives, when they were employed in the functions of their ministry. But such kind of advice is not relished by all that pretend to be reformers. And return together again....yet I speak this by way of indulgence, of what is allowed to married persons, and not commanded them, unless when one of the married couple is not willing to abstain. (Witham)”

St. Paul could not be more clear in First Corinthians, 7:1, 7-10, of the perfection of chastity and how this pure life is preferable and better than a marital life. He says, “Now concerning the thing whereof you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a womanFor I would that all men were even as myself [that is, chaste]: but every one hath his proper gift from God; one after this manner, and another after that. But I say to the unmarried, and to the widows: It is good for them if they so continue, even as I. But if they do not contain themselves, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to be burnt. But to them that are married, not I but the Lord commandeth, that the wife depart not from her husband.”

Haydock Commentary on the same verses of First Corinthians 7:7-10 quoted above says: “Verse 7-9. I would, or I could wish you all were even as myself, and as it is said in the next verse, to continue unmarried as I do. From hence it is evident, that St. Paul was not then married, who according to the opinion of the ancient fathers, was never married. --- But every one hath his proper gift from God, so that some prudently embrace a single life, and also make a religious vow of always living so, as it has been practiced by a great number both of men and women in all ages, ever since Christ’s time. Others have not this more perfect gift: they find themselves not disposed to lead, or vow a single life, they marry lawfully: it is better to marry than to burn, or be burnt by violent temptations of concupiscence [or to be burnt in Hell], by which they do not contain themselves from disorders of that kind. It is against both the Latin and Greek text to translate, they cannot contain themselves, as in the Protestant [translation]… But let it be observed, that when St. Paul allows of marriage, he speaks not of those who have already made a vow of living always a single life. Vows made to God must be kept. (Psalm lxxv. 12.; Ecclesiastes v. 3.) And St. Paul expressly says of such persons, who have made a vow of perpetual continency, and afterwards marry, that they incur damnation, because they violate their first faith, or vow made to God. See 1 Timothy v. 12. This saying, therefore, it is better to marry than to burn, cannot justify the sacrilegious marriages of priests, or of any others who were under such vows. There are other remedies which they are bound to make use of, and by which they may obtain the gift of continency and chastity. They must ask this gift by fervent prayers to God, who gives a good spirit to them that ask it. (Luke xi. [13.]) They must join fasting, alms, and the practice of self-denials, so often recommended in the gospel. See the annotations on Matthew xix. The like remedies, and no others, must they use, who being already in wedlock, are under such violent temptations, that they are continually in danger of violating, or do violate the chastity of the marriage-bed. For example, when married persons are divorced from bed and board, when long absent from one another, when sick and disabled, when one has an inveterate aversion to the other: they cannot marry another, but they can, and must use other remedies. (Witham) --- If they do not contain [let them marry]. . . God will never refuse the gift of continency. Some translators have corrupted this text, by rendering it, if they cannot contain. (Challoner)”

St. Paul continues in his discourse in First Corinthians 7:25-35, saying: “… Now concerning virgins, I have no commandment of the Lord; but I give counsel, as having obtained mercy of the Lord, to be faithful. I think therefore that this is good for the present necessity, that it is good for a man so to be [that is, to be chaste]. Art thou bound to a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. But if thou take a wife, thou hast not sinned. And if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned: nevertheless, such shall have tribulation of the flesh. But I spare you. This therefore I say, brethren; the time is short; it remaineth, that they also who have wives, be as if they had none; And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as if they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; And they that use this world, as if they used it not: for the fashion of this world passeth away. But I would have you to be without solicitude. He that is without a wife, is solicitous for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please God. But he that is with a wife, is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife: and he is divided. And the unmarried woman and the virgin thinketh on the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she that is married thinketh on the things of the world, how she may please her husband. And this I speak for your profit: not to cast a snare upon you; but for that which is decent, and which may give you power to attend upon the Lord, without impediment.”

Haydock Commentary explains First Corinthians 7:25-35: “Verses 25-28. Now concerning virgins, &c. He turns his discourse again to the unmarried, who (if they have made no vow) may lawfully marry, though he is far from commanding every one to marry, as when he says, seek not a wife. And such shall have tribulation of the flesh, cares, troubles, vexations [and sexual temptations] in the state of marriage, but I spare you, I leave you to your liberty of marrying, or not marrying, and will not discourage you by setting forth the crosses of a married life. (Witham) --- Ver. 30. And they who weep. In this passage the apostle teaches us, in the midst of our greatest afflictions not to suffer ourselves to be overwhelmed with grief, but to recollect that the time of this life is short, and that temporary pains will be recompensed with the never-fading joys of eternity. (Estius) --- Ver. 33. [But he that is with a wife, is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife: and he is divided]. It is far easier to give our whole heart and application without any the least reserve to God, than to divide them without injustice.”

In First Corinthians 7:38-40, Our Lord through St. Paul continues to admonish his chaste servants to adopt the angelic life of chastity and purity, teaching us that the chaste life is better than the marital life: “Therefore, both he that giveth his virgin in marriage, doth well; and he that giveth her not, doth better. A woman is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband die, she is at liberty: let her marry to whom she will; only in the Lord. But more blessed shall she be, if she so remain [in chastity], according to my counsel; and I think that I also have the spirit of God.”

Haydock Commentary explains First Corinthians 7:38-40: “Verse 38. &c. He that giveth her not, doth better. And more blessed shall she be, if she so remains, according to my counsel. It is very strange if any one, who reads this chapter without prejudices, does not clearly see, that St. Paul advises, and prefers the state of virginity to that of a married life. --- I think that I also have the spirit of God. He puts them in mind, by this modest way of speaking, of what they cannot doubt of, as to so great an apostle. (Witham)”

In truth, the level of dishonesty that a Protestant or a heretic must sink to in order to deny that Holy Scripture places chastity or virginity above the marital life is simply said satanic and inexcusable. It cannot be doubted that they must have had their conscience thoroughly seared by a hot iron of Satan in order to be able to pervert such clear and unambiguous words of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

God could not be clearer than when He said that “It is good for a man not to touch a woman” (1 Corinthians 7:1), thus directly contradicting the heretical viewpoint that marriage is the same as the chaste life; showing us very clearly that the marital life is below the chaste and pure life of the angels and saints in Heaven that those virtuous men and women imitates. And if still someone could misunderstand Our Lord’s words, St. Paul adds that he wishes “that all men were even as myself” that is, chaste (1 Corinthians 7:7) and He further teaches both the unmarried and widowed to continue to live a single and chaste life, saying: “But I say to the unmarried, and to the widows: It is good for them if they so continue, [that is, it is good for them to continue to live a single and chaste life] even as I.” (1 Corinthians 7:8) And if that was not clear enough, Our Lord Jesus Christ through St. Paul continues to urge all unmarried to stay chaste and pure as they are, saying that, “I think therefore that this is good for the present necessity, that it is good for a man so to be [that is, chaste]. Art thou bound to a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.” (1 Corinthians 7:26-27)

In addition, St. Paul also teaches in Holy Scripture that a widow will become “more blessed” if she do not remarry and stay continent: “But more blessed shall she be, if she so remain, [that is, a widow] according to my counsel; and I think that I also have the spirit of God.” (1 Corinthians 7:40) If one becomes “more blessed” by not marrying, then it obviously means that one becomes less blessed by embracing the marital life. St. Ephrem the Syrian writes, “Chastity’s wings are greater and lighter than the wings of marriage. Intercourse… is lower. Its house of refuge is modest darkness. Confidence belongs entirely to chastity, which light enfolds.” (Hymn 28, On the Nativity)

St. Paul also warns those who would marry as opposed to those who would remain virgins that spouses “shall have tribulation of the flesh”: “But if thou take a wife, thou hast not sinned. And if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned: nevertheless, such shall have tribulation of the flesh. But I spare you.” (1 Corinthians 7:28). It is certain that St. Paul does not refer to the desire to procreate as a tribulation of the flesh. Consequently, he can be referring only to one thing—sexual pleasure. Indeed, sexual pleasure is a tribulation of the flesh that must hence be fought against in thought and deed in some way or the Devil will succeed in tempting a spouse to fall into mortal sins of impurity either with their spouse, with himself or with someone other than his spouse.

The reason why St. Paul specifically warns those who choose to get married of the dangers inherent in the marital life is because those people who choose not to get married, by choosing to remain in the angelic state of chastity, will not get sexually tempted to commit sin in the same way or in the same measure as the married man or woman will, either with their spouse, their self, or some other person, since the sexual pleasure that has never been indulged in, will always remain more of an abstract or theoretical pleasure for those who remain chaste and unmarried, and thus, will always be easier to control for them. Indeed, since the temptation to indulge the flesh and the sensuality is not physically present tempting them all the time, as in the case of those who are married and who can perform the marital act every day with their spouse, their sensual temptations are also much smaller than the others who indulge their flesh more often.

When St. Paul mentions “that they also who have wives, be as if they had none” (1 Corinthians 7:29), he is speaking about how spouses must not place the carnal love they have for each other above their love for Our Lord. St. Paul’s words are clear: The spouses must act as though they were not married (within due limits of course) since the married man “is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife: and he is divided.” (1 Corinthians 7:33). This division of the married man and woman makes it a great necessity that even married people consider themselves in their own thought processes as though they are unmarried and chaste, although their external and physical marital duties hinders them from pursuing this endeavor to the fullest. As St. Paul says: “it remaineth, that they also who have wives, be as if they had none”.

St. Paul also explains how married men and women thinks more on the world and of carnal things, while the chaste and pure people thinks more on the things of the Lord, of Heaven, and of spiritual things. Again, the Holy Bible is clear that: “He that is without a wife, is solicitous for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please God. But he that is with a wife, is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife: and he is divided. And the unmarried woman and the virgin thinketh on the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she that is married thinketh on the things of the world, how she may please her husband.” (1 Corinthians 7:32-34)

And so, it is perfectly clear that the Holy Scripture infallibly and unambiguously teaches that marriage and the marital life is an impediment to the spiritual life, while the life of chastity and purity “give you power to attend upon the Lord, without impediment” (1 Cor. 7:35). Thus, “if a man wishes to be uninstructed, and prefers to avoid begetting children because of the business it involves, "let him remain unmarried," says the apostle, "even as I am." [1 Cor. 7:8]” (St. Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata or Miscellanies, Book III, Chapter X, Section 68)

It is also remarkable and noteworthy that St. Paul calls those who are married “bondmen”, which means “slaves” or “serfs”, thus indicating the inherent spiritual danger and enslavement of worldly, fleshly and sensual cares, troubles and worries that constantly will plague all those who choose to enter into the married state. “Wast thou called, being a bondman? care not for it; but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. For he that is called in the Lord, being a bondman, is the freeman of the Lord. Likewise he that is called, being free, is the bondman of Christ. You are bought with a price; be not made the bondslaves of men.” (1 Cor. 7:21-23) In truth, those who are called to a higher and more pure life and who wish to save their souls should meditate often on these words of St. Paul in order to discern the height and greater security from sin that the chaste and unmarried life offers when compared to the marital life.

“As the slave is in the power of his master, so is one spouse in the power of the other (1 Corinthians 7:4). But a slave is bound by an obligation of precept to pay his master the debt of his service according to Romans 13:7, "Render . . . to all men their dues, tribute to whom tribute is due," etc.” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Supplement, Q. 64, Art. 1)

All those who choose to get married are in truth slaves and enchained by the marriage bond, and what is worse—if they have a weak will—enslaved and bound with the cruel fetters of an addiction to the sexual pleasure that is very hard to get free from! Indeed, married people do not even have the power to command over their own body and remain in chastity against the other spouse’s will, but must give the marital debt to the other spouse whenever he or she asks for it (the only exception being in the case of sickness or other lawful necessities) while also having to fulfill all other duties of the marital life that constantly disturbs and distracts us from our spiritual life, and the thought of God. This is the exact reason why “The same Paul also in the same chapter, when discussing the subjects of virginity and marriage, calls those who are married slaves of the flesh, but those not under the yoke of wedlock freemen who serve the Lord in all freedom [1 Cor. 7:21-23].” (St. Jerome, Letter CXXVIII, To Gaudentius, Section 3, written in A.D. 413)

St. John of the Ladder makes some interesting observations concerning the dangers of marriage in his famous spiritual classic the Ladder of Divine Ascent. His comments on marriage should be pondered: “Someone caught up in the affairs of the world can make progress, if he is determined. But it is not easy. Those bearing chains can still walk. But they often stumble and are thereby injured. … The married… (are) like someone chained hand and foot.”

One must obviously love all of one’s family, friends as well as all others in the world as much as one can, but one must also remember that most people, whether wife, family or friends, however dear or near, often reject God and hinder one’s own spiritual advancement. The only one who will always remain true to us and that we know with a certainty will never become evil is God, and with God, His Angels and Saints in Heaven. But humans, however dear or near, often fall away or makes us fall away from the truth, or tries to tempt us to commit sins of various kinds, and this rejection of God by our family, wife, children or friends requires us to exclude them from our communion and familiarity in order for us to save our souls. Our Lord Jesus Christ explicitly mentions that such acts are necessary sometimes: “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not carry his cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26)

Douay Rheims Commentary explains Luke 14:26: “Hate not: The law of Christ does not allow us to hate even our enemies, much less our parents: but the meaning of the text is, that we must be in that disposition of soul, as to be willing to renounce, and part with every thing, how near or dear soever it may be to us, that would keep us from following Christ.”

If there ever arises a time that we become aware of the fact that our family or friends are trying to tempt or lead us into sin, we are obliged by the direct command of Our Lord to abstain from their company and unnecessary familiarity in order to save our eternal souls—lest we fall and tumble into sin and lose our souls. For “you are bought with a price; be not made the bondslaves of men.” (1 Cor. 7:23) In truth, “To be subjected, then, to the passions, and to yield to them, is the extremest slavery; as to keep them in subjection is the only liberty. The divine Scripture accordingly says, that those who have transgressed the commandments are sold to strangers, that is, to sins alien to nature, till they return and repent. Marriage, then, as a sacred image, must be kept pure from those things which defile it.” (St. Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata, Book II, Chapter XXIII, On Marriage)

Can a married Christian be saved? Yes, says St. Chrysostom, “But they must expend greater effort if they wished to be saved, because of the constraint imposed on them. For the person who is free of bonds will run more easily than the one who is enchained [by marriage]. Will the latter [the married] then receive a greater reward and more glorious crown [for his struggle than the unmarried and chaste]? Not at all! For he placed this constraint upon himself when he was free not to.” (Oppugn., III; PG 47.376.) Again St. John asks, “Cannot the person who lives in the city and has a house and wife be saved?” He answers that certainly there are many ways to salvation. This is evident from our Savior saying that in Heaven there are many mansions (John 14:2). St. Paul affirms the same when he suggests that in the Resurrection there will be many types and degrees of glory, one of the sun, another of the moon, and another of the stars (1 Cor. 15:41). Certainly the monk and the married Christian can both be saved, but they will not possess the same eternal glory. As the sun is brighter than the moon, and as one star is brighter than another, so shall it be at the general resurrection. But all the bodies of the elect shall be happily changed to a state of incorruption (Oppugn., III; PG 47.356). “There are choirs of virgins, there are assemblies of widows, there are fraternities of those who shine in chaste wedlock; in short, many are the degrees of virtue.” (Hom. XXX in 1 Cor.; PG 61.254; NPNF, p. 178-179.)

In truth, “Marriage is honorable; but I cannot say that it is more lofty than virginity; for virginity were no great thing if it were not better than a good thing. Do not however be angry, ye women that are subject to the yoke. We must obey God rather than man. But be ye bound together, both virgins and wives, and be one in the Lord, and each others adornment. There would be no celibate if there were no marriage. For whence would the virgin have passed into this life? Marriage would not have been venerable unless it had borne virgin fruit to God and to life. … Hast thou chosen the life of Angels? Art thou ranked among the unyoked? Sink not down to the flesh; sink not down to matter; be not wedded to matter, while otherwise thou remainest unwedded.” (St. Gregory Nazianzen, Orations of St. Gregory Nazianzen, Oration XXXVII, Section X)

St. Methodius, Banquet of the Ten Virgins (c. 311 A.D.): “Come, now, and let us examine more carefully the very words which are before us, [1 Cor. 7] and observe that the apostle did not grant these things unconditionally to all, but first laid down the reason on account of which he was led to this. For, having set forth that "it is good for a man not to touch a woman," he added immediately, "Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife", that is, "on account of the fornication which would arise from your being unable to restrain your voluptuousness" -- "and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment." And this is very carefully considered. "By permission" he says, showing that he was giving counsel, "not of command;" for he receives command respecting chastity and the not touching of a woman, but permission respecting those who are unable, as I said, to chasten their appetites. These things, then, he lays down concerning men and women who are married to one spouse, or who shall hereafter be so...” (Discourse III, Chapter XII.--Paul an Example to Widows, and to Those Who Do Not Live with Their Wives)

St. Francis de Sales classic "Introduction to the Devout Life", confirms this teaching of St. Paul in the Holy Bible: “Married people ought not to keep their affections fixed on the sensual pleasures of their vocation, but ought afterwards to wash their hearts to purify them as soon as possible, so that they may then with a calm mind devote themselves to other purer and higher activities. In this way they will perfectly carry out St. Paul’s excellent teaching that they who have wives should be as though they had none [1 Cor. 7:29]. St. Gregory the Great says that a husband or wife carries out this instruction by taking bodily consolation with the spouse in such a way as not to be turned aside from spiritual demands. St. Paul also says, "Let those who use the world be as though they used it not" [1 Cor. 7:31]. Everyone should use the things of this world according to his calling, but in such manner that he does not engage his affection in it, but rather remains as free and ready to serve God as if he did not use it. We should place our joy in spiritual things, but only use corporal ones. When we make bodily pleasures our joy, our rational soul becomes debased and brutish.” (St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life, pg. 266)

Indeed, contrary to what many lustful people nowadays impiously claim, St. Augustine’s Commentary on Matthew 22:30 explains that a good Christian spouse ought to hate conjugal connection and carnal intercourse with his wife: “And the Lord Himself says: "For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven." Hence it is necessary that whoever wishes here and now to aim after the life of that kingdom, should hate not the persons themselves, but those temporal relationships by which this life of ours, which is transitory and is comprised in being born and dying, is upheld; because he who does not hate them, does not yet love that life where there is no condition of being born and dying, which unites parties in earthly wedlock. Therefore, if I were to ask any good Christian who has a wife, and even though he may still be having children by her, whether he would like to have his wife in that kingdom; mindful in any case of the promises of God, and of that life where this incorruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality; though at present hesitating from the greatness, or at least from a certain degree of love, he would reply with execration that he is strongly averse to it. Were I to ask him again, whether he would like his wife to live with him there, after the resurrection, when she had undergone that angelic change which is promised to the saints, he would reply that he desired this as strongly as he reprobated the other. Thus a good Christian is found to love in one and the same woman the creature of God, whom he desires to be transformed and renewed; but to hate the corruptible and mortal conjugal connection and carnal intercourse: i.e. to love in her what is characteristic of a human being, to hate what belongs to her as a wife. … It is necessary, therefore, that the disciple of Christ should hate these things which pass away, in those whom he desires along with himself to reach those things which shall for ever remain; and that he should the more hate these things in them, the more he loves themselves.” (St. Augustine, On the Sermon on the Mount, Book I, Chapter 15, Section 40-41, c. 394 A.D.)

What is the life of the perfect Christian couple? St. Augustine answers that their life consists in living together as a brother and sister, having his wife as though he had her not, except for when they come together for the procreation of children: “A Christian may therefore live in concord with his wife… providing for the procreation of children, which may be at present in some degree praiseworthy; or providing for a brotherly and sisterly fellowship, without any corporeal connection, having his wife as though he had her not, as is most excellent and sublime in the marriage of Christians: yet so that in her he hates the name of temporal relationship, and loves the hope of everlasting blessedness.” (St. Augustine, On the Sermon on the Mount, Book I, Chapter 15, Section 42, c. 394 A.D.)

In addition, St. Augustine addresses those who murmur against the Church’s doctrine that it is better and more holy to live in total chastity: “But I am aware of some that murmur: What, say they, if all men should abstain from all sexual intercourse, whence will the human race exist? Would that all would this, only in charity out of a pure heart, and good conscience, and faith unfeigned; much more speedily would the City of God be filled, and the end of the world hastened. For what else does the Apostle [St. Paul], as is manifest, exhort to, when he says, speaking on this head, I would that all were as myself [1 Cor. 7:7]...” (On the Good of Marriage, Section 10)

Chastity is above other virtues according to God’s Holy Word in the Book of James

The Book of James in the Holy Bible tells us that “the wisdom, that is from above, first indeed is chaste,” again showing us how the Holy Bible sets the virtue of chastity above other virtues.

James 3:17-18 “But the wisdom, that is from above [Heaven], first indeed is chaste, then peaceable, modest, easy to be persuaded, consenting to the good, full of mercy and good fruits, without judging, without dissimulation. And the fruit of justice is sown in peace, to them that make peace.”

The fact that chastity is especially valued among the different virtues in the Bible, as well as that it is described as a more perfect and blessed life is completely rejected or ignored by almost all Protestants and other heretics. Since their life is sensual and directed to pleasing their own flesh, sensuality and selfishness, they reject the inherent value and goodness of practicing chastity inside or outside of marriage and refuse to speak about its value since they themselves have decided to live a life for their flesh, rather than for the spirit. Not only that, but a lot of these heretics actually tries to get people to have as much sex and sexual pleasure as they can, thus directly contradicting the chaste words of the Holy Bible with their foul and unchaste teachings.

St. Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 6:7: “Now, there are three professions in the holy Catholic Church: there are virgins, widows, and the married. Virgins produce the hundred-fold, widows the sixty-fold, and the married thirty-fold. One bears more, another less, but they are all kept in the heavenly barn and happily enjoy eternal bliss. Therefore, while the virgins think of Mary, the widows consider Anne, and married women reflect upon Susanna, they should imitate the chastity of those women in this life so that they may merit to be united and associated with them in eternity. Good virgins, who want to be such not only in body but also in heart and tongue, are united to holy Mary with the rest of the army of Virgins. Good widows, not voluptuous, loquacious, inquisitive, envious, haughty ones, serve God as blessed Anne did by fasting, almsgiving, and prayers, and together with St. Anne are united with the many thousands of widows. Moreover, married women who have observed mutual fidelity and have neither known anything outside of themselves nor even themselves except with the desire for children, if they continually give alms and observe God’s precepts as well as they can, will merit happily to be associated with holy Job, Sara, and Susanna, along with the patriarchs and prophets.”

Marriage hinders many from being saved according to the Gospel of Luke

Indeed, it is a little known truth today, but marriage and the marital life can be so dangerous to our own spiritual welfare that Our Lord in The Gospel of Luke even warned about that some people who enter marriages are hindered from being Saved and enter Heaven due to their marital life, thus showing to us that virginity and chastity is very necessary and beneficial for salvation.

Our Lord Jesus Christ spoke in a parable, saying: “A certain man made a great supper, and invited many. And he sent his servant at the hour of supper to say to them that were invited, that they should come, for now all things are ready. And they began all at once to make excuse. The first said to him: ‘I have bought a farm, and I must needs go out and see it: I pray thee, hold me excused.’ And another said: ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to try them: I pray thee, hold me excused.’ And another said: ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ And the servant returning, told these things to his lord. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant: ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the feeble, and the blind, and the lame.’ And the servant said: ‘Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.’ And the Lord said to the servant: ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. But I say unto you, that none of those men that were invited, shall taste of my supper.’ And there went great multitudes with him. And turning, he said to them: ‘If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not carry his cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple.’” (Luke 14:16-27)

Haydock Bible Commentary explains Luke 14:16, saying: “By this man [who was inviting the people to the supper in Heaven] we are to understand Christ Jesus, the great mediator between God and man. He sent his servants, at supper-time, to say to them that were invited, that they should come… We may remark, that the three different excuses exactly agree with what St. John says: All that is in the world is the concupiscence of the flesh, and concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life [1 John 2:16]. The one says, I have married a wife, by which may be understood the concupiscence of the flesh; another says, I have bought five yoke of oxen, by which is denoted the concupiscence of the eyes; and the pride of life is signified by the purchase of the farm, which the third alleges in his justification. (St. Augustine, de verb. Dei.)”

Those people who thus will be hindered from entering the Great Supper (Heaven) and be cast into Hell for all eternity, are all those people who put something or someone before God, or who loved God less than He was worthy to be loved. The things that this parable enumerated as hindrances to salvation, that is, earthly pleasures and possessions and earthly wives or acquaintances, are the most common causes of why people are damned in this life. Thus, “he who said, "I have married a wife and therefore I cannot come" [Luke 14:20] to the divine supper was an example to convict those who for pleasure’s sake were abandoning the divine command [of loving God and that which is above above everything else]; for if this saying is taken otherwise, neither the righteous before the coming of Christ nor those who have married since his coming, even if they be apostles, will be saved.” (The Stromata or Miscellanies, Book III, Chapter XII, Section 90)

Our Lady of Fatima (1917): “The sins of the world are too great! The sins which lead most souls to hell are sins of the flesh! Certain fashions are going to be introduced which will offend Our Lord very much. Those who serve God should not follow these fashions. The Church has no fashions; Our Lord is always the same. Many marriages are not good; they do not please Our Lord and are not of God.... Oh! Men must do penance! If they amend their lives Our Lord will still pardon the world; but if they do not, the chastisement will come! Priests should occupy themselves only with the affairs of the Church! They must be pure, very pure.” Mother Godinho asked her (Jacinta): “Do you know what it means to be pure?” “Yes, Yes. I know to be pure in body means to be chaste, to be pure in mind means not to commit sins; not to look at what one should not see, not to steal or lie, and always to speak the truth, even if it is hard.”

In the case of the wife or a spouse, many couples perversely love the sexual pleasure they derive from the marital act, and this happens since the vehemence and force of the sexual pleasure is so strong and acts just like a drug which places the person into a state of bliss of pleasure, thus making it very hard to control without actually starting to love the physical fleshly pleasure, just like drug addicts love their pleasure, which is a kind of idolatry of the flesh. All acts which hold great pleasure is extremely easy to become addicted to, and sexual pleasure of course works in the exact same way too. That is why we see so many use pornography or commit adultery, masturbation or fornication. When one has chosen to become addicted to the sexual pleasure or high, whether it be by masturbation, pornography, or by indulging in the marital act with one’s spouse too often or in an inordinate or unlawful way, it will always become extremely difficult to get free from. The sexual pleasure is so addictive that sexual addicts who are also drug abusers have testified that while their drug abuse was comparatively easy to quit, their sexual thoughts and desires remains and tempts them every day. Thus, it is obvious that it would have been much better for these people if they had remained chaste and thus viewed the sexual pleasure as more of an abstract pleasure rather than to be guilty of, and commit sexual idolatry. St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians correctly explains that those who become subject and controlled by their covetousness (as in the case of those who are lustful) are serving idols, their idol being the sensual pleasure: “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not so much as be named among you, as becometh saints: or obscenity, or foolish talking, or scurrility, which is to no purpose; but rather giving of thanks. For know you this and understand, that no fornicator, or unclean, or covetous person (which is a serving of idols), hath inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” (Ephesians 5:3-5)

Haydock Commentary wisely explains Ephesians 5:3-5 thus: “Verse 3. Covetousness. The Latin word is generally taken for a coveting or immoderate desire of money and riches. St. Jerome and others observe, that the Greek word in this and divers other places in the New Testament may signify any unsatiable desire, or the lusts of sensual pleasures; and on this account, St. Jerome thinks that it is here joined with fornication and uncleanness [i.e., sexual sins]. --- Verse 5. Nor covetous person, which is a serving of idols. It is clear enough by the Greek that the covetous man is called an idolater, whose idol is mammon; though it may be also said of other sinners, that the vices they are addicted to are their idols. (Witham)”

If these people would have only subdued their flesh a little through small penances, their sins, bad marriages and eternal damnation could have easily been corrected or averted. “Know you not that they that run in the race, all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize? So run that you may obtain. And every one that striveth for the mastery, refraineth himself from all things: and they indeed that they may receive a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible one. I therefore so run, not as at an uncertainty: I so fight, not as one beating the air: But I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection: lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

Haydock Commentary explains First Corinthians 9:24-27: “Verse 25. He refraineth himself [from all things], &c. [If the athlete] Curbs his inclinations, abstains from debauchery, or any thing that may weaken him, or hinder him from gaining this corruptible crown [of human glory], how much more ought we to practice self-denials for an eternal crown? --- Verse 27. I chastise [my body], &c. Here St. Paul shews the necessity of self-denial and mortification to subdue the flesh, and its inordinate desires. (Challoner) --- Not even the labors of an apostle are exemptions from voluntary mortification and penance.”

Indeed, Our Lord Himself in the Holy Gospel shows us the necessity to never place our love for family or friends above our love for God since they are many times opposed to virtue or the faith: “Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword. For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s enemies shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not up his cross, and followeth me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for me, shall find it. He that receiveth you, receiveth me: and he that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me.” (Matthew 10:34-40)

Haydock Commentary explains Matthew 10:32-40: “Verse 34. I came not to send [peace, but the sword], &c. That is, dissension and war, in order that the false peace of sinners may be destroyed, and that those who follow me, may differ in morals and affections from the followers of this world. The sword, therefore, is the gospel, which separates those parents who remain in infidelity. (Menochius) It must be observed, that the gospel does not necessarily of itself produce dissensions amongst men, but that Christ foresaw, from the depravity of man’s heart, that dissensions would follow the propagation of the gospel. (Haydock) --- Indeed before Christ became man, there was no sword upon the earth; that is, the spirit had not to fight with so much violence against the flesh; but when he became man, he shewed us what things were of the flesh, and what of the spirit, and taught us to set these two at variance, by renouncing always those of the flesh, which constantly endeavor to get master over us, and follow the dictates of the spirit. (Origen)”

Verse 35. I am come to set a man at variance [with his family], &c. Not that this was the end or design of the coming of our Savior; but that his coming, and his doctrine would have this effect, by reason of the obstinate resistance that many would make, and of their persecuting all such as should adhere to him. (Challoner) No one can be connected with the earth and joined to heaven. Those who wish to enjoy the peace of heaven, must not be united to the lovers of this world by any connection. (Baradius)”

Verse 37. [He that loveth father or mother more than me] Is not worthy of me, &c. That is, is not worthy to be my disciple, and to enjoy my kingdom. (Menochius)”

Verse 38. [And he that taketh not up his cross, and followeth me, is not worthy of me], &c. There are two kinds of crosses which our Savior here commands us to take up: one corporal, and the other spiritual. By the former, he commands us to restrain the unruly appetites of the touch, taste, sight, &c. By the other, which is far more worthy our notice, he teaches us to govern the affections of the mind, and restrain all its irregular motions, by humility, tranquility, modesty, peace, &c. Precious indeed in the sight of God, and glorious is that cross, which governs and brings under proper rule the lawless passions of the mind. (St. Augustine)”

Verse 39. He that findeth [his life, shall lose it], &c. That is, he that findeth in this life pleasures and comforts, and places his affections upon them, will certainly soon lose them. For Isaiah says, (Chap. xl, ver. 6) All flesh is grass, and all the glory thereof as the flower of the field. The grass is withered, and the flower is fallen.… (St. Ambrose) But if he continues moderately happy as to temporal concerns till death, and places his affections on them, he hath found life here, but shall lose it in the next world. But he that shall, for the sake of Christ, deprive himself of the pleasures of this life, shall receive the reward of a hundred fold in the next. (Haydock)”

“It is not expedient to marry” for many people in this world according to the Gospel of Matthew

The Gospel of Matthew gives us a good account of the superiority of chastity over marriage, and explains how many men refuse to accept to see the biblical truth that “it is not expedient to marry” for many in this world.

Our Lord Jesus Christ spoke to the Apostles, saying: “‘And I say to you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication [or adultery], and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and he that shall marry her that is put away, committeth adultery.’ His disciples say unto him: ‘If the case of a man with his wife be so, it is not expedient to marry.’ [And Jesus] said to them: ‘All men take not this word, but they to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs, who were born so from their mother’s womb: and there are eunuchs, who were made so by men: and there are eunuchs, who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven. He that can take, let him take it.’ Then were little children presented to him, that he should impose hands upon them and pray. And the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said to them: ‘Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come to me: for the kingdom of heaven is for such.’ And when he had imposed hands upon them, he departed from thence.” (Matthew 19:9-15)

Douay Rheims Bible Commentary explains Matthew 19: “Verse 9. [whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication]. In the case of fornication, that is, of adultery, the wife may be put away: but even then the husband cannot marry another as long as the wife is living. --- Verse 11. All men take not this word. That is, all receive or accept not the gift of living singly and chastely, unless they pray for the grace of God to enable them to live so, and for many it may be necessary to that end to fast as well as pray: and to those it is given from above.”

Haydock Bible Commentary goes on to explain Our Lord’s words about chastity in Matthew, Chapter 19 thus: “Verse 11. All receive not this word, To translate all cannot take, or cannot receive this word, is neither conformable to the Latin nor Greek text. To be able to live singly, and chastely, is given to every one that asketh, and prayeth for the grace of God to enable him to live so. (Witham) All cannot receive it, because all do not wish it. The reward is held out to all. Let him who seeks for glory, not think of the labor. None would overcome, if all were afraid of engaging in the conflict. If some fail, are we to be less careful in our pursuit of virtue? Is the soldier terrified, because his comrade fights and falls by his side? (St. Chrysostom) He that can receive it, let him receive it. He that can fight, let him fight, overcome and triumph. It is the voice of the Lord animating his soldiers to victory. (St. Jerome) --- Verse 12. There are eunuchs, who have made themselves eunuchs, for the kingdom of heaven. This text is not to be taken in the literal sense; but means, that there are such, who have taken a firm and commendable resolution of leading a single and chaste life, in order to serve God in a more perfect state than those who marry: as St. Paul clearly shews. 1 Cor. 7. 37, 38. (Challoner) Thus St. Jerome on this place, and St. Chrysostom where they both expressly take notice, that this grace is granted to every one that asketh and beggeth for it by prayer. (Witham) To the crown and glory of which state, let those aspire who feel themselves called by heaven.”

The infallible word of God is clear that “it is not expedient to marry” for many people in this world and that “all men take not this word”. Our Lord then goes on to inspire and urge all to try to become chaste by teaching us that: “there are eunuchs, who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven. He that can take, let him take it.” The reason why Our Lord teaches that “it is not expedient to marry” for many people in this world is that most people who marry in this life fall into grievous habitual sins of the flesh with their spouse by performing mortally sinful, non-procreative or unnecessary sexual acts (such as masturbation of self or of spouse, foreplay, oral and anal sex, and sensual touches and kisses) which they would not have done if they would have remained single.

Sexual pleasure works very much the same as any pleasure in this world, but some good examples of pleasures that can be compared to it is the pleasure that people get from alcohol or drugs. Now, if a man has never taken drugs or alcohol he cannot know anything about their effects, and thus, he cannot desire these pleasures at all. The consequence of this lack of desire is that there is no desire to abuse either alcohol or drugs at all. Sexual pleasure affects a man in a similar way. If a man have not had a venue to act on his sexual desire, nor looked longingly and with desire on a woman, always choosing to turn his eyes down in humility every time a woman came near him, his sexual desire will remain more of an abstract or theoretical pleasure. But a man who marries a woman and starts having sexual relations with her (allowing his eyes to fixate on a woman with sensual desire) does not have this advantage of having sexual pleasure remain an abstract or theoretical pleasure, and consequently, the possibility of him getting tempted to commit sins of impurity with either his own wife or with some other woman, is immediately increased. And as always, the sensual fire almost always begins through the eyes when a person is not careful enough to control or consider where he or she is looking.

A person who drinks wine will always be more tempted to drink more than what is lawful than a person who does not drink at all. This example absolutely proves that it is not good for all men and women to marry, for most people in this world abuse the God given power of procreation in their genital parts by committing unlawful sexual acts with their spouse or with another person than their spouse. If they would have remained unschooled in the ways of sexual pleasure, or chosen to remain in the angelic state of chastity, their way to Heaven would have been infinitely more easy, but since their desire was to please their own flesh: the door to Heaven was closed and the door to Hell and eternal torment and suffering was opened. “For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also.… No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other.” (Matthew 6:21, 24)

The fact and teaching that sexual pleasure is an evil (but not a sin in itself) even in marriage comes from both the Holy Scripture and the Natural Law which teaches us that those who are married and perform the sexual act “shall have tribulation of the flesh (1 Corinthians 7:28) and that the married life makes a person “divided”. The truth that sexual pleasure even in marriage is an evil is amply proven by the fact that it is intoxicating like a drug, as well as that it is very addictive. Only a madman will think that getting intoxicated is something good, and all understand this truth from the Natural Law. St. Augustine explains that, “But that [sexual] pleasure... does it not engage the whole soul and body, and does not this extremity of pleasure result in a kind of submersion of the mind itself, even if it is approached with a good intention, that is, for the purpose of procreating children, since in its very operation it allows no one to think, I do not say of wisdom, but of anything at all? … What lover of the spiritual good, who has married only for the sake of offspring, would not prefer if he could to propagate children without it or without its very great impulsion? I think, then, we ought to attribute to that life in Paradise, which was a far better life than this, whatever saintly spouses would prefer in this life, unless we can think of something better.” (St. Augustine, Against Julian, Book IV, Chapter 13, Section 71)

Indeed, as we have seen, one can even understand from reason alone that concupiscence and sexual desire is evil since according to St. Thomas, “there is a loss of reason incidental to the union of man and woman, both because the reason is carried away entirely on account of the vehemence of the pleasure, so that it is unable to understand anything at the same time [as in the case of intoxication of drugs], as the Philosopher says (Ethic. vii, 11); and again because of the tribulation of the flesh which such persons have to suffer from solicitude for temporal things (1 Corinthians 7:28).” Only a fool of the highest degree could dare to claim that being intoxicated so “that it [reason] is unable to understand anything at the same time” is good or a gift from God since even nature itself tells us that this is evil and unlawful unless this act of intoxication is excused by an absolutely necessary motive; and that is also why a Catholic cannot regard those who hold this heresy as Catholics: “Who does not know that conjugal intercourse is never committed without itching of the flesh, and heat and foul concupiscence, whence the conceived seeds [of the children] are befouled and corrupted?” (Pope Innocent III, On the Seven Penitential Psalms)

The fact that the current state of marriage after the fall is defective and infirm is something that most so called Christians totally reject or ignore:

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Supplement, Q. 49, Art. 1, 5: “Whether certain blessings are necessary in order to excuse [marriage and sexual intercourse in] marriage? Wherever there is indulgence [as St. Paul states], there must needs be some reason for excuse. Now marriage is allowed in the state of infirmity "by indulgence" (1 Corinthians 7:6). Therefore it needs to be excused by certain goods. … the aforesaid [marital sexual] act does not differ from the act of fornication... But the act of fornication is always evil. Therefore the marriage act also will always be evil unless it be excused...”

Indeed, today there is a virtual blackout of Our Lord’s teaching in the Holy Bible about the inherent dangers of marriage and the potential that the sexual act has to damn a person, and almost no one seem to even know or acknowledge this fact about the marital life even though it is clearly taught in the same Bible that millions or billions of people read during their life.

But this is not something new, since lustful and blind people have always existed. The main difference from before, however, is that today, this ignorance seem to rule almost the whole society, whereas before, a considerable part of the world cherished and extolled chastity, purity and virginity as a more blessed and pure lifestyle, which is also why many married spouses vowed chastity with each other in order to prepare to meet the Lord in chastity and purity. This is also proven by the fact that sins of impurity, such as masturbation, was generally considered bad, filthy or evil by almost all people before in time, and not like today, as something good or normal.

In this context, St. Jerome explains the holy Bible’s words about the inherent danger of marriage and the marital sexual act, showing quite clearly from the Holy Scripture that the marital act can endanger the salvation of our souls, unless we are really careful.

“I have said in my book, [Ag. Jov. 1:7] "If it is good for a man not to touch a woman, then it is bad for him to touch one, for bad, and bad only, is the opposite of good. But, if though bad it is made venial, then it is allowed to prevent something which would be worse than bad," and so on down to the commencement of the next chapter. The above is my comment upon the apostle’s words: "It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband." [1 Cor. 7:1-2]... "Notice the apostle’s carefulness. He does not say: ‘It is good for a man not to have a wife,’ but, ‘It is good for a man not to touch a woman’; as if there is danger in the very touching of one – danger which he who touches cannot escape." You see, therefore, that I am not expounding the law as to husbands and wives, but simply discussing the general question of sexual intercourse – how in comparison with chastity and virginity, the life of angels, "It is good for a man not to touch a woman" [1 Cor. 7:1].” (St. Jerome, Letter XLVIII, To Pammachius, c. 394 A.D.)

When one actually sees how many of the books of the Bible and the Saints there are that actually teaches about the inherent dangers of marriage and the marriage act, as well as the doctrine of the necessity of chastity and sexual purity for both the married and the unmarried, and that even the married must practice chastity from time to time, one can understand that it is a spiritual problem behind the reason for why so many people can read the same biblical books and texts as others without actually understanding a whiff of the words they read. It is sad, but their filthy and sensual life blinds them from seeing and understanding what the words they read actually mean. In truth, it is a biblical fact, “...as Paul also says of those who are absorbed in marriage that they aim to "please the world." [1 Cor. 7:33] Again the Lord says, "Let not the married person seek a divorce, nor the unmarried person marriage," [1 Cor. 7:27, 32-36] that is, he who has confessed his intention of being celibate, let him remain unmarried.” (St. Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata or Miscellanies, Book III, Chapter XV, Section 97)

In contrast to virginity or chastity, “Conjugality, on the other hand, runs completely away from Christ by reason of the surging of corruptible flesh and worldly cares of every kind; or it only slightly approaches God.” (St. Gregory of Nazianzen, In Praise of Virginity, PG 37, 563A) St. John Chrysostom, the inspired interpreter of the Apostle Paul, writes in the same spirit concerning the admission of marriage: “So, do not prefer over virginity that which was admitted because of your weakness. Rather, do not even put them on the same level.” (St. John Chrysostom, “On Virginity” 15, PG 48, 545)

St. John Chrysostom comments on this passage (in Matthew 19) from the Bible and explains Our Lord’s words about the greatness and perfection of a life of total and perpetual chastity:

“But what is, “If such be the case of a man with his wife?” That is, if to this end he is joined with her, that they should be one, or, on the other hand, if the man shall get to himself blame for these things, and always transgresses by putting away, it were easier to fight against natural desire and against one’s self, than against a wicked woman.

“What then saith Christ? He said not, “yea, it is easier, and so do,” lest they should suppose that the thing is a law; but He subjoined, “Not all men receive it, but they to whom it is given,” [Matt. 19:11] raising the thing, and showing that it is great, and in this way drawing them on, and urging them.

“But see herein a contradiction. For He indeed saith this is a great thing; but they, that it is easier. For it was meet that both these things should be done, and that it should be at once acknowledged a great thing by Him, that it might render them more forward, and by the things said by themselves it should be shown to be easier, that on this ground too they might the rather choose virginity and continence. For since to speak of virginity seemed to be grievous, by the constraint of this law He drove them to this desire. Then to show the possibility of it, He saith, “There are some eunuchs, who were so born from their mother’s womb, there are some eunuchs which were made eunuchs of men, and there be eunuchs which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of Heaven’s sake,” [Matt. 19:12] by these words secretly leading them to choose the thing, and establishing the possibility of this virtue, and all but saying, Consider if thou wert in such case by nature, or hadst endured this selfsame thing at the hands of those who inflict such wanton injuries, what wouldest thou have done, being deprived indeed of the enjoyment, yet not having a reward? Thank God therefore now, for that with rewards and crowns thou undergoest this, which those men endure without crowns; or rather not even this, but what is much lighter, being supported both by hope, and by the consciousness of the good work, and not having the desire so raging like waves within thee.

“For the excision of a member is not able to quell such waves, and to make a calm, like the curb of reason; or rather, reason only can do this.

“For this intent therefore He brought in those others, even that He might encourage these, since if this was not what He was establishing, what means His saying concerning the other eunuchs? But when He saith, that they made themselves eunuchs, He means not the excision of the members, far from it, but the putting away of wicked thoughts. Since the man who hath mutilated himself, in fact, is subject even to a curse, as Paul saith, “I would they were even cut off which trouble you.” [Gal. 5:12] And very reasonably. For such a one is venturing on the deeds of murderers, and giving occasion to them that slander God’s creation, and opens the mouths of the Manichæans, and is guilty of the same unlawful acts as they that mutilate themselves amongst the Greeks. For to cut off our members hath been from the beginning a work of demoniacal agency, and satanic device, that they may bring up a bad report upon the work of God, that they may mar this living creature, that imputing all not to the choice, but to the nature of our members, the more part of them may sin in security, as being irresponsible; and doubly harm this living creature, both by mutilating the members, and by impeding the forwardness of the free choice in behalf of good deeds.

“These are the ordinances of the devil, bringing in, besides the things which we have mentioned, another wicked doctrine also, and making way beforehand for the arguments concerning destiny and necessity even from hence, and everywhere marring the freedom given to us of God, and persuading us that evil deeds are of nature, and hence secretly implanting many other wicked doctrines, although not openly. For such are the devil’s poisons.

“Therefore I beseech you to flee from such lawlessness. For together with the things I have mentioned, neither doth the force of lust become milder hereby, but even more fierce. For from another origin hath the seed that is in us its sources, and from another cause do its waves swell. And some say from the brain, some from the loins, this violent impulse hath its birth; but I should say from nothing else than from an ungoverned will and a neglected mind: if this be temperate, there is no evil result from the motions of nature.

“Having spoken then of the eunuchs that are eunuchs for nought and fruitlessly, unless with the mind they too practise temperance, and of those that are virgins for Heaven’s sake, He proceeds again to say, “He that is able to receive it, let him receive it,” at once making them more earnest by showing that the good work is exceeding in greatness, and not suffering the thing to be shut up in the compulsion of a law, because of His unspeakable gentleness. And this He said, when He showed it to be most possible, in order that the emulation of the free choice might be greater.

“And if it is of free choice, one may say, how doth He say, at the beginning, “All men do not receive it, but they to whom it is given?” That thou mightest learn that the conflict is great, not that thou shouldest suspect any compulsory allotments. For it is given to those, even to the willing.

“But He spake thus to show that much influence from above is needed by him who entereth these lists, whereof He that is willing shall surely partake. For it is customary for Him to use this form of speech when the good work done is great, as when He saith, “To you it is given to know the mysteries.”

“And that this is true, is manifest even from the present instance. For if it be of the gift from above only, and they that live as virgins contribute nothing themselves, for nought did He promise them the kingdom of Heaven, and distinguish them from the other eunuchs.

“But mark thou, I pray, how from some men’s wicked doings, other men gain. I mean, that the Jews went away having learnt nothing, for neither did they ask with the intent of learning, but the disciples gained even from hence.” (St. John Chrysostom, Homily 62 on Matthew, Chapter 19, Section 3)

Just like in the days of St. Jerome, Noah or Lot, people talk about the joys of marriage and the world, but totally ignore its dangers, since their sensuality controls their life: “You set before me the joys of wedlock. I for my part will remind you of Dido’s sword and pyre and funeral flames. In marriage there is not so much good to be hoped for as there is evil which may happen and must be feared. Passion when indulged always brings repentance with it; it is never satisfied, and once quenched it is soon kindled anew. Its growth or decay is a matter of habit; led like a captive by impulse it refuses to obey reason.” (St. Jerome, Letter CXXIII, To Ageruchia, Section 14, A.D. 409)

Truly, the dangers of marriage cannot be overstated, and that is also why God infallibly teaches this truth many times in Holy Scripture. St. Jerome in his “Against Jovinianus” continues to explain the perfection of chastity and how God explicitly warns the married in the Bible about the dangers of marriage and the marital act: “Let us turn back to the chief point of the evidence: "It is good," he [St. Paul] says, "for a man not to touch a woman." If it is good not to touch a woman, it is bad to touch one: for there is no opposite to goodness but badness. But if it be bad and the evil is pardoned, the reason for the concession is to prevent worse evil. But surely a thing which is only allowed because there may be something worse has only a slight degree of goodness. He would never have added "let each man have his own wife," unless he had previously used the words "but, because of fornications." Do away with fornication, and he will not say "let each man have his own wife." Just as though one were to lay it down: "It is good to feed on wheaten bread, and to eat the finest wheat flour," and yet to prevent a person pressed by hunger from devouring cow-dung, I may allow him to eat barley.

“Does it follow that the wheat will not have its peculiar purity, because such an one prefers barley to excrement? That is naturally good which does not admit of comparison with what is bad, and is not eclipsed because something else is preferred. At the same time we must notice the Apostle’s prudence. He did not say, it is good not to have a wife: but, it is good not to touch a woman: as though there were danger even in the touch: as though he who touched her, would not escape from her who "hunteth for the precious life," who causeth the young man’s understanding to fly away. "Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk upon hot coals and his feet not be scorched?"”  (St. Jerome, Against Jovinianus, Book 1, Section 7)

Our Lord’s and Lady’s warning in the Bible and to the children at Fatima in 1917 confirms this point in great detail, clearly placing emphasis on the fact that marriages in the final days of the earth will be oriented towards pleasing sensuality and selfishness: “The sins of the world are too great! The sins which lead most souls to hell are sins of the flesh!…Many marriages are not good; they do not please Our Lord and are not of God.” Indeed, almost no one today seem to care that this is a fact and that this is happening even though it is clearly warned about in the Bible that “IN THE LAST DAYS, shall come dangerous times. Men shall be lovers of themselves… incontinentlovers of pleasure more than of God: Having an appearance indeed of godliness but denying the power thereof. Now these avoid.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

Indeed, the Catholic Prophetess Mother Shipton prophesied our time in perfect detail: “For in those wondrous far off days, The women shall adopt a craze To dress like men, and trousers wear And to cut off all their locks of hair. They’ll ride astride with brazen brow, As witches do on broomsticks now. [Craze in women to dress like men, wearing trousers and cutting their hair, adopting various hairstyles and riding horses, and bikes straddle instead of side-saddle.] … They’ll be a sign for all to see Be sure that it will certain be. Then love shall die and marriage cease And nations wane as babes decrease. [Failure of marriages and divorce. Decrease in population (in Europe) and wholesale abortion in America and Europe.] And wives shall fondle cats and dogs And men live much the same as hogs. [Many women having animals, and many men watching porn, being lazy and filthy like hogs, and performing unlawful sexual acts with their spouse such as foreplay.] … When pictures seem alive with movements free, When boats like fishes swim beneath the sea. When men like birds shall scour the sky. Then half the world, deep drenched in blood shall die.”

Consider this fact: Did Jesus say that few are saved? Yes He did (Luke 13:23-24, 28). In today’s world, what sin does most, if not all people fall into? It is sexual sins! Just look at the perverted protestants, the evil Vatican II “Catholics”, or even the deceived traditionalists, who all of them practice some form or another of sexual foreplay or unlawful inflaming of lust, as well as all kinds of other perversions too disgusting even to mention. It is thus clear why Our Lady of Fatima revealed to us that “More souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason” and why this message was especially emphasized in Her revelations; for Our Lady, the Queen of Prophets, knew what the second part of the 20th century had in store for humanity after the introduction of the TV and other evil media, which in a large part is responsible for all of this impurity.

It is almost impossible to watch media or live in the modern society today and not be perverted by their evil influence that teaches us perverse sexual heresies. That is why the world has become so evil and why the apostasy is so universal. In truth, Our Lord Jesus Christ warned about the world’s delusion of our time when He said: “And as it came to pass in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat and drink, they married wives, and were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark: and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it came to pass, in the days of Lot: they did eat and drink, they bought and sold, they planted and built. And in the day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man shall be revealed.” (Luke 17:26-30)

Haydock Bible Commentary explains Luke 17: “Ver. 27. After having compared his second coming to lightning, in order to shew how sudden it will be, he next compares it to the days of Noe [Noah] and Lot, to shew that it will come when men least expect it; when, entirely forgetting his coming, they are solely occupied in the affairs of this world, in buying and selling, &c. He only mentions those faults which appear trivial, or rather none at all, (passing over the crimes of murder, theft, &c.) purposely to shew, that if God thus punishes merely the immoderate use of what is lawful, how will his vengeance fall upon what is in itself unlawful. (Ven. Bede) --- Ver. 32. As Lot only escaped destruction by leaving all things, and flying immediately to the mountain, whereas his wife, by shewing an affection for the things she had left, and looking back, perished; so those who, in the time of tribulation, forgetting the reward that awaits them in heaven, look back to the pleasures of this world, which the wicked enjoy, are sure to perish. (St. Ambrose)”

The amount of fools in this world who commit sexual sins inside and outside of marriage are innumerable. Sad to say, they could all have increased their chances of reaching Heaven by refusing to marry and indulging in their sinful sexual pleasure. But since their heart was set on earthly and perishable things, and they did not marry for an honorable and pure cause, God’s justice also demands that they shall perish with the dead and rotting bodies that they loved more than they loved Him; which was the filth and stinking treasure of their vile hearts. “Moreover, the Paedagogue [Instructor] warns us most distinctly: "Go not after thy lusts, and abstain from thine appetites [Sir. 18:30]; for wine and women will remove the wise; and he that cleaves to harlots will become more daring. Corruption and the worm shall inherit him [Sir. 19:2-3], and he shall be held up as public example to greater shame." And again—for he wearies not of doing good—"He who averts his eyes from pleasure crowns his life."” (St. Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor, Book II, Chapter X)

Thus, Our Lord Jesus Christ’s teaching in The Gospel of Matthew shows us all that it’s impossible to love Him at the same time as a physical and temporal thing or pleasure without actually hating or despising Him in the process. (Matthew 6:21,24)

St. Alphonsus, on the damnation of the impure: “Continue, O fool, says St. Peter Damian (speaking to the unchaste), continue to gratify the flesh; for the day will come in which thy impurities will become as pitch in thy entrails, to increase and aggravate the torments of the flame which will burn thee in hell: ‘The day will come, yea rather the night, when thy lust shall be turned into pitch, to feed in thy bowels the everlasting fire.’” (Preparation for Death, p. 117)

Our Lord Jesus Christ is perfectly right when He said in Matthew 19:14 that “the kingdom of heaven is for such [children],” and one of the most distinguishing traits of children is that they are chaste and pure and free from all sexual temptations, until they reach the age of puberty. Whether married or unmarried, if one wants to enter “the Kingdom of Heaven,” one must do all in one’s power to try to imitate the virtue and chastity that is inherent in children. Not only children can reach this stage of chastity or purity (where one is not bothered by the stings and temptations of the flesh), but also those who manfully labor in fasts and prayers, taking care to avoid mortal and venial sins and to not commit any act that will tempt or incite their sexual desire, always refusing to see or look at anything that might disturb their chastity. “Brother Roger, a Franciscan of singular purity, being once asked why he was so reserved in his intercourse with women, replied, that when men avoid the occasions of sin, God preserves them; but when they expose themselves to danger, they are justly abandoned by the Lord, and easily fall into some grievous transgressions.” (St. Alphonsus, The True Spouse of Jesus Christ, Mortification of the Eyes, p. 221)

In truth, “the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away.” (Matthew 11:12) The words suffereth violence means that it is not to be obtained but by main force by using violence upon oneself by mortifications and penances, and by resisting our perverse inclinations. Too few, however, care anything about mortifications and penances, and that is also why the world and most of the members of the Church have been allowed to fall into such great immorality, apostasy and heresy that was unheard of before the twentieth century.

St. Alphonsus de Liguori, in his masterpiece “The Glories Of Mary” describes how we are to achieve Purity Of Heart, and how The Blessed Virgin Mary is a powerful helper for those who are struggling with sexual sin, and also On How to Avoid Sexual Sins: “St. Ambrose says, that "whoever has preserved chastity is an angel, and that he who has lost it is a devil." Our Lord assures us that those who are chaste become angels, "They shall be as the angels of God in heaven" (Matthew 22:30). But the impure, becomes as devils, hateful in the sight of God. St. Remigius used to say that the greater part of adults are lost by this vice. Seldom, as we have already said with St. Augustine, is a victory gained over this vice. But why? It is because the means by which it may be gained are seldom made use of.

These means are three, according to Bellarmine and the masters of a spiritual life: fasting, the avoidance of dangerous occasions, and prayer.

“1. By fasting, is to be understood especially mortification of the eyes and of the appetite. Although our Blessed Lady was full of divine grace, yet she was so mortified in her eyes, that, according to St. Epiphanius and St. John Damascene, she always kept them cast down, and never fixed them on any one; and they say that from her very childhood her modesty was such, that it filled every one who saw her with astonishment. Hence St. Luke remarks, that, in going to visit St. Elizabeth, "she went with haste," (Luke 1:39) that she might be less seen in public. Philibert relates, that, as to her food, it was revealed to a hermit named Felix, that when a baby she only took milk once a day. St. Gregory of Tours affirms that throughout her life she fasted; and St. Bonaventure adds, "that Mary would never have found so much grace, had she not been most moderate in her food; for grace and gluttony cannot subsist together." In fine, Mary was mortified in all, so that of her it was said "my hands dropped with myrrh" (Canticle 5:5).

“2. The second means is to fly the occasions of sin: "He that is aware of the snares shall be secure" (Proverbs 11:15). Hence St. Philip Neri says, that, "in the war of the senses, cowards conquer:" that is to say those who fly from dangerous occasions. Mary fled as much as possible from the sight of men and therefore St. Luke remarks, that in going to visit St. Elizabeth, she went with haste into the hill country. An author observes that the Blessed Virgin left St. Elizabeth before St. John was born, as we learn from the same Gospel where it is said, "that Mary abode with her about three months, and she returned to her own house. Now Elizabeth’s full time of being delivered was come, and she brought forth a son" (Luke 1:56). And why did she not wait for this event? It was that she might avoid the conversations and visits which would accompany it.

“3. The third means is prayer. "And as I knew," said the wise man, "that I could not otherwise be continent except God gave it . . . I went to the Lord and besought Him" (Wisdom 8:21). The Blessed Virgin revealed to St. Elizabeth of Hungary, that she acquired no virtue without effort and continual prayer. St. John Damascene says, that Mary "is pure, a lover of purity." Hence she cannot endure those who are unchaste. But whoever has recourse to Her will certainly be delivered from this vice, if he only pronounces her name with confidence. The Venerable [Saint] John of Avila used to say, "that many have conquered more temptations by only having devotion to her Immaculate Conception."

“O Mary, O most pure dove, how many are now in hell on account of this vice! Sovereign Lady, obtain us the grace always to have recourse to thee in our temptations, and always to invoke thee, saying, "Mary, Mary, help us." Amen.” (From The Glories Of Mary, by St. Alphonsus de Liguori)

There is no marriage in Heaven according to the Gospel of Matthew

In the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 22, Jesus explains “that in the resurrection they shall neither marry nor be married; but shall be as the angels of God in heaven”. Through these words, He is telling us that perpetual chastity is an inherent part in the Angelic and Heavenly Life, thus showing us once again that chastity is morally superior to marriage and the marital life.

And Jesus answering, said to them: “You err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they shall neither marry nor be married; but shall be as the angels of God in heaven. And concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read that which was spoken by God, saying to you: ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?’ He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. And the multitudes hearing it, were in admiration at his doctrine.” (Matthew 22:29-33)

Marriage and those acts which specifically pertain to it only endure for a short moment in this temporal life, while the virtue of chastity begins in this life, to continue through all eternity in Heaven in indescribable bliss and happiness. Haydock Commentary, “Ver. 30. If not to marry, nor to be married, be like unto angels, the state of religious persons, and of priests, is justly styled by the Fathers an angelic life. (St. Cyprian, lib. ii. de discip. et hab. Virg. sub finem.) (Bristow)”

Marriage did not even exist until after the fall and original sin of Adam and Eve, but chastity always existed and will always exist – whether in Heaven or on Earth – as long as the latter continues to exist. Marriage was instituted by God for procreation of children, but He also allows it to be used as a relief from concupiscence and the sin of uncleanness, adultery and fornication by giving the marital act an indulgence so long as the marital act is always subordinated to the primary end or purpose of the marital act—the procreation of children (Pope Pius XI, Casti Connubii #54). But this state of alleviation from temptation to sin that married people enter into when getting married is a defective state not originally intended by the Creator from the beginning—before the fall and original sin of Adam and Eve. Chastity and purity however is not a defective state, but the original and desired state that God wanted all humans to live in from the beginning. “Thus,” says St. Jerome, “it must be bad to touch a woman. If indulgences is nonetheless granted to the marital act, this is only to avoid something worse. But what value can be recognized in a good that is allowed only with a view of preventing something worse?” And St. Augustine adds, “Thus also this mortal begetting, on account of which marriage takes place, shall be destroyed: but freedom from all sexual intercourse is both angelic exercise here, and continues for ever.” (On the Good of Marriage, 8)

Before the fall, people would have been able to procreate children without the evil of lust. “In Eden, it would have been possible to beget offspring without foul lust. The sexual organs would have been stimulated into necessary activity by will-power alone, just as the will controls other organs.” (St. Augustine, City of God, Book 14, Chapter 26.) Our Lord Jesus Christ never intended for us to be plagued by sexual desire. And because this defective desire brings with it so many sins and temptations of the flesh, it is perfectly true to say that marriage is a defective state compared to what the Creator had in mind from the beginning. This is also why St. Gregory the Theologian calls human procreation, “nocturnal, servile, and subject to passion”, (On Holy Baptism) and before him David said, “I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me”. (Ps. 51:5) If Adam and Eve had never sinned, all humans had now been chaste and pure just as God intended it to be from the beginning.

The church historian, Venerable Bede (673-735 A.D.), stated that in the first age of the world humankind was propagated by the union of men and women. However, in “the last age of history” God has “taken manhood from the flesh of the Virgin.… to prove that He loves the glory of virginity more than marriage.” (Venerable Bede, Hexaemeron, Book I, PL 91:31) Just like all the other Fathers and Saints of the Church, Venerable Bede saw First Corinthians, Chapter 7, as a reminder “that prayer is hindered by the marital duty, because as often as one renders the debt to his wife he is unable to pray” which in turn teaches us that marriage became “wounded and sick” after the fall and original sin of Adam and Eve. (Venerable Bede, Super Epistolas Catholicas Exposito: In Primam Epistolam Petri)

St. John Chrysostom, On Virginity, Chapter 14: “Someone would object perhaps: if it is better to have no relations with a woman, why has marriage been introduced into life? What use, then, will woman be to us, if she is of help neither in marriage nor in the procreation of children? What will prevent the complete disappearance of the human race since each day death encroaches upon it and strikes man down, and if one follows this programme, there is no reproduction of others to replace the stricken? If all of us should strive after this virtue and have no relations with a woman, everything -- cities, households, cultivated fields, crafts, animals, plants -- everything would vanish. For just as when a general dies, the discipline of the army inevitably is thrown entirely into confusion, so if the ruler of all the earth, if mankind disappears because of not marrying (carnal coupling), nothing left behind will preserve the security and good order of the world, and this fine precept will fill the world with a thousand woes.

“If these words had been merely those of our enemies and of the unbelievers, I would have hardly considered them. However, many of those who appear to belong to the Church say this. They fail to make an effort on behalf of virginity because of their weakness of purpose. By denigrating it and representing it as superfluous, they want to conceal their own apathy, so that they seem to fail in these contests not through their own neglect of duty but rather through their correct estimation of the matter [he means that they delude themselves by their false view of thinking that they are correct]. Come then, having dismissed our enemies -- for "The natural man does not accept what is taught by the spirit of God. For him that is absurdity." [1 Cor 2:14] -- let us teach two lessons to those who claim to be with us: that virginity is not superfluous but extremely useful and necessary; and that such a charge is not made with impunity but will endanger the detractors in the same way that right actions will earn wages and praise for the virtuous.

“When the whole world had been completed and all had been readied for our repose and use, God fashioned man for whom he made the world. After being fashioned, man remained in paradise and there was no reason for marriage. Man did need a helper, and she came into being; not even then did marriage seem necessary. It did not yet appear anywhere but they remained as they were without it. They lived in paradise as in heaven and they enjoyed God’s company. Desire for carnal intercourse, conception, labor, childbirth and every form of corruption had been banished from their souls. As a clear river shooting forth from a pure source, so were they in that place adorned by virginity.

“And all the earth was without humanity. This is what is now feared by those who are anxious about the world. They are very anxious about the affairs of others but they cannot tolerate considering their own. They fear the eclipse of mankind but individually neglect their own souls as though they were another’s. They do this when they will have demanded of them an exact accounting for this and the smallest of sins, yet for the scarcity of mankind they will not have to furnish even the slightest excuse.

“At that time there were no cities, crafts, or houses -- since you care so very much for these things -- they did not exist. Nevertheless, nothing either thwarted or hindered that happy life, which was far better than this. But when they did not obey God and became earth and dust, they destroyed along with that blessed way of life the beauty of virginity, which together with God abandoned them and withdrew. As long as they were uncorrupted by the devil and stood in awe of their master, virginity abided with them. It adorned them more than the diadem and golden raiments do kings. However, when they shed the princely raiment of virginity and laid aside their heavenly attire, they accepted the decay of death, ruin, pain and a toilsome life. In their wake came marriage: marriage, a garment befitting mortals and slaves.

“But the married man is busy with the world’s demands” [1 Cor 7:33]. Do you perceive the origin of marriage? It springs from disobedience, from a curse, from death. For where death is, there is marriage. When one does not exist, the other is not about. But virginity does not have this companion. It is always useful, always beautiful and blessed, both before and after death, before and after marriage. Tell me, what sort of marriage produced Adam? What kind of birth pains produced Eve? You could not say. Therefore why have groundless fears? Why tremble at the thought of the end of marriage, and thus the end of the human race? An infinite number of angels are at the service of God, thousands upon thousands of archangels are beside him, and none of them have come into being from the succession of generations, none from childbirth, labor pains and conception. Could he not, then, have created many more men without marriage? Just as he created the first two from whom all men descended.”

In this context, St. Jerome adds, “Marriage replenishes the earth, virginity fills Paradise.” (Ag. Jovinianus 1:16) After all, humans can be married only during this life. They will be virgins, however, for eternity. He summarized, “For marriage ends at death; virginity thereafter begins to wear the crown.” (Ibid., 1:22) Thus, after the fall, marriage and especially the marital act became wounded and highly potent to damn and bring a person under its control, similarly how a drug acts against a drug addict: “‘Now, [after the fall] Adam had intercourse with his wife Eve.’ Consider when this happened. After their disobedience, after their loss of the Garden, then it was that the practice of intercourse had its beginning. You see, before their disobedience they followed a life like that of the angels, and there was no mention of intercourse. … How could there be, when they were not subject to the needs of the body?” (St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Genesis, Homily XVIII; PG 53.153) Chrysostom adds that “When he was created, Adam remained in paradise, and there was no question of marriage. He needed a helper and a helper was provided for him. But even then marriage did not seem to be necessary... Desire for sexual intercourse and conception and the pangs and childbirth and every form of corruption were alien to their soul.” (On Virginity)

According to St. Chrysostom, marriage was allowed in case one should exceed proper limits in admiring the bloom of youth and thus exciting passion (Exp. in Ps. XLIII; PG 55.181). Thus marriage was established following the Fall of man. It possessed a certain honor for what it was, but it in no way actually produced sanctity. This it was not able to do. Marriage was a solemn thing, that through which God “recruits our race” and which is the source of numberless blessings, not the least of which is its serving as a “barrier against uncleanness.” St. John Chrysostom states, “Marriage is not holiness, but marriage preserves the holiness which proceeds from Faith… marriage is honorable... Marriage is pure: it does not however give holiness, except by forbidding the defilement of that [holiness] which has been given by our Faith.” (Hom. XXX in Heb.; PG 63.210; NPNF, p. 504). This is an important text in discerning Chrysostom’s teaching about marriage since it was preached at the end of his life and only published posthumously. It is popular in modern Chrysostom scholarship to suggest that Chrysostom experienced a radical change in his thinking on marriage, and came to embrace a more modern notion of marriage as holiness and sex as love. This text, among others, refutes this position. Note also here that Chrysostom roots the holiness of the individual believer in the faith itself. In Homily 10 he is more explicit saying, “Every believer is a saint in that he is a believer. Though he live in the world he is a saint... the faith makes the holiness” (Ibid., Hom. X; PG 63.87).

Sexual intercourse is not necessarily or directly sinful. However, Chrysostom nowhere suggests that intercourse is “holy”, “sacred”, or even primarily “an expression of love”. These romantic notions are really quite modern, and lack any substantive Patristic source. At the same time Chrysostom is prepared to emphasize the mysterious nature of human sexuality and to associate it very closely with love in his Homilies on Colossians. For Chrysostom, however, the mystery of love is that between the spouses and the child which results from their union, not primarily between the spouses themselves.

St. John Damascene, speaking on virginity, says: “Virginity is the rule of life among the angels, the property of all incorporeal nature. … Virginity is better than marriage, however good. … But celibacy is, as we said, an imitation of the angels. Wherefore, virginity is as much more honorable than marriage, as the angel is higher than man. But why do I say angel? Christ, Himself, is the glory of virginity.” (An Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Book IV, Chapter XXIV) And so, “flee thou youthful desires, and pursue justice, faith, charity, and peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22)

Now, “Tell me, will someone still dare to compare marriage with virginity? Or look marriage in the face at all? Saint Paul does not permit it. He puts much distance between each of these states. “The virgin is concerned with things of the Lord,” he says, but “the married woman has the cares of this world to absorb her.” [1 Cor 7:34] Moreover, after gathering married people together and having done this favor for them, hear how he reproaches them again for he says: “Return to one another, that Satan may not tempt you.” [1 Cor 7:5] And since he wishes to indicate that not all sins stem from the devil’s temptations but from our own idleness, he has added the more valid reason: because of “your lack of self-control.” [1 Cor 7:5]

“Who would not blush hearing this? Who would not earnestly try to escape blame for incontinence? For this exhortation is not for everyone but for those extremely prone to vice. If you are enslaved by pleasures, he says, if you are so weak as to have always given way to coitus and to gape in eager expectation at it, he joined to a woman. The consent therefore comes not from one approving or praising this action but from one scoffing at it with derision. If it had not been his desire to assail the souls of pleasure-seekers, he would not have set down this term, “incontinence,” which quite emphatically conveys the idea of censure. Why did he not say “because of your weakness”? Because that phrase is one of indulgence but to say incontinence denotes excessive moral laxity. Thus, the inability to refrain from fornication unless you always have a wife and enjoy sexual relations is an indication of incontinence.

What would those people who consider virginity superfluous say at this point? For the more virginity is practiced the more praise it receives, whereas marriage is deprived of all praise especially when someone has used it immoderately. “I say this,” Paul declares, “by way of concession, not as a command.” [1 Cor 7:6] But where there is a concession there is no place for praise.” (St. John Chrysostom, On Virginity, Chapter XXXIV)

In this dogmatic light, it is evident that none of the holy Fathers speaks of marriage (much less of “sexual relations” themselves) as the way to spiritual enlightenment and knowledge of God, as do some “theologians” of more recent times. St. Gregory the Theologian lists in great detail the achievements of marriage, all mostly relating to culture and civilization, that is, the earthly goods. (St. Gregory the Theologian, “Parthenias epenos” (“In Praise of Virginity”), PG. 37, 563A). Such praises of marriage are woven by “those who are of one mind with their ribs,” that is, happily married. But nowhere among these “achievements” do they mention the matters of spiritual ascent, that is, knowledge of God and theosis. On the contrary, the Fathers say that, on the one hand, marriage and the things belonging to it constitute an obstacle to ascent; while on the other hand, the road upward is the road of purity, of self-control or, in a word, virginity.

And even this simple drawing near to God within marriage is possible only through exercising self-restraint. Whereas, “to be sure, marriage is deprived of all praise whatsoever, when one indulges in it to the point of satiety.” (St. John Chrysostom, “Peri Parthenias” (“On Virginity”), 48, PG 48, 557.) Then the words of St. Gregory of Nyssa hold true: “. . . lest through such passionate attachments (as in I Cor. 7:5) he become wholly flesh and blood, in whom the Spirit of God does not remain.” (St. Gregory of Nyssa, “Peri Parthenias” (“On Virginity”), 8, PG 46, 356D). Elsewhere the same Father says: “So, it seems that these examples are instructing us, through the remembrance of those great Prophets [that is, Elias and John], to become entangled in none of those things that are pursued in the world. Marriage is one of these things pursued; rather it is the beginning and root of the pursuit of things vain.” (St. Gregory of Nyssa, “Peri Parthenias” (“On Virginity”), 7, PG 46, 352D).

Whereas the Holy Father views marriage (and honorable marriage at that) in this way, he praises virginity, writing: “If one wishes carefully to examine the difference between this way of life (that is, marriage) and virginity, he will find it almost as great as the difference between earth and heaven.” (St. Gregory of Nyssa, “Peri Parthenias” (“On Virginity”), 3, PG 46, 355).

St. Gregory the Theologian is more specific in comparing the two life-styles. On virginity since the time of Christ, he writes: “Precisely then [that is, with Christ’s birth from the Virgin] did virginity shine brightly to mortals; free of the world, and freeing the feeble world. It so surpasses marriage and the fetters of the world even as the soul is apt to be more excellent than the flesh and the wide heaven than the earth; as the stable life of the blessed is more excellent than transitory life; as God is superior to man.” (St. Gregory the Theologian, “In Praise of Virginity”, PG 37, 538A)

This is precisely why virginity, and not marriage, has such power: “through itself it brought God down for participation in human life, while in itself it enables man to soar to the longing for the things of heaven.” (St. Gregory of Nyssa, “Peri Parthenias” (“On Virginity”), 2, PG 46, 324B)

Marriage does not attain such heights, for “even though marriage be honorable (Heb. 13:4), yet it can only go so far as not to defile those who engage in it. But to produce Saints is not within the power of marriage but of virginity.” (St. John Chrysostom, “Peri Parthenias” (“On Virginity”), 30, PG 48, 554). In response to those who ask how Abraham, being married, attained perfection, while so many virgins lost the kingdom of God (cf. Matt. 25:1-13), Saint John Chrysostom answers: “It was not marriage that made Abraham a Saint, nor virginity that destroyed those miserable maidens. But rather, what made the Patriarch illustrious was his soul’s other virtues, and likewise what handed the maidens over to the fire was their life’s other vices.” (St. John Chrysostom, “Peri Parthenias” (“On Virginity”), 382, PG 48, 593)

The correctness of this Patristic view on marriage and virginity, and the unfoundedness of the views of the new so called theologians, is confirmed by the Church’s life itself. The greatest Saints and servants of the divine mysteries were not the greatest lovers (and I am referring to human sexual love, about which the new “theologians” speak about), but the greatest practitioners of self-control.

The Church Fathers, well aware of the physical sexuality present in the Song of Songs, generally cautioned against reading it until a ‘mature spirituality’ had been obtained, lest the Song be misunderstood and lead the reader into temptation. Origen says, “I advise and counsel everyone who is not yet rid of the vexations of flesh and blood and has not ceased to feel the passion of his bodily nature, to refrain completely from reading this little book.” (Origen, Commentary on the Song of Songs, cited in Anchor Bible Commentary Song of Songs 117)

When asked for advice about what scriptural books a young girl should read, Jerome recommended the Psalms, Proverbs, Gospels, Acts and the Epistles, followed by the rest of the Old Testament. Of the Song however, Jerome counsels caution, saying “… she would fail to perceive that, though it is written in fleshly words, it is a marriage song of a spiritual bridal. And not understanding this, she would suffer from it.” (St. Jerome, Letter cvii, To Laeta, cited in Anchor Bible Commentary Song of Songs 119)

Indeed, “Do not think… that the body is made for intercourse. If you wish to understand… for what reason the body was made, then listen: it was made that it should be a temple to the Lord; that the soul, being holy and blessed, should act in it as if it were a priest serving before the Holy Spirit that dwells in you.” (Origen, Exegesis on 1 Corinthians 7:29)

It is not coincidental that in this day and age when almost all are heretics, many people are falsely interpreting King Solomon’s Song of Songs in a literal way instead of a figurative way that signify the spiritual relationship between God and the soul, and Christ and Our Lady, that the Holy Fathers did. The Fathers never interpreted the Song of Songs as a glorification of sex, and they unanimously rejected those impious and lustful people who tried to excuse their sensuality by perverting the Bible for the sake of their own lustful selfishness.

Bad parents will be tormented in a far greater fire for their bad example than those who remained chaste

Most people who beget children in this world do not carefully consider the ramifications of raising children. Their only concern is to please their selfish interests and unlawful sensual desires. But the moment after they have died and entered into the eternal spiritual reality, they shall all see the evil fruit of their ways. “For behold, the days shall come, wherein they will say: Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that have not borne, and the paps that have not given suck.”

Luke 23:27-31 “And there followed him a great multitude of people, and of women, who bewailed and lamented him. But Jesus turning to them, said: Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not over me; but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For behold, the days shall come, wherein they will say: ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that have not borne, and the paps that have not given suck.’ Then shall they begin to say to the mountains: ‘Fall upon us’; and to the hills: ‘Cover us.’ For if in the green wood they do these things, what shall be done in the dry?”

Haydock Bible Commentary adds, “Verse 31. In the green wood: by which are signified persons of virtue and sanctity; as by the dry wood, the wicked, who bring forth no fruit, and who, like dry wood, are fit to be cast into the fire. (Witham) --- If they be thus cruel with me [Jesus], how will they treat you!”

Simply said, those parents who beget and raise worldly and ungodly children for the sake of worldly and ungodly purposes will be tormented for an eternity in a far greater and more excruciating fire than a person who did not have children and remained chaste. Since they took upon themselves the great and heavy burden of raising children, they shall also have to answer to Our Lord for every moment of their life that they raised their children. By living a worldly, selfish and sensual lifestyle, most parents give the most abominable and sad example to their children, and this results in the child taking after the sins of the parents in almost every way. That is why an evil parent and child who will both be damned will torment each other for an eternity in Hell, since they were one of the greatest causes of their own damnation.

The Son of God spoke, saying: “Sometimes I let evil parents give birth to good children, but more often, evil children are born of evil parents, since these children imitate the evil and unrighteous deeds of their parents as much as they are able and would imitate it even more if my patience allowed them. Such a married couple will never see my face unless they repent. For there is no sin so heavy or grave that penitence and repentance does not wash it away.” (St. Bridget’s Revelations, Book 1, Chapter 26)

It is hard to imagine the rage and hatred that children will have against their parents, but if we consider that their hatred will be eternal and with a perfect knowledge of the fact that their parents greatly influenced them to be eternally damned, one can understand how great this hate will be. That is why every person should carefully consider the cost and labor of marrying and becoming a parent. Unless a person is ready to take responsibility for their children, they must remain chaste and pure, and as we have seen, this chastity will also greatly increase their chances of reaching Heaven.

And concerning the education and upbringing of one’s children, The Blessed Virgin Mary revealed the following words to Sister Mary of Agreda: “It is an act of justice due to the eternal God that the creature coming to the use of reason, direct its very first movement toward God. By knowing, it should begin to love Him, reverence Him and adore Him as its Creator and only true Lord. The parents are naturally bound to instruct their children from their infancy in this knowledge of God and to direct them with solicitous care, so that they may at once see their ultimate end and seek it in their first acts of the intellect and will. They should with great watchfulness withdraw them from the childishness and puerile trickishness to which depraved nature will incline them if left without direction. If the fathers and mothers would be solicitous to prevent these vanities and perverted habits of their children and would instruct them from their infancy in the knowledge of their God and Creator, then they would afterwards easily accustom them to know and adore Him. My holy mother [St. Anne], who knew not of my wisdom and real condition, was most solicitously beforehand in this matter, for when she bore me in her womb, she adored in my name the Creator and offered worship and thanks for his having created me, beseeching Him to defend me and bring me forth to the light of day from the condition in which I then was. So also parents should pray with fervor to God, that the souls of their children, through his Providence, may obtain Baptism and be freed from the servitude of original sin. And if the rational creature has not known and adored the Creator from the first dawn of reason, it should do this as soon as it obtains knowledge of the essential God by the light of faith. From that very moment the soul must exert itself never to lose Him from her sight, always fearing Him, loving Him, and reverencing Him.” (From The Mystical City of God, The Divine History and Life of The Virgin Mother of God, Book 1, Chapter 6)

Pope Pius XI, in Casti Connubii, adds that: “If a true Christian mother weigh well these things, she will indeed understand with a sense of deep consolation that of her the words of Our Savior were spoken: "A woman . . . when she hath brought forth the child remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world"; [John 16:21] and proving herself superior to all the pains and cares and solicitudes of her maternal office with a more just and holy joy than that of the Roman matron, the mother of the Gracchi, she will rejoice in the Lord crowned as it were with the glory of her offspring. Both husband and wife, however, receiving these children with joy and gratitude from the hand of God, will regard them as a talent committed to their charge by God, not only to be employed for their own advantage or for that of an earthly commonwealth, but to be restored to God with interest on the day of reckoning.

“The blessing of offspring, however, is not completed by the mere begetting of them, but something else must be added, namely the proper education of the offspring. For the most wise God would have failed to make sufficient provision for children that had been born, and so for the whole human race, if He had not given to those to whom He had entrusted the power and right to beget them, the power also and the right to educate them. For no one can fail to see that children are incapable of providing wholly for themselves, even in matters pertaining to their natural life, and much less in those pertaining to the supernatural, but require for many years to be helped, instructed, and educated by others. Now it is certain that both by the law of nature and of God this right and duty of educating their offspring belongs in the first place to those who began the work of nature by giving them birth, and they are indeed forbidden to leave unfinished this work and so expose it to certain ruin. But in matrimony provision has been made in the best possible way for this education of children that is so necessary, for, since the parents are bound together by an indissoluble bond, the care and mutual help of each is always at hand.

“Since, however, We have spoken fully elsewhere on the Christian education of youth, [in the encyclical Divini illius Magistri, 31 Dec. 1929] let Us sum it all up by quoting once more the words of St. Augustine: "As regards the offspring it is provided that they should be begotten lovingly and educated religiously," [St. Augustine, De Gen. ad litt., lib. IX] -- and this is also expressed succinctly in the [1917] Code of Canon Law: "The primary end of marriage is the procreation and the education of children." [Cod. iur. can., c. 1013 & 7]” (Pope Pius XI, Casti Connubii (#’s 15-17), Dec. 31, 1930)

Our Lord Jesus Christ must come before our family and friends according the Gospel of Mark

Our Lord Jesus Christ tells us in The Gospel of Mark that we must be able to leave behind even our own family members for the sake of God and the Kingdom of Heaven when necessity requires it.

“And Peter began to say unto him [Jesus]: ‘Behold, we have left all things, and have followed thee.’ Jesus answering, said: ‘Amen I say to you, there is no man who hath left house or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or children, or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, Who shall not receive an hundred times as much, now in this time; houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions: and in the world to come life everlasting. But many that are first, shall be last: and the last, first.’” (Mark 10:28-31)

Most people do not realize that in most cases, the very ones we hold the most dear and near are in fact also those who are the most dangerous to our eternal salvation. St. Alphonsus, speaking on detachment from relatives, says: “If attachment to relatives were not productive of great mischief Jesus Christ would not have so strenuously exhorted us to estrangement from them… a man’s enemies shall be they of his own household (Mt. 10:36)… Relatives are the worst enemies of the sanctification of Christians...” (The True Spouse of Jesus Christ, p. 96) That is why a person who intends to marry must be extremely careful to choose a pious and virtuous husband or wife. Only choosing a spouse based on physical beauty or money or any other worldly motive is completely insane since this person (for better or for worse) will greatly influence not only the souls of the children, but also that of the spouse.

Pope Pius XI, Casti Connubii (# 115), December 31, 1930: “To the proximate preparation of a good married life belongs very specially the care in choosing a partner; on that depends a great deal whether the forthcoming marriage will be happy or not, since one may be to the other either a great help in leading a Christian life, or, a great danger and hindrance. And so that they may not deplore for the rest of their lives the sorrows arising from an indiscreet marriage, those about to enter into wedlock should carefully deliberate in choosing the person with whom henceforward they must live continually: they should, in so deliberating, keep before their minds the thought first of God and of the true religion of Christ, then of themselves, of their partner, of the children to come, as also of human and civil society, for which wedlock is a fountain head. Let them diligently pray for divine help, so that they make their choice in accordance with Christian prudence, not indeed led by the blind and unrestrained impulse of lust, nor by any desire of riches or other base influence, but by a true and noble love and by a sincere affection for the future partner; and then let them strive in their married life for those ends for which the State [of Matrimony] was constituted by God. Lastly, let them not omit to ask the prudent advice of their parents with regard to the partner, and let them regard this advice in no light manner, in order that by their mature knowledge and experience of human affairs, they may guard against a disastrous choice, and, on the threshold of matrimony, may receive more abundantly the divine blessing of the fourth commandment: ‘Honor thy father and thy mother (which is the first commandment with a promise) that it may be well with thee and thou mayest be long-lived upon the earth.’ (Eph., VI, 2-3; Exod., XX, 12).”

A person who intends to marry must first ask themselves the question whether they would stay with the person they intend to marry if that person became poor or invalid or suffered some serious illness or accident that made him or her grotesque and ugly. Unless a person stays with their spouse in such a situation, they have committed a mortal sin and have broken the sacramental bond of Holy Matrimony which they promised to each other until death. “The happiness of marriage ought never to be estimated either by wealth or beauty, but by virtue. "Beauty," says the tragedy, "helps no wife with her husband; But virtue has helped many; for every good wife who is attached to her husband knows how to practice sobriety." Then, as giving admonitions, he says: "First, then, this is incumbent on her who is endowed with mind, That even if her husband be ugly, he must appear good looking; For it is for the mind, not the eye, to judge." And so forth.” (St. Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata or Miscellanies, Book IV, Chapter XX.--Of A Good Wife.)

St. John Chrysostom, in addressing the daily family problems of his age, argues that they are due to the absence of correct criteria in the choice of one’s spouse. He addresses himself to the parents who in that period played an important role in the choice, and he says to the father: “When you consider and look for a possible groom, pray and tell God, please send whomever you’d like, leave the situation up to Him, and since you have honored Him in this way, He will reward you. Always ask God to be a mediator in all of your works. For, if we dealt with all of our affairs in this way, there would never be a divorce, nor suspicion of adultery, nor cause for envy, nor battles and disputes, but we would enjoy great peace and harmony, and when there is harmony, other virtues will follow.” (To Maximos, ΕΠΕ, vol. 27, p. 208) This humble prayer and supplication to God for help in finding a suitable and pure spouse that will benefit ourselves and our children can of course be made by every person who desires to marry.

A successful marriage is one that regards success in terms of virtue rather than wealth. The husband must have a virtuous soul, goodness, prudence, and fear of God. Chrysostom says, “A young woman who is prudent, independent, and cultivates piety, is as valuable as the whole world.” (On the Letter to the Hebrews, Homily 20, ΕΠΕ, vol. 21, p. 236) “Many people who had amassed a great fortune lost it all, for they didn’t have a sensible wife capable of preserving it.” (On the Second Letter to the Thessalonians, Homily 5, ΕΠΕ, vol. 23, p. 112)

God wants us to enter marriage for pious and pure motives and not for selfish and impure motives. Concerning this, St. John Chrysostom explains that one should marry a woman for the sake of having a helpmate and a partner in our life, instead of for money or other evil and selfish reasons. “The very benefit God has given thee by nature, do not thou mar the help it was meant to be. So that it is not for her wealth that we ought to seek a wife: it is that we may receive a partner of our life, for the appointed order of the procreation of children. It was not that she should bring money, that God gave the woman; it was that she might be an helpmate.” (Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles, Homily XLIX, Acts XXIII. 6-30, Ver. 17)

Many men seek after a beautiful wife. Is this enough for a marriage to succeed? St. Chrysostom emphasizes that “the beauty of the body, when it is not accompanied by virtue of the soul, can imprison the husband for twenty or thirty days, it won’t last longer though, for when she shows her bad side, the love will be destroyed. When, however, women shine from the beauty of their souls, as time passes and increasingly reveals the nobility of their souls, their husbands are drawn ever closer to them.” (Sermon in Kalendais, ΕΠΕ, vol. 31, p. 490)

The Catholic Church from the very beginning of its foundation by Our Lord Jesus Christ has always taught and admonished future spouses that they should not enter marriages for lustful or worldly motives, and that is also why, in about the year 110, the Holy Bishop Saint Ignatius of Antioch (who were taught by the Apostles) taught that “those who are married should be united with the consent of their bishop, to be sure that they are marrying according to the Lord and not to satisfy their lust.” (Ignatius To Polycarp 5)

The love of good spouses are thus concentrated on the things that are eternal and heavenly, rather than the things that are perishable, fleshly and of a sensual nature. Indeed, this truth of loving one’s spouse with a heavenly love was so perfectly mirrored in the life of St. Peter that “They say that the blessed Peter, on seeing his wife led to death, rejoiced on account of her call and conveyance home [to Heaven], and called very encouragingly and comfortingly, addressing her by name, "Remember thou the Lord." Such was the marriage of the blessed, and their perfect disposition towards those dearest to them. Thus also the apostle says, "that he who marries should be as though he married not," and deem his marriage free of inordinate affection, and inseparable from love to the Lord; to which the true husband exhorted his wife to cling on her departure out of this life to the Lord.” (St. Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata or Miscellanies, Book VII, Chapter XI)

St. Gregory Nazianzen says that marriage indeed is good, as long as those who enter it have motives that are honorable and pure: “It is good to marry; I too admit it, for marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled. [Heb. 13:4] It is good for the temperate, not for those who are insatiable, and who desire to give more than due honor to the flesh. When marriage is only marriage and conjunction and the desire for a succession of children, marriage is honorable, for it brings into the world more to please God. But when it kindles matter, and surrounds us with thorns, and as it were discovers the way of vice, then I too say, It is not good to marry.” (Orations of St. Gregory Nazianzen, Oration XXXVII, Section IX)

Thus, it is evident that one should not concentrate on physical characteristics or riches and similar things if one intends to enter marriage. Rather, if one wants to please Our Lord and really desires what’s best for oneself and one’s children, bodily and spiritually, one must concentrate first-and-foremost on how the other spouse one intends to marry is spiritually disposed. For troubles, contradictions, accidents and illnesses will always be a normal part in marriage and every day life for all people, and there is no real way to protect oneself from such things.

The chaste and mortified servants of Christ saves more souls

Today, the fact that the two virtues of chastity and mortification of the senses are special in helping to save one’s own and other peoples souls, has been almost completely forgotten. Our Lady of Fatima testified to this truth, when, after appearing to the Children of Fatima, She said, “Sacrifice yourselves for sinners and say often, especially when you make some sacrifice, ‘O my Jesus, this is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.’” Our Lady further said, “Pray, pray a great deal and make many sacrifices, for many souls go to Hell because they have no one to make sacrifices and to pray for them.”

In truth, because the sensual attraction and desire in human beings is so strong and hard to resist, all those people who manfully labor in interior mortifications and sacrifices, rejecting their carnal nature for the Love of God and of Souls, shall also be rewarded for their sacrifices by God in the same measure as they were able to resist their sensuality: “Amen, I [Jesus] say to you, there is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, who shall not receive much more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.” (Luke 18:29) Not only will the chaste be rewarded with a greater reward in Heaven but they will also help to draw down abundant blessings from Heaven by their prayers which has a greater power to shower humanity with the dew of grace, helping and spurring on carnal people to admire and respect the wonderful, pure and simple lifestyle of those who actually decide to live in the angelic life of chastity and self-denial for the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

For most people it is very hard to remain chaste or deny themselves their sensual appetites since they are worldly and the fallen nature of the flesh draws them to a fleshly and sensual lifestyle. And that is precisely the reason for why a person who renounces the world and its fleeting pleasures is more effective in attracting and saving souls, and in drawing down abundant blessings from God. St. Paul, in fact, seems to allude to this in his letter to the Galatians, when he says: “But that Jerusalem, which is above, is free: which is our mother. For it is written: Rejoice, thou barren, that bearest not: break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for many are the children of the desolate, more than of her that hath a husband.” (Galatians 4:26-27)

St. Paul here tells us that those who are barren and have not given birth to children beget many children and even “more than of her that hath a husband.” But how can a barren person have more children than those who are married? In truth, many times spiritual children are brought into Heaven and the arms of Our Heavenly Lord by those chosen vessels of Our Lord who have renounced the small and fleeting pleasures of the world by practicing mortifications and penances and the virtue of chastity. Simply said, a person who renounces the world and its pleasures sets a great example to others, encouraging them to not live for their own selfish fleshly pleasures. One can accurately say that a person’s reward in Heaven will correspond perfectly to the amount of virtue that he practiced during this short life. The more one practices virtue, the greater one will be rewarded in Heaven, and conversely, the less one practices virtue, the less will also one’s reward in Heaven be. Many men can indeed preach about holiness and good deeds, but there are few who actually put their words into practice. Mere words are as nothing compared to a person that actually lives a life of holiness and virtue. For instance, one single person like St. Francis of Assisi would do much more good by his mere example to others than what 100 other men would do by simply preaching about it.

Indeed, since the common knowledge of the labor and hardship of living in chastity and self-denial makes both God and men value and appreciate those who take upon themselves a pure, mortified and chaste lifestyle for the love of God, the direct effect on the sinner of the example of a virtuous and chaste man is that the sinner reflects on his own life and considers the fact that he is living a very degrading and sensual life filled with a selfish agenda. This shame for his sensual life then makes him try to amend in order to become more like a true servant of Christ. When holy and pure servants of Christ shows a good example to others, like the great St. Francis of Assisi, sinners feel ashamed over their sensual, worldly lifestyle, thinking that since this holy and pure person can reach such a level of purity and simplicity, they at least should be able to reach a level of virtue that it is in accordance to the law of Christ. But this is not all that the holy and chaste servants of Christ does, for they also inspire people who are already good to become even better, and to increase their virtue, spurring them on to adopt a life of chastity and self-sacrifice for the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ. In truth, chaste and holy servants of Our Lord draws down abundant blessings from God, and gives birth to many spiritual children by their holy and good example and life and, in fact, “more than of her that hath a husband.” Thus, “continence from all intercourse is indeed better even than the intercourse of marriage itself, which takes place for the sake of begetting.” (St. Augustine)

If all of these blessings that we have now seen that the chaste life provides was all this life could provide, it would undoubtedly be enough and more than enough, but chastity or virginity not only helps oneself and others become saved, but it also helps a person stay away from mortal or venial sins in this life, which in truth is one of the most important things we all must strive for if we want to be saved: “This doctrine of the excellence of virginity and of celibacy and of their superiority over the married state was, as we have already said, revealed by our Divine Redeemer [Our Lord Jesus Christ] and by the Apostle of the Gentiles [St. Paul]; so too, it was solemnly defined as a dogma of divine faith by the Holy Council of Trent [in Session 24, Canon 10], and explained in the same way by all the Holy Fathers and Doctors of the Church.” (Pope Pius XII, Sacra Virginitas (# 32), March 25th, 1954)

The devil and his servants on this earth as well as a person’s sensual desires hinder weak-willed souls from adopting a more virtuous and chaste life

St. Augustine, in his famous work “The Confessions of Saint Augustine,” explains to us how the Devil and our own fleshly lusts and desires many times deceives us, and tries to get us to refuse or delay a good, chaste and holy life: Why, therefore, do we delay to abandon our hopes of this world, and give ourselves wholly to seek after God and the blessed life? But stay! Even those things are enjoyable; and they possess some and no little sweetness. We must not abandon them lightly, for it would be a shame to return to them again. Behold, now is it a great matter to obtain some post of honor! And what more could we desire? We have crowds of influential friends, though we have nothing else, and if we make haste a presidentship may be offered us; and a wife with some money, that she increase not our expenses; and this shall be the height of desire. Many men, who are great and worthy of imitation, have applied themselves to the study of wisdom in the marriage state. Whilst I talked of these things, and these winds veered about and tossed my heart hither and there, the time passed on; but I was slow to turn to the Lord, and from day to day deferred to live in You, and deferred not daily to die in myself. Being enamored of a happy life, I yet feared it in its own abode, and, fleeing from it, sought after it. I conceived that I should be too unhappy were I deprived of the embracements of a woman; and of Your merciful medicine to cure that infirmity I thought not, not having tried it. As regards continency, I imagined it to be under the control of our own strength (though in myself I found it not), being so foolish as not to know what is written, that none can be continent unless Thou give it; and that You would give it, if with heartfelt groaning I should knock at Your ears, and should with firm faith cast my care upon You.” (St. Augustine, The Confessions of Augustine, Book VI, Chapter XI, A.D. 398)

Indeed, one will often see when reading the lives of the saints how their worldly family and friends (inspired by the devil or the world) tried in every way possible to dissuade them from adopting the heavenly and angelic lifestyle of chastity, and in some cases, their family or friends even tried to physically hinder them from dedicating their lives to the perpetual service of Our Lord Jesus Christ. For instance, when St. Thomas Aquinas chose to become a Dominican friar (c. 1245) he met with: “severe opposition from his family… St. Thomas was literally captured by his brothers and imprisoned in the family castle… The most dramatic episode of his imprisonment, came when his brothers sent a temptress to his quarters. As soon as St. Thomas saw that the girl’s intention was to seduce him, he ran to the fireplace, seized a burning stick and, brandishing it, chased her from the room with it. Then he traced a cross on the wall with the charred wood. When he fell asleep soon afterward, he dreamed that two Angels came and girded him about the waist with a cord, saying: ‘On God’s behalf we gird you with the girdle of chastity, a girdle which no attack will ever destroy.’” (33 Doctors of the Church, p. 367)

St. John the Apostle was loved by Our Lord with a special love because of his great love for chastity and purity

It is related by the Holy Abbot Joseph, in The Conferences of John Cassian (c. 420) how Our Lord Jesus Christ loved the Blessed Apostle St. John with a special love above the other Apostles because of his virginity and great purity: “This also, we read, was very clearly shown in the case of John the Evangelist, where these words are used of him: "that disciple whom Jesus loved," [John 13:23] though certainly He embraced all the other eleven, whom He had chosen in the same way, with His special love, as this He shows also by the witness of the gospel, where He says: "As I have loved you, so do ye also love one another;" of whom elsewhere also it is said: "Loving His own who were in the world, He loved them even to the end." [John 13:34,1] But this love of one in particular did not indicate any coldness in love for the rest of the disciples, but only a fuller and more abundant love towards the one, which his prerogative of virginity and the purity of his flesh bestowed upon him.” (Conference 16, Chapter XIV, On Friendship)

Referring to one of the legends associated with the wedding feast at Cana, Alcuin, an eminent educator, scholar, and theologian born about 735; died 19 May, 804, reported that the bridegroom at that wedding feast was none other than St. John the beloved apostle. Having seen the miraculous power of Jesus in his changing water into wine, John left his bride in order to follow Jesus. Of course, St. John did so before consummating his marriage, thus preserving his virginity. (Alcuin, Commentarium in Joannem, Book 1, chapter 2, verse 8, PL 100:771-772)

Indeed, as we can see, the purity of the most beloved Apostle of Our Lord and his renunciation of this world is clearly put forth in his writings: “Love not the world, nor the things which are in the world. If any man love the world, the charity of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, is the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life, which is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the concupiscence thereof: but he that doth the will of God, abideth for ever.” (1 John 2:15-17) Thus, from the beginning, Our Lord Jesus Christ taught St. John and the Holy Apostles those wondrous words of chastity and purity that are found in Holy Scripture, inspiring them to not love the world or its empty and fleeting pleasures, telling them to leave the marital life and sexual relations behind in order to be able to perfectly embrace Our Lord and their priestly duty.

The Life and Revelations of St. Gertrude the Great” (1256-1302) reveals the following interesting and marvelous information about chastity and the virginity of St. John the Apostle, and how all those who faithfully persevere in chastity until their death are especially loved and honored by Our Lord in Heaven: “On another occasion during the same feast [of St. John], as the Saint took great satisfaction in the frequent praises which were given to the [same] Apostle for his perfect virginity, she asked this special friend of God to obtain by his prayers that we might preserve our chastity with such care as to merit a share in his praises. St John replied: "He who would participate in the beatitude which my victories have won, must run as I ran when on earth." Then he added: "I frequently reflected on the sweet familiarity and friendship with which I was favored by Jesus, my most Loving Lord and Master, in reward for my chastity, and for having watched so carefully over my words and actions that I never tarnished this virtue in the slightest degree. The Apostles separated themselves from such company as they considered doubtful, but mixed freely with what was not (as it is remembered in the Acts, that they were with the women, and Mary the Mother of Jesus); I never avoided women when there was an opportunity of rendering them any service, either of body or soul; but I still watched over myself with extreme vigilance, and always implored the assistance of God when charity obliged me to assist them in any way. Therefore these words are chanted of me: In tribulatione invocasti me et exaudivi te [Thou calledst upon me in affliction, and I delivered thee](Psalm 80:8).

“For God never permitted my affection to render anyone less pure; wherefore I received this recompense from My beloved Master, that my chastity is more praised than any other Saint [after Our Lord and Our Lady]; and I have obtained a more eminent rank in Heaven, where, by a special privilege, I receive with extreme pleasure the rays of this love, which is as a mirror without spot and the brightness of eternal light. So that, being placed before this Divine love, whose brightness I receive each time that my chastity is commemorated in the Church, my loving Master salutes me in a most sweet and affable manner, filling my inmost soul with such joy, that it penetrates into all its powers and sentiments like a delicious beverage. And thus the words, Ponan te sicut signaculum in conspectu meo [I will make thee as a signet in my sight, for I have chosen thee] (Haggai 2:24), are sung of me; that is, I am placed as a receptacle for the effusions of the sweetest and most ardent charity."

“Then St. Gertrude, being raised to a higher degree of knowledge, understood by these words of Our Lord in the Gospel, "In My Father’s house there are many mansions" (John 14:2); that there are three mansions in the heavenly kingdom, which correspond with three classes of persons who have preserved their virginity.

“… At Communion, as she [St. Gertrude] prayed for the Church, but felt a want of fervor, she prayed to Our Lord to give her fervor, if her petitions were agreeable to Him; and immediately she beheld a variety of colors: white, which indicated the purity of the virgins; violet, which symbolized confessors and religious; red, which typified the martyrs; and other colors, according to the merits of the Saints. Then, as she feared to approach Our Lord because she was not adorned with any of these colors, she was inspired by the Holy Ghost, "who teaches man wisdom," to return thanks to God for all those who had been elevated to the grace and state of virginity; beseeching Him, by the love which made Him be born of a Virgin for us, to preserve all in the Church to whom He had vouchsafed this favor in most perfect purity of body and soul, for His own honor and glory; and immediately she beheld her soul adorned with the same shining whiteness as the souls of the virgins.” (The Life and Revelations of Saint Gertrude, Book 4, Chapter 4 & 56)

St. Chrysostom explains that the only profitable thing for us to do while on this earth is to shun the perishable and carnal, instead searching for the heavenly and eternal, and this glorious path of shunning the earthly and carnal that reaches all the way into Heaven is most perfectly walked on by all those who have adopted the pure life of chastity like the Apostles and the other chaste servants of Christ, thus freeing themselves from many earthly and carnal troubles: “Is it a fine thing to build one’s self splendid houses, to have servants, to lie and gaze at a gilded roof? Why then, assuredly, it is superfluous and unprofitable. For other buildings there are, far brighter and more majestic than these: on such we must gladden our eyes, for there is none to hinder us. Wilt thou see the fairest of roofs? At eventide look upon the starred heaven. ‘But,’ saith some one, ‘this roof is not mine.’ Yet in truth this is more thine than that other. For thee it was made, and is common to thee and to thy brethren: the other is not thine, but theirs who after thy death inherit it. The one may do thee the greatest service, guiding thee by its beauty to its Creator; the other the greatest harm, becoming they greatest accuser on the Day of Judgment, inasmuch as it is covered with gold, while Christ hath not even needful raiment. Let us not, I entreat you, be subject to such folly, let us not pursue things which flee away, and flee those which endure: let us not betray our own salvation, but hold fast to our hope of what shall be hereafter: the aged, as certainly knowing that but a little space of life is left us; the young, as well persuaded that what is left is not much. For that day cometh so as a thief in the night. Knowing this, let wives exhort their husbands, and husbands admonish their wives; let us teach youths and maidens, and all instruct one another, to care not for present things, but to desire those which are to come.” (St. Chrysostom, Hom. XLVII in Jn.; PG 59.268-270)

The Holy Bible teaches that those who do not remarry after their spouse have died become “more blessed” through their chastity, and that the ministers of the Lord cannot remarry after their wife have died as well as that all of them must be totally “chaste”

The Holy Ghost and the Church from its foundation insisted on the inherent goodness and virtue of chastity, and of abstaining from remarriage after the death of one’s spouse by requiring that the men who wanted to become ministers of the Lord had been married only once in order for them even to be able to become bishops, priests or deacons: “A faithful saying: if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. It behoveth therefore a bishop to be blameless, the husband of one wife, sober, prudent, of good behavior, chaste, given to hospitality, a teacher... Let deacons be the husbands of one wife... ordain priests in every city, as I also appointed thee: If any be without crime, the husband of one wife...” (1 Timothy 3:1-2,12; Titus 1:5-6)

Douay Rheims Bible Commentary explains that the meaning of the words of one wifeis not that every bishop should have a wife (for St. Paul himself had none), but that no one should be admitted to the holy orders of bishop, priest, or deacon, who had been married more than once.” Indeed, Holy Scripture itself teaches that a widow will become more blessed if she do not remarry, which confirms this teaching of God and His Church: “But more blessed shall she be, if she so remain, [that is, a widow] according to my counsel; and I think that I also have the spirit of God.” (1 Cor. 7:40) This proves to us, once and for all, that God wants both men and women to stay unmarried after their spouse have died and that their virtuous life is “more blessed” when compared to those who get married again.

While there is no sin in remarrying after the death of one’s spouse for those who are not ministers of the Lord, the Church’s insistence on the inherent spiritual goodness for both men and women to turn to chastity and purity after one’s spouse has died is quite obvious, and only the most desperate liars and deceivers (like protestants and other heretics who wants to flout this infallible biblical rule in order to remarry while calling themselves priests or ministers of God) can even dare to deny this obvious biblical truth.

Tertullian (160-220 A.D.), although married, perceived marriage as a state in which carnal desire could easily lead people away from God. His teaching about sexuality can be read in his work called “Exhortation to Chastity.” There he lists three forms of virginity. The ideal form was “virginity from one’s birth.” Next there was “renunciation of sexual connection,” a form of virginity undertaken after a man and a woman contracted marriage which the Church extols as the highest form of heroic virtue married couples can practice. The third form of virginity consisted in “marrying no more after the disjunction of matrimony by death.” (Tertullian, Exhortation to Chastity, in Ante Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV)

This final form of virginity was to be accomplished in two stages. In the first stage the husband would try to cut down marital activity to a minimum. Then, when his wife died, he would refrain from remarriage. Tertullian’s work called “To His Wife” advised widows “to love the opportunity of continence” and he viewed a second marriage as “repeating the servitude of matrimony,” a rejection of “the liberty offered by the death of one’s spouse.” Married couples had to live in a state of life where marital relations were expected. After the death of a spouse the survivor was spiritually better off because he or she was no longer subject to the Pauline requirement of rendering the “marriage debt.” Since second marriages were “detrimental to faith” and “obstructive to holiness,” it is safe to say that Tertullian saw scant spiritual goodness in remarriage when he compared this state of life with the angelic life of chastity.

St. Methodius, Banquet of the Ten Virgins (c. 311 A.D.): “But we must now examine carefully the apostle’s language respecting men who have lost their wives, and women who have lost their husbands, and what he declares on this subject. "I say therefore," he goes on, "to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn." Here also he persisted in giving the preference to continence. For, taking himself as a notable example, in order to stir them up to emulation, he challenged his hearers to this state of life, teaching that it was better that a man who had been bound to one wife should henceforth remain single, as he also did. But if, on the other hand, this should be a matter of difficulty to any one, on account of the strength of animal passion, he allows that one who is in such a condition may, "by permission," contract a second marriage; not as though he expressed the opinion that a second marriage was in itself good, but judging it better than burning. … Thus also the apostle speaks here, first saying that he wished all were healthy and continent, as he also was, but afterwards allowing a second marriage to those who are burdened with the disease of the passions, lest they should be wholly defiled by fornication, goaded on by the itchings of the organs of generation to promiscuous intercourse, considering such a second marriage far preferable to burning and indecency.”

People living in chastity are “the firstfruits to God and to the Lamb” according to the Book of Revelation or the Apocalypse

The Book of Revelation or The Apocalypse is remarkable in its description of future tribulations that await humanity. It does, however, also describe how a select few who are “the firstfruits to God and to the Lamb… [who] were purchased from the earth. These are they who were not defiled with women: for they are virgins. These follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.

Apocalypse 14:1-5 “And I beheld, and lo a lamb stood upon mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty-four thousand, having his name, and the name of his Father, written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the noise of many waters, and as the voice of great thunder; and the voice which I heard, was as the voice of harpers, harping on their harps. And they sung as it were a new canticle, before the throne, and before the four living creatures, and the ancients; and no man could say the canticle, but those hundred forty-four thousand, who were purchased from the earth. These are they who were not defiled with women: for they are virgins. These follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were purchased from among men, the firstfruits to God and to the Lamb: And in their mouth there was found no lie; for they are without spot before the throne of God.”

These words are remarkable and an outstanding and irrefutable proof of the greatness of the virtue of chastity. The honor God gives to those who practice chastity or virginity is especially described in these words: “And they sung as it were a new canticle, before the throne, and before the four living creatures, and the ancients; and no man could say the canticle, but those hundred forty-four thousand, who were purchased from the earth. Notice how no one “could say the canticle” but those who practiced the virtue of chastity or virginity. This, of course, totally rejects and demolishes the heretical position that living in chastity is nothing special compared with marriage, thus showing us once again that chastity is an especially holy and good deed.

St. Jerome writes, “‘These are they who sing a new song [Rev. 14:3] which no man can sing except he be a virgin. These are the first fruits unto God and unto the Lamb,’ [Rev. 14:4] and they are without spot. If virgins are the first fruits unto God, then widows and wives who live in continence must come after the first fruits—that is to say, in the second place and in the third. … It is in your power, if you will, to mount the second step of chastity. [2 Tim. 2:20, 21] Why are you angry if, standing on the third and lowest step, you will not make haste to go up higher?” (The Letters of St. Jerome, Letter XLVIII, To Pammachius, Section 10, 11, A.D. 394)

Following Our Lord in perfection, purity and holiness, “Out of each tribe, except the tribe of Dan, the place of which is taken by the tribe of Levi, twelve thousand virgins who have been sealed are spoken of as future believers, who have not defiled themselves with women. And that we may not suppose the reference to be to those who have not had relations with harlots, he immediately added, "for they continued virgins." Whereby he shows that all who have not preserved their virginity, in comparison with the pure and angelic chastity and of our Lord Jesus Christ himself, are defiled.” (St. Jerome, Against Jovinian 1:40, A.D. 420) Simply said, those who choose to live in chastity greatly increases their chance of reaching Heaven, which is also why the Holy Scripture teaches us not indulge our sensual appetites: “Go not after thy lusts, but turn away from thy own will.” (Ecclesiasticus 18:30) And so, “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, to refrain yourselves from carnal desires which war against the soul.” (1 Peter 2:11)

Widows and all those who have vowed their chastity to Our Lord must remain pure and chaste until their death, or else they will have “damnation” according to the Holy Bible

In St. Paul’s First Letter to Timothy, St. Paul gives Timothy great and edifying lessons concerning widows, and also explains to him that those who have vowed their chastity and whole self to Christ as his or her eternal Spouse must continue in this state until their death, or else they will have “damnation”.

1 Timothy 5:1-3, 5-6, 9-13, 15: “[Entreat] Old women, as mothers: young women, as sisters, in all chastity. Honor widows, that are widows indeed… But she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, let her trust in God, and continue in supplications and prayers night and day. For she that liveth in pleasures, is dead while she is living… Let a widow be chosen of no less than threescore years of age, who hath been the wife of one husband. Having testimony for her good works, if she have brought up children, if she have received to harbor, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have ministered to them that suffer tribulation, if she have diligently followed every good work. But the younger widows avoid. For when they have grown wanton in Christ, they will marry: Having damnation, because they have made void their first faith. And withal being idle they learn to go about from house to house: and are not only idle, but tattlers also, and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not. I will therefore that the younger should marry, bear children, be mistresses of families, give no occasion to the adversary to speak evil. For some are already turned aside after Satan.”

Haydock Commentary explains these verses: “Ver. 2. All chastity refers to the heart, eyes, ears, words, looks, with the precautions of times and places. --- Ver. 5. She that is a widow indeed, and desolate, (destitute of help, as the Greek word implieth) may be maintained; and then let her be constant in prayers and devotions night and day. (Witham) --- Every Christian soul is a widow of Jesus Christ, who has been forcibly torn from her: and in her communications with heaven she ought to offer up an afflicted and humbled heart—the heart of a widow. It is thus she will avoid the dangers of the world, and secure true life in unchangeable felicity. (Haydock) --- Ver. 6. For she that liveth in pleasure, (i.e. that seeks to live in ease and plenty) is dead while she is living, by the spiritual death of her soul in sin. (Witham) --- Ver. 11. As for the younger widows, admit them not into that number; for when they have grown wanton in Christ, which may signify in the Church of Christ, or as others translate, against Christ; when they have been nourished in plenty, indulging their appetite in eating and drinking, in company and conversation, in private familiarities, and even sometimes in sacrilegious fornications against Christ and their vows, they are for marrying again. See St. Jerome. (Witham)”

Ver. 12. Having, or incurring and making themselves liable to damnation, by a breach of their first faith, their vow or promise, (Witham) by which they had engaged themselves to Christ. (Challoner) --- Ver. 13. Idle, &c. He shews by what steps they fall. Neglecting their prayers, they give themselves to idleness; they go about visiting from house to house; they are carried away with curiosity to hear what passes, and speak what they ought not of their neighbor’s faults. (Witham) --- Ver. 14. The younger (widows) should marry. They who understand this of a command or exhortation to all widows to marry, make St. Paul contradict himself, and the advice he gave to widows [in] 1 Corinthians vii. where he says, (ver. 40.) She (the widow) will be more happy if she so remain according to my counsel; [i.e., in chastity] and when it is there said, I would have all to be as myself [that is, in a chaste and unmarried state]. He can therefore only mean such young widows, of whom he is speaking, that are like to do worse. Thus it is expounded by St. Jerome to Sabina: "Let her rather take a husband than the devil." And in another epistle, to Ageruchia: "It is better to take a second husband than many adulterers." St. Chrysostom on this verse: "I will, or would have such to marry, because they themselves will do it." See also St. Augustine, de Bono viduitatis, chap. viii. (Witham)”

Ver. 15. For some are already turned aside after Satan, by breaking the vows they had made. "Yet it does not follow, (says St. Augustine in the same place [de Bono viduitatis, chap. viii.]) that they who abstain not from such sins may marry after their vows. They might indeed marry before they vowed; but this being done, unless they keep them they justly incur damnation." "Why is it, (says he again, on Psalm lxxv.) they made void their first faith? but that they made vows, and kept them not. But let not this (says he) make you abstain from such vows [of virginity or chastity], for you are not to comply with them by your own strength; you will fall, if you presume on yourselves; but if you confide in him to whom you made these vows, you will securely comply with them." How different was the doctrine and practice of the first and chief of the late pretended reformers, who were many of them apostates after such vows? (Witham)”

Those blessed men and women of Our Lord who enter into a Heavenly Marriage with Our Bridegroom, Our Lord Jesus Christ, commit literal adultery if they at some point in time should change their mind and “marry” another person, or have sexual relations with anyone. In former times, adultery was heavily punished, and even today, most people recognize that adultery is an especially evil deed. But if committing adultery against a human and mortal person is so shameful and evil, how much more evil must it not to be unfaithful, to reject or defile one’s eternal marriage to Our Lord Jesus Christ, Our Heavenly Spouse, and commit adultery with a mortal man or woman like a filthy adulterer? That is why all those who have vowed their chastity to Christ, and then breaks it, are damned.

St. Philip the Apostle had four daughters, virgins, whom Eusebius, a roman historian, testifies to have always remained such. St. Paul kept virginity or celibacy all his life; so did St. John and St. James; and when St. Paul (1 Timothy 5:12) reproves, as having damnation, certain young widows who, after they have grown wanton in Christ will marry, having damnation because they have left their first faith, – the fourth Council of Carthage (at which St. Augustine assisted) St. Epiphanius, St. Jerome, with all the rest of antiquity, understand it of widows who, being vowed to God and to the observance of chastity, broke their vows, entering into the ties of “marriage” against the first faith which previously they had given to Christ, their Spouse.

Gratian, Medieval Marriage Law: “But a more excellent reward is proposed for virgins and widows who practice continence. When this course is considered, elected, and promised by the required vow, not only marrying, but even wishing to marry, is damnable. The Apostle proves then when he says, not of those marrying for sensuality, but of those marrying in Christ [1 Tim. 5:11-12], "they will wish to marry, and are to be condemned because they have broken their first promise." They are here condemned not for marrying, but for wishing to marry. It is not marriage in general, or even these marriages in particular, that are condemned. He condemns the denial of their dedication, and condemns the broken faith of their vow. It is not choosing a lower good that is condemned, but falling from a higher good. They are condemned, not because they later embrace conjugal fidelity, but because they brake their earlier pledge of continence… So, when he said, "they will wish to marry," and adds immediately "and are to be condemned," he then explains why, "because they have broken their first promise." This shows that their desire to abandon their dedication is condemned, whether they later marry or not.” (Marriage Canons From The Decretum, Case Twenty-Seven, Question I, Part 2., C. 41. §1)

These verses from the Bible also proves that Martin Luther committed a most grievous sacrilege and unfaithfulness against Our Lord when he rejected his vow of chastity and spiritual marriage to Jesus Christ. Martin Luther professed himself to be a Catholic monk once in his life before he apostatized and rejected the one and only biblical faith—Catholicism. The Devil indeed needed a servant who would publicly reject purity and indulge in the marital life against his vow of chastity, and he found a perfect candidate in the apostate and heretic Martin Luther.

In light of his mortal sin of adultery, it is not hard to understand why Martin Luther dared to teach, amongst his other countless heresies, that Christ Our Lord sinned mortally by committing adultery with three women. Luther said:

Christ committed adultery first of all with the women at the well about whom St. John tells us. Was not everybody about Him saying: ‘Whatever has He been doing with her?’ Secondly, with Mary Magdalene, and thirdly with the woman taken in adultery whom He dismissed so lightly. Thus even, Christ who was so righteous, must have been guilty of fornication before He died.” (Trishreden, Weimer Edition, Vol. 2, Pg. 107)

What an accursed and intolerable blasphemy from a man who is regarded as a “great reformer” by his duped followers! Luther also said that “No sin can separate us from Him [God], even if we were to kill or commit adultery thousands of times each day.” (‘Let Your Sins Be Strong,’ from ‘The Wittenberg Project;’ ‘The Wartburg Segment’, translated by Erika Flores, from Dr. Martin Luther’s Saemmtliche Schriften, Letter No. 99, 1 Aug. 1521)

One can understand why Luther also took the position that God was the author of evil and that man has no free will, for Luther’s sins needed to be excused: “… with regard to God, and in all that bears on salvation or damnation, (man) has no ‘free-will’, but is a captive, prisoner and bond slave, either to the will of God, or to the will of Satan.” (From the essay, ‘Bondage of the Will,’ ‘Martin Luther: Selections From His Writings,’ ed. by Dillenberger, Anchor Books, 1962 p. 190) “God,” Luther says, “excites us to sin, and produces sin in us.” (De Servo Arbitrio, Opp. Jenae, tom. iii., p. 170.) “God damns some,” he adds, “who have not merited this lot, and others, before they were born.” (Opp. Jena;, iii., 199; and Wittemb., torn, vi., fol. 522-23)

Luther also told his dupes to “be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly… No sin will separate us from the Lamb, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day.” (Martin Luther, Letter to Melanchthon, August 1, 1521)

It is indeed true that those who impiously claim (like Luther, Calvin and other protestants) that we humans have no free will, also agree that God is the cause of our sins, for if we have no free will, God created those who are damned only in order to be damned without any chance for them of repenting or being saved. According to this satanic view, God created those who are going to be damned with the explicit intention that they were going to be damned. It is safe to say that this false conception of God is pure evil, conceived by the devil himself. According to this evil and perverse worldview, we could not even do good with the grace of God if we wanted to since we have no free will! (Please read this article about Martin Luther which reveals over 100 quotations of Martin Luther’s words and teachings which are so horrifying and disgusting that it’s almost beyond words to describe)

Only the most desperate liars, fools and dupes (that is, protestants) could delude themselves into believing that the impure and demonic spawn from hell, Martin Luther, was anything but a deceiver and apostate. Martin Luther rejected the Bible, the Church, and his marriage and vow of Chastity to Jesus Christ and “married” a woman and had children before he died, and as a consequence, was cast into the Eternal Fire of Hell for his heresies, apostasies, infidelities, adulteries, and other mortal sins.

Romans 13:12-14 “Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day: not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and impurities, not in contention and envy: But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh in its concupiscences.

The Bible and the Fathers, Popes, Saints and Doctors of the Church unanimously teach that chastity and virginity is above the marital life

It is the unanimous opinion of the Fathers and Saints of the Church that no one, without exception, can reach the highest kind of union with God without the wonderful virtue of chastity, and that “virgins consecrated to God are most pleasing and dear to Him”. In addition to this, the Catholic Church and The Council of Trent also teaches infallibly that it is “better and more blessed to remain in virginity, or in celibacy, than to be united in matrimony” which, as we have seen, is a restatement of Our Lord Jesus Christ’s words through the mouth of St. Paul in the Holy Bible that teaches us that a life of chastity is better than the marital life: “Therefore, both he that giveth his virgin in marriage, doth well; and he that giveth her not, doth better. ... But more blessed shall she be, if she so remain [in chastity], according to my counsel; and I think that I also have the spirit of God.” (1 Corinthians 7:38-40)

This, of course, means both inner and outer chastity; for there is no point in being chaste outwardly if the will or intent is unchaste and consents to impure thoughts. Chastity is first-and-foremost found in the heart of man, and that is why even a married man who performs his marital duty can be said to be chaste in a way, that is, in his thoughts, as long as his intention is not to live a lustful life. Thus, “The incorrupt soul is a virgin, even if having a husband.” (Chrysostom, Hom. XXVIII in Heb.; PG 63.201.) But chastity in deeds as well as in thoughts and at all times is of course always superior to this state of marital relations. “Virginity is better than marriage, however good.” (St. John Damascene, Expo. IV.24.) “That virginity is good I do agree. But that it is even better than marriage, this I do confess.” (St. John Chrysostom, The Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol. 2: 1116)

Indeed, “As firstfruits are the most delicious, so virgins consecrated to God are most pleasing and dear to him. The spouse in the canticles feedeth among the lilies? One of the sacred interpreters, explaining these words, says, that ‘as the devil revels in the uncleanness of lust, so Christ feeds on the lilies of chastity.’ Venerable Bede asserts that the hymn of the virgins is more agreeable to the Lamb than that of all the other saints.” (St. Alphonsus, The True Spouse of Jesus Christ, p. 7)

Since the countless protestant sects (from the very beginning of their creation in the 16th century by the devil) were especially hostile to the infallible biblical doctrine which teaches that chastity or virginity is much better and a more meritorious and blessed life than the marital life, The Council of Trent also had to specifically condemn and anathematize all who dared to oppose this biblical doctrine. Thus, the Church made clear to all this biblical teaching, which means that all who obstinately assert that marriage is above or equal to the state of chastity or virginity are damned and in a state of mortal sin, awaiting the moment of their death when they will enter the eternal Hell where they will be tormented and burn for their wicked, obstinate, impure heresy and false opinion.

Pope Pius IV, Council of Trent, ex cathedra: “If any one saith, that the marriage state is to be placed above the state of virginity, or of celibacy, and that it is not better and more blessed to remain in virginity, or in celibacy, than to be united in matrimony, (Matt. 19:11; 1 Cor. 7:25) let him be anathema.” (Session 14, Canon X, Nov. 11, 1563, on Matrimony; Denzinger #980)

The wicked heresy which states that, “there is no spiritual superiority in celibacy vs. conjugal chastity (sex within marriage)” is utterly false and refuted by the Holy Bible itself as well as the infallible teachings of the Popes. This is what the Church teaches infallibly as a dogma.

Pope Pius XII, Sacra Virginitas (# 32), March 25, 1954: “This doctrine of the excellence of virginity and of celibacy and of their superiority over the married state was, as We have already said, revealed by our Divine Redeemer and by the Apostle of the Gentiles; so too, it was solemnly defined as a dogma of divine faith by the holy council of Trent, and explained in the same way by all the holy Fathers and Doctors of the Church. Finally, We and Our Predecessors have often expounded it and earnestly advocated it whenever occasion offered. But recent attacks on this traditional doctrine of the Church, the danger they constitute, and the harm they do to the souls of the faithful lead Us, in fulfillment of the duties of Our charge, to take up the matter once again in this Encyclical Letter, and to reprove these errors which are so often propounded under a specious appearance of truth.”

St. Jerome writes concerning the greatness of chastity and virginity: “I praise wedlock, I praise marriage, but it is because they give me virgins. I gather the rose from the thorns, the gold from the earth, the pearl from the shell. “Doth the plowman plow all day to sow?” Shall he not also enjoy the fruit of his labor? Wedlock is the more honored, the more what is born of it is loved. Why, mother, do you grudge your daughter her virginity? She has been reared on your milk, she has come from your womb, she has grown up in your bosom. Your watchful affection has kept her a virgin. Are you angry with her because she chooses to be a king’s wife and not a soldier’s? She has conferred on you a high privilege; you are now the mother-in-law of God. “Concerning virgins,” says the apostle, “I have no commandment of the Lord.” Why was this? Because his own virginity was due, not to a command, but to his free choice. For they are not to be heard who feign him to have had a wife; for, when he is discussing continence and commending perpetual chastity, he uses the words, “I would that all men were even as I myself.” And farther on, “I say, therefore, to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I.” (St. Jerome, Letters of St. Jerome, Letter 22:20, To Eustochium, A.D. 420)

Thus, “… the virtue of chastity… St. Ambrose says that ‘whoever preserves this virtue is an angel, and that whoever violates it is a demon.’” (St. Alphonsus, The True Spouse of Jesus Christ, p. 17, A.D. 1755) Therefore, “in comparison with chastity and virginity, the life of angels, "It is good for a man not to touch a woman" [1 Cor. 7:1].” (St. Jerome, Letter XLVIII, To Pammachius, c. 393 or 394 A.D.)

St. Gregory Nazianzen (c. 329-390): “Hast thou chosen the life of Angels? Art thou ranked among the unyoked? Sink not down to the flesh; sink not down to matter; be not wedded to matter, while otherwise thou remainest unwedded.” (Orations of St. Gregory Nazianzen, Oration XXXVII, Section X)

In the immoral ambiance of our days, it is important for Catholics to read the praises St. John Chrysostom makes in his work “On Virginity” 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.

“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 possess 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, In the Writings of the Roman Breviary, Lesson 3 of the feast of St. Aloysius Gonzaga)

In regards to the issue of the superiority of celibacy over marriage, St. Ignatius of Loyola wrote in his spiritual classic The Spiritual Exercises: “we must praise highly religious life, virginity, and continency; and matrimony ought not be praised as much as these”. (no. 356); and also “if a person thinks of embracing a secular life, he should ask and desire more evident signs that God calls him to a secular life than if there were question of embracing the evangelical counsels; for Our Lord Himself has evidently exhorted us to embrace His counsels, and, on the other hand, He has evidently laid before us the great dangers and difficulties of a secular life; so that, if we rightly conclude, revelations and extraordinary tokens of His will are more necessary for a man entering upon a life in the world than for one entering the religious state.” (Quoted in Matrimony, Virginity, The Religious State, and Marriage by An Anonymous Vincentian Father. New York: Benziger Brothers, 1897) It is highly important to notice how St. Ignatius’s admonition and advice to people intending to marry is completely different and directly opposed to the advice of the people of the world, who usually say that the evangelical life of perfection or entering a monastery is something meant for only a few, and only after very great signs. To this we could add St. Bernard’s comparison of the religious to the married, that “they live more purely, they fall more rarely, they rise more speedily, they are aided more powerfully, they live more peacefully, they die more securely, and they are rewarded more abundantly” (Ibid). We could also add a similar comparison made by St. John Chrysostom – often cited in relation to his praise of marriage – who said “among seculars shipwrecks are more frequent and sudden, because the difficulties of navigation are greater; but with anchorites storms are less violent, the calm is almost undisturbed. This is why we seek to draw as many as we can to the religious life” (Ibid).

While marriage is a good and holy institution, marriage in the spirit to God is infinitely more holy and good: “But now, at this time, not to seek offspring after the flesh, and by this means to maintain a certain perpetual freedom from every such work, and to be made subject after a spiritual manner unto one Husband Christ, is assuredly better and holier...” (St. Augustine, On the Good of Marriage, 32)

It is therefore a dogma of the Faith that cannot be doubted or denied that a life of chastity is above a life of marriage and that marriage is a hindrance to “the perfect degree of virtue”:

“A thing may be a hindrance to virtue in two ways. First, as regards the ordinary degree of virtue, and as to this nothing but sin is an obstacle to virtue. Secondly, as regards the perfect degree of virtue, and as to this virtue may be hindered by that which is not a sin, but a lesser good. On this way sexual intercourse casts down the mind not from virtue, but from the height, i.e. the perfection of virtue. Hence Augustine says (De Bono Conjug. viii): "Just as that was good which Martha did when busy about serving holy men, yet better still that which Mary did in hearing the word of God: so, too, we praise the good of Susanna’s conjugal chastity, yet we prefer the good of the widow Anna, and much more that of the Virgin Mary."” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Second Part of the Second Part, Q. 153, Art. 2, Reply to Objection 1)

The Bible and the Saints teach that most people will be damned to burn for all eternity in Hell, but chastity greatly increases a person’s chance to reach Heaven

Today, one almost never hears anyone speaking about the biblical truth that very few people actually escape eternal damnation in Hell. All virtues that we humans practice increases the chance for us to reach Heaven, but the virtue of chastity is special in helping to save a person’s immortal soul since it is very hard to gain for most people, since they are weak, worldly and lustful; and because of this, very few people in this world try to gain it because of their sloth, weakness or bad will. Chastity undoubtedly greatly increases one’s chances of reaching Heaven, and it is undoubtedly more effective in helping people escape eternal hell than almost any virtue in the world, but too few in this world seem to care about this fact which, in truth, is one of the most important truths that ever have been revealed to mankind.

Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal, 1917: “The sins of the world are too great! The sins which lead most souls to hell are sins of the flesh! … Many marriages are not good; they do not please Our Lord and are not of God… [since these spouses marry for carnal and lustful motives or perform unlawful, non-procreative or unnecessary sexual acts with each other.]”

Catholics must understand that few are saved. Our Lord Jesus Christ revealed that the road to Heaven is straight and narrow and few find it, while the road to Hell is wide and taken by most (Mt. 7:13).

Matthew 7:13 “Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat. How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life, and few there are that find it!

Luke 13:24 “Strive to enter by the narrow gate; for many, I say to you, shall seek to enter, and shall not be able.”

Scripture also teaches that almost the entire world lies in darkness, so much so that Satan is even called the “prince” (John 12:31) and “god” (2 Cor. 4:3) of this world. “We know that we are of God, and the whole world is seated in wickedness.” (1 John 5:19)

When one reads these infallible and true words of Our Lord that explains to us how few people there are that actually escape the eternal torments in Hell, one can only marvel at the fact that so few people in this world actually desires to become chaste or embrace the monastic life. Chastity greatly increases a person’s chance of reaching Heaven, yet almost everyone, and especially the protestants, resists or denies this saving truth with every fiber of their sensual beings. In the former times, the Catholic Church and its members upheld the greatness of the virtue of chastity, and people of every class in society resolved to practice chastity and purity for the sake of saving their immortal souls from the fires of hell. Thus, there was always a considerable portion of humanity that lived as an example of evangelical perfection and virtue to everyone else, and this in turn helped even more people to adopt a more virtuous and chaste lifestyle.

Nowadays, however, the fear of Hell has vanished completely, and that is why no one cares anything for the great virtue of chastity. But the time will come when both married and unmarried shall lift up their voices in lamentation and weeping and curse themselves for refusing to practice the virtue of chastity and purity, but then, it is sadly too late for them. “And the smoke of their torments shall ascend up for ever and ever: neither have they rest day nor night...” (Apocalypse 14:11)

St. Leonard of Port Maurice (A.D. 1676-1751), when speaking on the fewness of the saved, shows us how the Church and Her Fathers and Saints is unanimous in teaching this biblical doctrine: “After consulting all the theologians and making a diligent study of the matter, he [Suarez] wrote, ‘The most common sentiment which is held is that, among Christians [Catholics], there are more damned souls than predestined souls.’ Add the authority of the Greek and Latin Fathers to that of the theologians, and you will find that almost all of them say the same thing. This is the sentiment of Saint Theodore, Saint Basil, Saint Ephrem, Saint John Chrysostom. What is more, according to Baronius it was a common opinion among the Greek Fathers that this truth was expressly revealed to Saint Simeon Stylites and that after this revelation, it was to secure his salvation that he decided to live standing on top of a pillar for forty years, exposed to the weather, a model of penance and holiness for everyone. Now let us consult the Latin Fathers. You will hear Saint Gregory saying clearly, ‘Many attain to faith, but few to the heavenly kingdom.’ Saint Anselm declares, ‘There are few who are saved.’ Saint Augustine states even more clearly, ‘Therefore, few are saved in comparison to those who are damned.’ The most terrifying, however, is Saint Jerome. At the end of his life, in the presence of his disciples, he spoke these dreadful words: ‘Out of one hundred thousand people whose lives have always been bad, you will find barely one who is worthy of indulgence.’ (On The Little Number of Those Who Are Saved, by St. Leonard of Port Maurice)

What would not the billions of suffering souls in Hell do, who fell into the most horrifying torments imaginable for the sake of carnal impurities and temptations of the flesh, if they had a second chance to escape their eternal torment? In truth, they would gladly walk on the surface of the Sun, which is millions of degrees hot for a billion times billion years if God enabled them to do so. To choose a single second of sinful pleasure (which is how short this life is compared to eternity) for an infinite time of excruciating torments and tortures in hell is unfathomable, and yet, literally the whole world consents to this devilish trap!

Take heed that you, the reader, do not reject this admonishment, for it might be the last time you will hear such words before death suddenly strikes you and the Devil takes you and devours you for all eternity to come! “… Take all states, both sexes, every condition: husbands, wives, widows, young women, young men, soldiers, merchants, craftsmen, rich and poor, noble and plebian. What are we to say about all these people who are living so badly? The following narrative from Saint Vincent Ferrer will show you what you may think about it. He relates that an archdeacon in Lyons gave up his charge and retreated into a desert place to do penance, and that he died the same day and hour as Saint Bernard. After his death, he appeared to his bishop and said to him, ‘Know, Monsignor, that at the very hour I passed away, thirty-three thousand people also died. Out of this number, Bernard and myself went up to Heaven without delay, three went to purgatory, and all the others fell into Hell.’ Our chronicles relate an even more dreadful happening. One of our brothers, well-known for his doctrine and holiness, was preaching in Germany. He represented the ugliness of the sin of impurity so forceful that a woman fell dead of sorrow in front of everyone. Then, coming back to life, she said, ‘When I was presented before the Tribunal of God, sixty thousand people arrived at the same time from all parts of the world; out of that number, three were saved by going to Purgatory, and all the rest were damned.’ O abyss of the judgments of God! Out of thirty thousand, only five were saved! And out of sixty thousand, only three went to Heaven! You sinners who are listening to me, in what category will you be numbered?... What do you say?... What do you think?...” (On The Little Number of Those Who Are Saved, by St. Leonard of Port Maurice)

Fr. Martin Von Cochem’s masterpiece book “The Four Last Things” (that deals specifically with the topics of Hell, the fear of God, death and judgment), explains the frightful truth of Our Lord’s words in the Gospel of how few people there actually are on this earth that even find the path to Heaven even once while living on this earth, and much less persevere on it until their death:

“Let me ask thee, O reader, what proportion thinkest thou of all who live upon this earth will be saved? Half? or a third part? or perhaps a quarter? Alas, I fear, and not without good reason, that the number will not be nearly so large. Jesus Christ, who is eternal Truth, His holy apostles, and the Fathers of the Church, all tell us that so it will be.

“What does Christ say about the number of the elect? His words are these: "Many are called, but few are chosen." He repeats these words when He speaks of the guest who had not on a wedding garment: "Bind his hands and his feet, and cast him into the exterior darkness. For many are called, but few chosen." Were nothing more to be found to this intent in the whole of the Scriptures, this passage could not fail to alarm us. But there are many other similar ones, of which I will quote one or two. In the Gospel of St. Matthew we read that Our Lord said: "Enter ye in at the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth unto destruction, and many there are that go in thereat. How narrow is the gate and strait is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there are that find it." (Matt. 7:13) Are not these words calculated to inspire us with anxiety and apprehension? May not we be amongst those who go in at the wide gate, who walk on the broad road that ends in everlasting perdition? In order that thou mayst better appreciate the meaning of Our Lord’s words, and perceive more clearly how few are the elect, observe that Christ did not say that those were few in number who walked in the path to heaven, but that there were but few who found that narrow way. "How strait is the gate that leadeth unto life, and few there are that find it." It is as if the Savior intended to say: The path leading to heaven is so narrow and so rough, it is so overgrown, so dark and difficult to discern, that there are many who, their whole life long, never find it. And those who do find it are exposed constantly to the danger of deviating from it, of mistaking their way and unwittingly wandering away from it, because it is so irregular and overgrown. This St. Jerome says, in his commentary on the passage in question. Again, there are some who when they are on the right road, hasten to leave it, because it is so steep and toilsome. There are also many who are enticed to leave the narrow way by the wiles and deceits of the devil, and thus, almost imperceptibly to themselves, are led downwards to hell.” (Fr. Martin Von Cochem, The Four Last Things, pp. 212-213)

If people could only open their fleshly eyes and start seeing with their spiritual eyes how short this life and the lust of the flesh is, everyone would immediately become chaste and pure, but no one today wants to contemplate or meditate on the end of all flesh, which is death and decay in the grave. They behave as mentally ill people who willfully forgets that they must die and be judged by our Lord Jesus Christ. The thought of death is indeed powerful to conquer every sin and sinful occasion, but while people know that they must die, they willfully choose to forget this fact, since the very thought of death and change is repugnant to their fleshly beings, and directly associated with the thought of being judged by God for their sins. And so, they choose to forget that they must die and be judged by God in order to not have to feel any distress, fear or remorse from their evil conscience every time they sin.

But the time will come when they – standing in shame and ignominy in front of the whole world at the day of judgment – will be forced against their will to remember and confess every single sinful and lustful act that they have ever committed from the moment they reached the age of reason to their very last breath, and then, after their just condemnation, their eternal punishment will begin. Their soul shall be separated from their sinful and fleshly rotting body for the sake of their vile and shameful affections and lusts and be cast into the eternal fire “in the pool burning with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Apocalypse 21:8)

Indeed, Our Lord Jesus Christ, speaking through an angel, teaches that: “Hell is so hot inside that if the whole world and everything in it were on fire, it could not compare to that vast furnace. The various voices heard in the furnace all speak against God. They begin and end their speech with laments. The souls look like people whose limbs are forever being stretched without relief or pause.” (The Revelations of St. Bridget, Book 4, Chapter 7) Hence, “Nicholas of Nice, speaking of the fire of Hell, says that nothing on earth could give an idea of it. He adds that if all the trees of the forests were cut down, piled into a vast heap and set on fire, this terrible pile would not be a spark of Hell.” ("The Dogma of Hell, Illustrated by Facts Taken from Profane and Sacred History" by Rev. Father Francois Xavier Schouppe, S.J.)

And so, “When you see anything good and great in the present life, think of the kingdom [of Heaven], and you will consider it as nothing. When you see anything terrible, think of hell, and you will deride it. When you are possessed by carnal desire, think of the fire, think also of the pleasure of sin itself, that it is nothing worth, that it has not even pleasure in it. For if the fear of the laws that are enacted here has so great power as to withdraw us from wicked actions, how much more should the remembrance of things future, the vengeance that is immortal, the punishment that is everlasting? If the fear of an earthly king withdraws us from so many evils, how much more the fear of the King Eternal? Whence then can we constantly have this fear? If we continually hearken to the Scriptures. For if the sight only of a dead body so depresses the mind, how much more must hell and the fire unquenchable, how much more the worm that never dies. If we always think of hell, we shall not soon fall into it. … Let it be continually spoken of, that you may never fall into it. It is not possible that a soul anxious about hell should readily sin. For hear the most excellent advice, "Remember," it says, "your latter end" [Sirach 28:6], and you will not sin for ever. A soul that is fearful of giving account cannot but be slow to transgression. For fear being vigorous in the soul does not permit anything worldly to exist in it. For if discourse raised concerning hell so humbles and brings it low, does not the reflection constantly dwelling upon the soul purify it more than any fire? Let us not remember the kingdom so much as hell. For fear has more power than the promise. And I know that many would despise ten thousand blessings, if they were rid of the punishment, inasmuch as it is even now sufficient for me to escape vengeance, and not to be punished. No one of those who have hell before their eyes will fall into hell. No one of those who despise hell will escape hell. For as among us those who fear the judgment-seats will not be apprehended by them, but those who despise them are chiefly those who fall under them, so it is also in this case. … Nothing is so profitable as to converse concerning hell. It renders our souls purer than any silver. For hear the prophet saying, "Your judgments are always before me." [From Psalm 17:22, Septuagint] For although it pains the hearer, it benefits him very much.” (St. John Chrysostom, Homily 2 on Second Thessalonians, On the Fear of Hell)

There is no better way to crush the power of the serpent and his wretched lusts and desires than to constantly, day and night, meditate on Hell and its frightful, eternal, indescribable darkness and torments that will befall all those miserable wretches who refuses to live a virtuous, pure and non-lustful life: “How shall we tie down this wild beast? What shall we contrive? How shall we place a bridle on it? I know none, save only the restraint of hell-fire.” (St. John Chrysostom, De Inani Gloria or On Vainglory, Section 76)

Sad to say, “Unto many this seemeth an hard saying, Deny thyself, take up thy cross, and follow Jesus” (Matt. 16:24). But much harder will it be to hear that last word, “Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire” (Matt. 25:41). For they who now willingly hear and follow the word of the Cross, shall not then fear (Psalm 112:7) to hear the sentence of everlasting damnation. This sign of the Cross shall be in the heaven, when the Lord shall come to judgment (Matt. 24:30). Then all the servants of the Cross, who in their lifetime conformed themselves unto Christ crucified, shall draw near unto Christ the Judge with great confidence. Why therefore fearest thou to take up the Cross, which leadeth thee to a kingdom? In the Cross is salvation, in the Cross is life, in the Cross is protection against our enemies, in the Cross is infusion of heavenly sweetness, in the Cross is strength of mind, in the Cross joy of spirit, in the Cross the height of virtue, in the Cross the perfection of holiness. Take up therefore thy Cross and follow Jesus (Luke 14:27), and thou shalt go into life everlasting.” (Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, Book 2, Chapter 12 - Of the King’s High Way of the Holy Cross)

St. Teresa of Avila, The Life of the Holy Mother Teresa of Jesus, (Written by Herself): “I came to understand the truth I had heard in my childhood, that all things are as nothing, the world vanity, and passing rapidly away. I also began to be afraid that, if I were then to die, I should go down to hell. Though I could not bend my will to be a nun, I saw that the religious state was the best and the safest. And thus, by little and little, I resolved to force myself into it. The struggle lasted three months. I used to press this reason against myself: The trials and sufferings of living as a nun cannot be greater than those of purgatory, and I have well deserved to be in hell. It is not much to spend the rest of my life as if I were in purgatory, and then go straight to Heaven--which was what I desired. I was more influenced by servile fear, I think, than by love, to enter religion.

“The devil put before me that I could not endure the trials of the religious life, because of my delicate nurture. I defended myself against him by alleging the trials which Christ endured, and that it was not much for me to suffer something for His sake; besides, He would help me to bear it. I must have thought so, but I do not remember this consideration. I endured many temptations during these days. I was subject to fainting-fits, attended with fever,--for my health was always weak. I had become by this time fond of good books, and that gave me life. I read the Epistles of St. Jerome, which filled me with so much courage, that I resolved to tell my father of my purpose,--which was almost like taking the habit; for I was so jealous of my word, that I would never, for any consideration, recede from a promise when once my word had been given.”

Those who choose to live in total celibacy undoubtedly increases their chances of reaching heaven, since concupiscence and the sexual desire is the greatest cause why people are damned. Lust, in all its forms, is undoubtedly the greatest reason why people have a “blindness of mind” concerning spiritual things: “As Isidore says (Etym. x), "a lustful man is one who is debauched with pleasures." Now venereal pleasures above all debauch a man’s mind.” (St. Thomas Aquinas) The truth that lust is the most powerful of all human acts in inducing spiritual death, can even be understood from reason alone, since the sexual or lustful pleasure is the one pleasure of all who induces in man a kind of inability to reason: “... lust applies chiefly to venereal pleasures, which more than anything else work the greatest havoc in a man’s mind”. (St. Thomas Aquinas) “And truly, the concupiscence of the flesh, beyond all other passions, doth greatly hinder us from being ready to meet Christ; whilst, on the other hand, nothing makes us more fit to follow our Lord, than virginal chastity.” (St. Robert Bellarmine, The art of dying well, Chapter IV)

This proves that lust and sexual pleasure is the biggest cause why people in the end are damned, and it also shows us on what sins one should speak about when one tries to convert a sinner or a heretic. And this of course also applies to married people and St. Augustine also confirms the fact that “he who is intemperate in marriage, what is he but the adulterer of his own wife?” by quoting the great St. Ambrose’s teaching concerning the necessity for married people to practice moderation in even their normal, natural and lawful marital acts (cf. St. Augustine, Against Julian, Book 2, Chapter 6).

A great reason why the people who commit sexual sins are so “hardened” in their sins, and so hard to be converted, is because sensual lusts (both for the married and the unmarried people alike) actually “gives rise to blindness of mind, which excludes almost entirely the knowledge of spiritual things, while dulness of sense arises from gluttony, which makes a man weak in regard to the same [spiritual] intelligible things.” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, II:II, Q. 15, Art. 3) Indeed, this “blindness of mind” and “dulness of sense” is undoubtedly the main reason why most people, however much evidence is provided against their heresies, refuse to convert. It is therefore true to say that “The perverse are hard to be corrected, and the number of fools [and damned people] is infinite” (Ecclesiastes 1:15) because of their own bad will and lasciviousness, according to God’s Holy and infallible Word. Their short moment of pleasure in this perishable world blinds them to the truth about God and the Natural Law, precipitating them into an eternal hell fire and torment.

It is a sad thing to have to speak about, but most people are damned because of their lusts inside or outside of marriage. “And according to the same custom of the Orientals, St. Peter writes: "Wherefore, having the loins of your mind girt up, being sober, trust perfectly in the grace which is offered you, &c." (1 Epist. i. 13.) And St. Paul in his Epistle to the Ephesians says: "Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth." (i. 14.) Now, to have our "loins girt," signifies two things: First, the virtue of chastity; Secondly, a readiness to meet our Lord coming to judgment, whether it be the particular or the general judgment. The holy fathers, St. Basil, St. Augustine, and St. Gregory, give the first explanation. And truly, the concupiscence of the flesh, beyond all other passions, doth greatly hinder us from being ready to meet Christ; whilst, on the other hand, nothing makes us more fit to follow our Lord, than virginal chastity. We read in the Apocalypse how virgins follow the Lamb "whithersoever he goeth." And the apostle saith: "he that is without a wife is solicitous for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please God. But he that is with a wife, is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife; and he is divided." (1 Epist. to Cor. Vii. 32, 33.)” (St. Robert Bellarmine, The art of dying well, Chapter IV)

In truth, when one compare an eternity in Hell with the small act of giving up sexual intercourse and marriage, the sacrifice seems infinitely small and almost as though it was nothing. If we consider that lust and sexual desire is the greatest cause of why people in the end are damned and that chastity not only will increase our chances of reaching Heaven and that our eternal glory in Heaven will be greater because of it, but that it also will increase our effectiveness in helping other souls to be saved, this sacrifice seems to be no sacrifice at all. Thus, rising with Christ in perfection, “I have decided that there is nothing I should avoid so much as marriage. I know nothing which brings the manly mind down from the height [of spiritual things] more than a woman’s caresses and that joining of bodies without which one cannot have a wife.” (St. Augustine, Soliloquia I, x, 17)

Holy Monasteries of chaste servants of Christ are especially effective in helping humanity, according to Our Lady and the Fathers

Of all the prayers offered up to God, the prayers of His holy and chaste servants in holy monasteries and convents are the most effective of all the prayers in the world in drawing down blessings from Heaven – but not too many people actually understand this saving fact. Heretics, especially, scoff at the notion that those who marry Our Lord and renounce the world are actually doing anything good at all. Some of these heretics even say that it is evil or contrary to the missionary spirit of the gospel to live secluded in a monastery and avoid the world. They also frequently claim it’s against the scripture to require perpetual chastity for priests and religious. The fact of the matter, however, is that the Holy Bible condemns their worldly and sensual worldview and lifestyle, as we have seen.

The Catholic Church always (and especially now during this time of apostasy) needs holy religious who will continue in the virtuous example set by the Holy Saints of the former times. This fact was confirmed when in A.D. 1634 The Blessed Virgin under the title of Our Lady of Good Success appeared to the Franciscan Nun, Venerable Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres, in Quito, Ecuador. (This event is approved by Holy Mother Church).

Our Lady solemnly spoke these words regarding the importance of holy monasteries and convents: “Woe to the world should it lack monasteries and convents! Men do not comprehend their importance, for, if they understood, they would do all in their power to multiply them, because in them can be found the remedy for all physical and moral evils… No one on the face of the earth is aware whence comes the salvation of souls, the conversion of great sinners, the end of great scourges, the fertility of the land, the end of pestilence and wars, and the harmony between nations. All this is due to the prayers that rise up from monasteries and convents.” (Words of Our Lady of Good Success to Venerable Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres)

In truth, not only are all monasteries vitally important for the spiritual and physical well-being of all Christians, but “In every house of Christians, it is needful that there be a virgin, for the salvation of the whole house is that one virgin. When wrath comes upon the whole city, it shall not come upon the house wherein a virgin is.” (St. Athanasius, Canons, On Virginity, Canon 98)

St. John Chrysostom posits, “What else is commanded of us but that we live like those intellectual and incorporeal powers [in Heaven]?” (Cf. Virg., XXVII. 2; SC 125,180.) Christ has led New Covenant man to the angelic life (Hom. XI in Rom.; PG 60.489). The monastic way of life is the angelic way of life. St. Ephrem calls virginity the “dear friend” of the “Watchers.” “Watchers” is St. Ephrem’s word for the angels (Hymn I On Virginity). St. Athanasius the Great says the virgins presented on the earth a “picture of the holiness of the angels.” (Apol. Const. 33, PG 25.640; NPNF, p. 252.) Monasticism is essentially pure Christianity, and as such serves as a constant example to married Christians. To St. Chrysostom there is only one purpose for the present life. The present life is designed simply as a groundwork and “starting point” for the life to come. The one who is a foreigner here will be a citizen up there. The one who considers himself a citizen here will be a stranger in heaven, and the one who considers himself a citizen in heaven will be a stranger here (Exp. in Ps. CXIX; PG 55.341). If Christians do not learn this lesson this life becomes “worse than a thousand deaths!” (Stat. Hom. VI; PG 49.86; NPNF, p. 384.) As such we ought groan for this life as creation does, and not for death (Stat. Hom. V; PG 49.71). The present life is a type of school in which men are “under instruction by means of disease, tribulation, temptations, and poverty, and the other apparent evils, with a view to our becoming fit for the reception of the blessings of the world to come.” (Hom. X in Rom.; PG 60.473; NPNF, p. 404.) Monastics are the world’s chief instructors concerning this all important lesson. Chrysostom in very many places emphasizes that the monastic way of life is simply the authentic Christian life.

The monastic way is the way of the Cross. The crucified virgin lives free from troubles of this present life and reveling in happiness (Exp. in Ps. XLIV; PG 55.202). The crucified life is best modeled by the monk (Philogn., VI; PG 48.752). There are not two standards of Christian conduct, one for the monk and one for the married man (Hom. VII in Heb.; PG 63.67; NPNF, p. 402). St. John Chrysostom writes, “You certainly deceive yourself and are greatly mistaken if you think that there is one set of requirements for the person in the world and another for the monk. The difference between them is that one is married and the other is not: in all other respects they will have to render the same account.” (Oppugn., III; PG 47.372.) The Holy Scriptures do not know two standards, but one single Christian ethic. Chrysostom writes, “Therefore, when Paul orders us to imitate not only the monks, not only the disciples of Christ, but Christ Himself, when he decrees the greatest punishment for those who do not imitate them, how can you say that this way of life is a greater height? For all people must reach the same point! And this is what overturns the whole world, the idea that only the monk is required to show a greater perfection, while the rest are allowed to live in laxity. But this is not true! It is not! … the same philosophy is demanded of all.” (Oppugn., III; PG 47.374.) The laws governing monks and married Christians are common to both groups, except for those dealing with marriage, and even here St. Paul calls upon the married to imitate the monks (Hom. VII in Mt.; PG 57.81-82). All humanity is called upon to return to the original state of purity of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden and to go beyond it. The Holy Scriptures want all to live the life of the monks, even if they should happen to have wives (Oppugn., III; PG 47.373). Christ asks (not commands) men to lay aside the childish garments of earthly marriage and to put on more fitting and perfect clothes, the clothes of virginity (Virg., XV. 1.5-7; SC 125, p. 146). Parents should do everything they can to raise monastic children. This doesn’t mean that all children must become monks, but they must be trained as “athletes of Christ,” and if they become monks that is a blessing, but it is not insisted upon (Educ. Lib., 19.282-287; SC 188, pp. 102, 104). To oppose monasticism is ignorance so great, that a greater ignorance could not be (Oppugn., III; PG 47.366).

St. Gregory of Nyssa says, “And it has been proved as well that this union of the soul with the incorruptible Deity can be accomplished in no other way but by herself attaining by her virgin state to the utmost purity possible—a state which, being like God, will enable her to grasp that to which it is like, while she places herself like a mirror beneath the purity of God, and moulds her own beauty at the touch and the sight of the Archetype of all beauty.” (On Virginity, Chapter XI) In contrast to the pure and angelic sons and daughters of Our Lord Jesus Christ, “the grosser mind looks down; it bends its energies to bodily pleasures as surely as the sheep stoop to their pasture; it lives for gorging and still lower pleasures; it is alienated from the life of God, and a stranger to the promise of the Covenants; it recognizes no good but the gratification of the body. It is a mind such as this that “walks in darkness,” (1 John 1:6) and invents all the evil in this life of ours; avarice, passions unchecked, unbounded luxury, lust of power, vain-glory, the whole mob of moral diseases that invade men’s homes.” (St. Gregory of Nyssa, On Virginity, Chapter IV)

The Blessed Virgin Mary Herself reveals to us in “The Mystical City of God,” the many benefits that adopting a life of obedience, celibacy and chastity will produce in our souls. Our Lady spoke to by Sister Mary of Agreda, saying: “My dear daughter, I will not deny thee the instruction thou askest of me with the desire of putting it into practice; but do thou receive it with an appreciative and devout mind, ready to follow it in deed. The wise man says "My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, thou hast engaged fast thy hand to a stranger, thou art ensnared with the words of thy mouth, and caught with thy own words" (Prov. 6, 12). Accordingly he who has made vows to God has bound his own will; so that he has no freedom of acting except according to the will and direction of Him to whom he has bound himself; for he is chained down by the words of his own mouth uttered in the profession of his vows. Before taking his vows, the choice of his ways was in his own hands; but having once bound and obliged himself, let him know that he has entirely lost his liberty and had delivered himself up to God in his superiors. The whole ruin or salvation of souls depends upon the use of their free will; but since most men use it ill and damn themselves, the Most High has established religious life under the sacred vows. Thus the creature, by once using its liberty to make a perfect and prudent choice, can deliver up to his Majesty that very liberty, which so many pervert, if it remains free and unhampered in its choice.

“By these vows the liberty to do evil is happily lost, and the liberty for doing good is assured. It is like a bridle, which leads away from danger and directs into the smooth and sure road. The soul is freed from the slavery and subjection of the passions, and acquires a new power over them, resuming her place as mistress and queen in the government of her kingdom and remaining subject only to the law of grace and the inspirations of the Holy Ghost. If she thus applies her whole will solely to the fulfillment of all that she has promised to God, the Holy Spirit will govern and direct all her operations. The creature thereby passes from the condition and state of a slave to that of a child of the Most High, from an earthly to an angelic life, while the corruption and evil effects of sin cannot exert their full power. It is impossible that thou ever be able in this earthly life to calculate or comprehend, what and how many are the blessings and treasures those souls gather for themselves, who with all their powers and affection strive to fulfill perfectly the vows or their profession. For I assure thee, my dearest, that those who are perfect and punctual in their religious obligations can equal and even surpass the martyrs in merit.

“The order which religious souls should maintain in their desires should be: that they strive to be punctual in fulfilling the obligations of their vows and all the virtues, which are connected with them. Afterwards and secondarily they may engage in voluntary practices, such as are called supererogatory. This order some of the souls, who are misled by the devil to entertain an indiscreet zeal for perfection are wont to invert; thus, while they fail seriously in the obligations of their state, they are eager to add other voluntary exercises and practices, which are usually of small use or benefit, or arise from a spirit of presumption and singularity. They secretly desire to be looked upon as distinguished in zeal and perfection, while in truth they are very far even from the beginning of perfection. I do not wish to see in thee a fault so reprehensible: but first fulfill all the duties of thy vows and of community life, and then thou mayest add what thou canst, according to thy ability and the inspiration of divine grace. This together will beautify thy soul and will make it perfect and agreeable in the eyes of God.” (The Mystical City of God, Book 2, Chapter 2)

For many people, the obedience of monastic life seems utterly detestable, but after death, in truth, there will not be a single soul who will regret having adopted the higher and more blessed life of chastity. In contrast, there are undoubtedly billions of souls burning right now in hell who wishes that they had lived a celibate and chaste life.

Blessed Edmund Campion who was a martyr for the faith speaks about this topic in a letter of his: “For I know what liberty there is in obedience, what pleasure in labour, what sweetness in prayer, what dignity in humility, what peace in conflicts, what nobleness in patience, what perfection in infirmity. But the difficulty is to reduce these virtues to practice. And this is your work, to run over a portion of your earthly course in the chariot of Paradise. I, as the poet says, will follow as I can, non passibus equis. My dearest brethren, our life is not long enough to thank Christ for revealing these mysteries to us. Which of us would have believed, unless He had called him and instructed him in this school, that such thorns, such filth, such misery, such tragedies, were concealed in the world under the feigned names of goods and pleasures? Which of us would have thought your kitchen better than a royal palace? your crusts better than any banquet? your troubles than others’ contentment? your conflicts than their quiet? your crumbs than their abundance? your vileness than their triumphs and victories? For I ask you whether, if you could all your lives, as they would like, feed your eyes on spectacles, and changes of scene and of company, your eyes would be the stronger? If you fed your ears with news, would they be the fuller? If you gave your mind its lusts, would it be richer? If you fed your body with dainties, could you make it immortal? This is their blunder who are deceived by vanities, and know not what a happy life means. For while they hope and expect great things, they fancy they are making vast progress, and not one in a hundred obtains what he dreamed; and if perchance one obtains it, yet after making allowance for his pains, and his loads of care, the slipperiness of fortune, his disgraceful servility, his fears, plots, troubles, annoyances, quarrels, crimes, which must always accompany and vex the lovers of the world, he will doubtless find himself to be a very base and needy slave. One sigh of yours for heaven is better than all their clamours for this dirt; one colloquy of yours, where the angels are present, is better than all their parties and debauched drinking-bouts, where the devils fill the bowls. One day of yours consecrated to God is worth more than all their life, which they spend in luxury. My brethren, run as you have begun; acknowledge God’s goodness to you, and the dignity of your state. Can any pomp of kings or emperors, any grandeur, any pleasure, I will not say equal, but even shadow forth your honour and consolation? They (I speak of the good among them) fight under Christ their king, with their baggage on their back; you are eased of your burdens, and are called with the beloved disciple to be familiar followers of your Lord. They are admitted to the palace, you to the presence chamber; they to the common pasture, you to the choicest banquets; they to friendship, you to love; they to the treasury, you to the special rewards.

“Think what difficulties they have who even live as they ought in this naughty world; then you will more easily see what you owe to His mercy in calling you out of infinite dangers into His society. How hard it is for them to follow Christ when He marches forth in haste against His enemies, who have wives in their bosoms, children on their shoulders, lands on their backs, cares on their heads, whose feet are bound with cords, whose spirits are well-nigh smothered. Is not your happiness great, whom the King marshals by His side, covers with His cloak, clothes and honours with His own livery? What great thing is it for me to have left friends for Him who left heaven for me? What great thing for me to be a servant to my brethren, when He washed the feet of the traitor Judas? What wonder if I obey my fathers, when He honoured Pilate? What mighty thing for me to bear labours for Him who bore His cross for me? What disgrace if I a sinner bear to be rebuked, when He an Innocent was curst, spit upon, scourged, wounded, and put to death?” (Edmund Campion, Letters to the Novices, Prague, Feb. 19th 1577)

In this context of despising the world and its pleasures, Thomas á Kempis, in one of the greatest books ever written called The Imitation of Christ, explains to us “Of the Love of Jesus above All Things”: “Blessed is he that understandeth (Psalm 119:1,2) what it is to love Jesus, and to despise himself for Jesus’ sake. Thou oughtest to leave thy beloved, for thy beloved (Deut. 6:5; Matt. 22:37; Cant. 2:16); for that Jesus will be loved alone above all things. The love of things created is deceitful and inconstant; the love of Jesus is faithful and persevering. He that cleaveth unto a creature, shall fall with that which is subject to fall; he that embraceth Jesus shall be made strong for ever. Love Him, and keep Him for thy friend, who, when all go away, will not forsake thee, nor suffer thee to perish in the end. Some time or other thou must be separated from all, whether thou wilt or no. Keep close to Jesus both in life and in death, and commit thyself unto His faithfulness, who, when all fail, can alone help thee. Thy Beloved is of that nature, that He will admit of no rival; but will have thy heart alone, and sit on His throne as King. If thou couldest empty thyself perfectly from all creatures, Jesus would willingly dwell with thee.” (Readings and Prayers for St. Louis-Marie de Montfort’s Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary, Day 32 of 33 from Imitation of Christ, by Thomas á Kempis, Book 2, Chapter 7, Of the Love of Jesus above All Things)

The Son of God speaks on how a man should reason: “Pride is meaningless, since it is not the recipient who should be praised for goods given him, but the giver. Greed is meaningless, since all the things of earth will be left behind. Lust is nothing but filth. Therefore I do not desire these things but want to follow the will of my God whose reward will never come to an end, whose good gifts never grow old...” (The Revelations of St. Bridget, Book 2, Chapter 25)

Holy communities of men and women that was both married and unmarried practiced the evangelical, monastic lifestyle of chastity and purity both before and after the promulgation of the Gospel

Many holy communities, both before and after the promulgation of the Gospel, followed God’s wondrous and splendid instruction on virtue and purity by choosing to live lives of piety, virtue, mortification and chastity, limiting their marital relations to a bare minimum or necessity in order to nurture and increase graces for themselves, their children and the whole world. The men and the women lived separated in holy communities, but met when the time of conception was most advantageous. They did not, however, have marital relations every time conception was most advantageous, but generally tried to have as little marital relations as possible, while also producing holy offspring for Our Lord. Thus, most of their life was spent in chastity, holiness and purity, and they also produced offspring for the love of our Lord and Creator while living such a good life. By the grace of God, many spouses also resolved to practice complete abstinence and chastity and thus acquired a greater crown in Heaven for their wonderful purity: “More blessed indeed are those marriages to be reckoned, where the parties concerned, whether after the procreation of children, or even through contempt of such an earthly progeny, have been able with common consent to practice self-restraint toward each other: both because nothing is done contrary to that precept whereby the Lord forbids a spouse to be put away (for he does not put her away who lives with her not carnally, but spiritually), and because that principle is observed to which the apostle gives expression, "It remaineth, that they that have wives be as though they had none" [1 Cor. 7:29].” (St. Augustine, On the Sermon on the Mount, Book I, Chapter 14, Section 39, c. 394 A.D.)

Anne Catherine Emmerich wrote the following interesting information when explaining how some of these virtuous people lived before the promulgation of the Gospel. She said, speaking concerning “The Ancestors Of St. Anne – The Essenes”:

“Until Isaiah assembled these people together and gave them a more regular organization, they were scattered about the land of Israel, leading lives of piety and intent on mortification. They wore their clothes without mending them till they fell off their bodies. They fought particularly against sexual immorality, and often by mutual consent lived in continence for long periods, living in huts far removed from their wives. When they lived together as husband and wife, it was only with the intention of producing a holy offspring which might bring nearer the coming of the Savior. I saw them eating apart from their wives; the wife came to take her meal after the husband had left the table. There were ancestors of St. Anne and of other holy people among these early Essenes.” (The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary by Anne Catherine Emmerich)

According to Wikipedia: “The Essenes were a sect of Second Temple Judaism that flourished from the 2nd century BC to the 1st century AD which some scholars claim seceded from the Zadokite priests. Being much fewer in number than the Pharisees and the Sadducees (the other two major sects at the time), the Essenes lived in various cities but congregated in communal life dedicated to asceticism, voluntary poverty, daily immersion, and abstinence from worldly pleasures, including (for some groups) celibacy. Many separate but related religious groups of that era shared similar mystic, eschatological, messianic, and ascetic beliefs. These groups are collectively referred to by various scholars as the "Essenes." Josephus records that Essenes existed in large numbers, and thousands lived throughout Roman Judæa.”

Josephus describes this pious collection of pure and chaste men and women that lived in a similar way that monks and nuns now live in his work The Jewish War.

Flavius Josephus, The Jewish War, Book II, Chapter 8: “For three forms of philosophy are pursued among the Judeans: the members of one are Pharisees, of another Sadducees, and the third [school], who certainly are reputed to cultivate seriousness, are called Essenes; although Judeans by ancestry, they are even more mutually affectionate than the others. Whereas these men shun the pleasures as vice, they consider self-control and not succumbing to the passions virtue. And although there is among them a disdain for marriage, adopting the children of outsiders while they are still malleable enough for the lessons they regard them as family and instill in them their principles of character: without doing away with marriage or the succession resulting from it, they nevertheless protect themselves from the wanton ways of women, having been persuaded that none of them preserves her faithfulness to one man.

“Since [they are] despisers of wealth—their communal stock is astonishing—, one cannot find a person among them who has more in terms of possessions. For by a law, those coming into the school must yield up their funds to the order, with the result that in all [their ranks] neither the humiliation of poverty nor the superiority of wealth is detectable, but the assets of each one have been mixed in together, as if they were brothers, to create one fund for all. They consider olive oil a stain, and should anyone be accidentally smeared with it he scrubs his body, for they make it a point of honor to remain hard and dry, and to wear white always. Hand-elected are the curators of the communal affairs, and indivisible are they, each and every one, [in pursuing] their functions to the advantage of all.

“No one city is theirs, but they settle amply in each. And for those school-members who arrive from elsewhere, all that the community has is laid out for them in the same way as if they were their own things, and they go in and stay with those they have never even seen before as if they were the most intimate friends. For this reason they make trips without carrying any baggage at all—though armed on account of the bandits. In each city a steward of the order appointed specially for the visitors is designated quartermaster for clothing and the other amenities. Dress and also deportment of body: like children being educated with fear. They replace neither clothes nor footwear until the old set is ripped all over or worn through with age. Among themselves, they neither shop for nor sell anything; but each one, after giving the things that he has to the one in need, takes in exchange anything useful that the other has. And even without this reciprocal giving, the transfer to them [of goods] from whomever they wish is unimpeded.

“Toward the Deity, at least: pious observances uniquely [expressed]. Before the sun rises, they utter nothing of the mundane things, but only certain ancestral prayers to him, as if begging him to come up. After these things, they are dismissed by the curators to the various crafts that they have each come to know, and after they have worked strenuously until the fifth hour they are again assembled in one area, where they belt on linen covers and wash their bodies in frigid water. After this purification they gather in a private hall, into which none of those who hold different views may enter: now pure themselves, they approach the dining room as if it were some [kind of] sanctuary. After they have seated themselves in silence, the baker serves the loaves in order, whereas the cook serves each person one dish of one food. The priest offers a prayer before the food, and it is forbidden to taste anything before the prayer; when he has had his breakfast he offers another concluding prayer. While starting and also while finishing, then, they honor God as the sponsor of life. At that, laying aside their clothes as if they were holy, they apply themselves to their labors again until evening. They dine in a similar way: when they have returned, they sit down with the visitors, if any happen to be present with them, and neither yelling nor disorder pollutes the house at any time, but they yield conversation to one another in order. And to those from outside, the silence of those inside appears as a kind of shiver-inducing mystery. The reason for this is their continuous sobriety and the rationing of food and drink among them—to the point of fullness.

“As for other areas: although there is nothing that they do without the curators’ having ordered it, these two things are matters of personal prerogative among them: [rendering] assistance and mercy. For helping those who are worthy, whenever they might need it, and also extending food to those who are in want are indeed left up to the individual; but in the case of the relatives, such distribution is not allowed to be done without [permission from] the managers. Of anger, just controllers; as for temper, able to contain it; of fidelity, masters; of peace, servants. And whereas everything spoken by them is more forceful than an oath, swearing itself they avoid, considering it worse than the false oath; for they declare to be already degraded one who is unworthy of belief without God. They are extraordinarily keen about the compositions of the ancients, selecting especially those [oriented] toward the benefit of soul and body. On the basis of these and for the treatment of diseases, roots, apotropaic materials, and the special properties of stones are investigated.

“To those who are eager for their school, the entry-way is not a direct one, but they prescribe a regimen for the person who remains outside for a year, giving him a little hatchet as well as the aforementioned waist-covering and white clothing. Whenever he should give proof of his self-control during this period, he approaches nearer to the regimen and indeed shares in the purer waters for purification, though he is not yet received into the functions of communal life. For after this demonstration of endurance, the character is tested for two further years, and after he has thus been shown worthy he is reckoned into the group. Before he may touch the communal food, however, he swears dreadful oaths to them: first, that he will observe piety toward the deity; then, that he will maintain just actions toward humanity; that he will harm no one, whether by his own deliberation or under order; that he will hate the unjust and contend together with the just; that he will always maintain faithfulness to all, especially to those in control, for without God it does not fall to anyone to hold office, and that, should he hold office, he will never abuse his authority—outshining his subordinates, whether by dress or by some form of extravagant appearance; always to love the truth and expose the liars; that he will keep his hands pure from theft and his soul from unholy gain; that he will neither conceal anything from the school-members nor disclose anything of theirs to others, even if one should apply force to the point of death. In addition to these, he swears that he will impart the precepts to no one otherwise than as he received them, that he will keep away from banditry, and that he will preserve intact their school’s books and the names of the angels. With such oaths as these they completely secure those who join them.

“Those they have convicted of sufficiently serious errors they expel from the order. … Now with respect to trials, [they are] just and extremely precise: they render judgment after having assembled no fewer than a hundred, and something that has been determined by them is non-negotiable. There is a great reverence among them for—next to God—the name of the lawgiver, and if anyone insults him he is punished by death. They make it point of honor to submit to the elders and to a majority. So if ten were seated together, one person would not speak if the nine were unwilling. They guard against spitting into [their] middles or to the right side and against applying themselves to labors on the seventh days, even more than all other Judeans: for not only do they prepare their own food one day before, so that they might not kindle a fire on that day, but they do not even dare to transport a container…

“They are divided into four classes, according to their duration in the training, and the later-joiners are so inferior to the earlier-joiners that if they should touch them, the latter wash themselves off as if they have mingled with a foreigner. [They are] long-lived, most of them passing 100 years—as a result, it seems to me at least, of the simplicity of their regimen and their orderliness. Despisers of terrors, triumphing over agonies by their wills, considering death—if it arrives with glory—better than deathlessness. The war against the Romans proved their souls in every way: during it, while being twisted and also bent, burned and also broken, and passing through all the torture-chamber instruments, with the aim that they might insult the lawgiver or eat something not customary, they did not put up with suffering either one: not once gratifying those who were tormenting [them], or crying. But smiling in their agonies and making fun of those who were inflicting the tortures, they would cheerfully dismiss their souls, [knowing] that they would get them back again.

“For the view has become tenaciously held among them that whereas our bodies are perishable and their matter impermanent, our souls endure forever, deathless: they get entangled, having emanated from the most refined ether, as if drawn down by a certain charm into the prisons that are bodies. But when they are released from the restraints of the flesh, as if freed from a long period of slavery, then they rejoice and are carried upwards in suspension. … For the base, on the other hand, they separate off a murky, stormy recess filled with unending retributions. … For the good become even better in the hope of a reward also after death, whereas the impulses of the bad are impeded by anxiety, as they expect that even if they escape detection while living, after their demise they will be subject to deathless retribution. These matters, then, the Essenes theologize with respect to the soul, laying down an irresistible bait for those who have once tasted of their wisdom.

“There are also among them those who profess to foretell what is to come, being thoroughly trained in holy books, various purifications, and concise sayings of prophets. Rarely if ever do they fail in their predictions.

“There is also a different order of Essenes. Though agreeing with the others about regimen and customs and legal matters, it has separated in its opinion about marriage. For they hold that those who do not marry cut off the greatest part of life, the succession, and more: if all were to think the same way, the line would very quickly die out. To be sure, testing the brides in a three-year interval, once they have been purified three times as a test of their being able to bear children, they take them in this manner; but they do not continue having intercourse with those who are pregnant, demonstrating that the need for marrying is not because of pleasure, but for children. Baths [are taken] by the women wrapping clothes around themselves, just as by the men in a waist-covering. Such are the customs of this order.” (This deliberately literal translation of the Greek is from Steve Mason, Flavius Josephus: translation and commentary, vol. 1b: Judean War)

We are not, however, still living in the Old Covenant. Today, after the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the standard of “perfection” and spiritual maturation is much higher (St. John Chrysostom, Virg., XLIV. 1.12-13; SC 125. p. 252). Thus, “Since we have been vouchsafed a larger and more perfect teaching, God having no longer spoken by the prophets, but ‘having in these last days spoken to us by His Son,’ let us show forth a conversation far higher than theirs, and suitable to the honor bestowed on us. Strange would it be that He should have so far lowered Himself, as to choose to speak to us no longer by His servants, but by His own mouth, and yet we should show forth nothing more than those of old. They had Moses for their teacher, we, Moses’ Lord. Let us then exhibit a heavenly wisdom worthy of this honor, and let us have nothing to do with the earth” (St. John Chrysostom, Hom. XV in Jn.; PG 59.100-101).

God, who knows us better than ourselves, knows that man is weak and that man will fall into temptation when the chance to gratify the temptation is present. Thus, He ordained through the Holy Spirit that holy communities of men and women should be formed that lived a most exemplary and pure life. Sadly, these kinds of communities of true Catholics does not exist anymore, but by the grace of God and in accordance to prophecies that prophesy a renewal of things and of the Church, people will resolve to imitate these holy people. These people are, as it were, the life-blood of the whole human civilization and their prayers rise up to God as a perfect offering, and thus, the effect of such communities are always spiritually fruitful and advantageous for the world. Spouses should seriously consider practicing chastity unto the end of their lives for the sake of begetting spiritual children instead of fleshly or carnal children; because the spiritual is so much higher than the carnal as much as Heaven is above the Earth or the angels above men. “That virginity is good I do agree. But that it is even better than marriage, this I do confess. And if you wish, I will add that it is as much better than marriage as Heaven is better than Earth, as much better as angels are better than men.” (St. John Chrysostom, The Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol. 2: 1116, 392 A.D.)

Thus, the spouses who promise to be chaste until death beget eternal and spiritual children instead of fleshly and perishable children. St. Caesarius of Arles says, “You do not want to have a [fleshly] child? Settle a pious agreement with your husband; let him agree to an end of childbearing in accord with the virtue of chastity. The only sterility of a very pious wife is chastity.” (Sermon 52:4)

“But now in good, although aged, marriage, albeit there has withered away the glow of full age between male and female, yet there lives in full vigor the order of charity between husband and wife: because, the better they are, the earlier they have begun by mutual consent to contain from sexual intercourse with each other: not that it should be matter of necessity afterwards not to have power to do what they would, but that it should be matter of praise to have been unwilling at the first, to do what they had power to do. If therefore there be kept good faith of honor, and of services mutually due from either sex, although the members of either be languishing and almost corpse-like, yet of souls duly joined together, the chastity continues, the purer by how much it is the more proved, the safer, by how much it is the calmer.” (St. Augustine, On the Good of Marriage, Section 3)

The Church from the very beginning has always taught and encouraged married and unmarried people to adopt a life of perfect chastity and virginity, and this teaching, as we have seen, is based on the teaching of the Apostles and the Holy Scripture. It is for this reason that The Catechism of the Council of Trent and the bishops and theologians of the Council who were instrumental in writing the Catechism recommended virginity and chastity to all in human society, whether old or young, teaching that: “For, now that the human race is increased… virginity is highly extolled and strongly recommended in the Sacred Scriptures to every one, as superior to the marriage state.”

Indeed, the marriage bond of spouses who promise perpetual chastity “will be only a firmer one”: “But God forbid that the nuptial bond should be regarded as broken between those who have by mutual consent agreed to observe a perpetual abstinence from the use of carnal concupiscence. Nay, it will be only a firmer one, whereby they have exchanged pledges together, which will have to be kept by a special endearment and concord—not by the voluptuous links of bodies, but by the voluntary affections of souls.” (St. Augustine, On Marriage and Concupiscence, Book 1, Chapter 12)

Tertullian (c. 160-225), exhorted all churchmen in A.D. 204 to embrace chastity and virginity when he wrote: “How many men, therefore, and how many women, in Ecclesiastical Orders, owe their position to continence, who have preferred to be wedded to God; who have restored the honor of their flesh, and who have already dedicated themselves as sons of that future age, by slaying in themselves the concupiscence of lust, and that whole propensity which could not be admitted within Paradise!” (On Exhortation to Chastity, Chapter 13)

It must be said, however, that everyone who chooses the admirable and superior state of chastity or virginity must not and cannot call himself better or more holy than a person who lives in the state of marriage. It is for God to reward a person for their deeds, and he who exalts himself on this earth shall surely be thrust into hell for his pride and presumption. Our Lord Jesus Christ is clear that “whosoever shall exalt himself shall be humbled: and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” (Matt. 23:12) If the chaste as well as the married have done their duty well, let them say in all humility, “We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which we ought to do.” (Luke 17:10) Whether chaste or married, we must all account ourselves sinners worthy of nothing but eternal hellfire and suffering, for without God’s grace and the merit of Christ’s suffering and blood shed for our sins, we would all have ended up in hell in the eternal fire “where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished.” (Mark 9:43)

St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, On Chastity: “Nor again, on the other hand, in maintaining thy chastity be thou puffed up against those who walk in the humbler path of matrimony. For as the Apostle saith, "Let marriage be had in honor among all, and let the bed be undefiled." Thou too who retainest thy chastity, wast thou not begotten of those who had married? Because thou hast a possession of gold, do not on that account reprobate the silver. But let those also be of good cheer, who being married use marriage lawfully; who make a marriage according to God’s ordinance, and not of wantonness for the sake of unbounded license; who recognize seasons of abstinence, that they may give themselves unto prayer; who in our assemblies bring clean bodies as well as clean garments into the Church; who have entered upon matrimony for the procreation of children, but not for indulgence.” (On the Ten Points of Doctrine, Lecture IV, Section 25.--Of the Body)

While monasticism is to be preferred to marriage, it is to be preferred as a “better” above a “good”, and not as a “good” above an “evil.” Hence St. Gregory of Nazianzus writes, “It is good for one to be tied in marriage, temperately though, rendering more to God than to sexual relations. It is better to be free of these bonds, rendering everything to God and to the things above… Marriage is concerned about spouse and loved ones. Whereas for virginity, it is Christ.” (On Self-Restraint, PG 37, 643A-644A) Thus, St. Cyprian explains that “chastity maintains the first rank in virgins, the second in those who are continent, the third in the case of wedlock.” (Of the Discipline and Advantage of Chastity, no. 4)

And St. Augustine adds, “Thus also this mortal begetting, on account of which marriage takes place, shall be destroyed: but freedom from all sexual intercourse is both angelic exercise here, and continues for ever.... [I]t is good to marry, because it is good to beget children, to be a mother of a family: but it is better not to marry, because it is better not to stand in need of this work.... [W]e gather, that, in the first times of the human race, chiefly for the propagation of the People of God... it was the duty of the Saints to use this good of marriage, not as to be sought for its own sake, but necessary for the sake of something else: but now, whereas, in order to enter upon holy and pure fellowship, there is on all sides from out all nations an overflowing fullness of spiritual kindred, even they who wish to contract marriage only for the sake of children, are to be admonished, that they use rather the larger good of continence.... For what Christian men of our time being free from the marriage bond, having power to contain from all sexual intercourse, seeing it to be now "a time," as it is written, "not of embracing, but of abstaining from embrace," would not choose rather to keep virginal or widowed continence, than... to endure tribulation of the flesh, without which marriages cannot be...?” (On the Good of Marriage, Section 8-15)

Marriage not only remains good and honorable after the promulgation of the Gospel and the New Law, but itself has experienced a radical transformation. In fact, the essence of earthly marriage deepens in the New Covenant and more graphically shows forth its prototype. Marriage is a “mystery and a type of a mighty thing” according to the great St. Chrysostom (Hom. XII in Col.; PG 62.387; NPNF, p. 317). Earthly marriage in the New Covenant is designed to show forth the true “spiritual marriage” (Chrysostom, Catech., 1.1.3; SC 50, p. 10) between Christ and the Church, and between Christ and the individual believing soul. This is the true glory of Christian marriage between God and man. Earthly marriage robs a virgin of her virginity. Spiritual marriage with Christ takes many, including those who have already lost their virginity, and re-creates them as virgins. Spiritual marriage restores virginity, making non-virgins virgins. “In the world virgins remain such before marriage, but not so after marriage. Here it is not like that. But even if they are not virgins before marriage, after the marriage they become virgins. Thus the whole Church is a virgin.” (Chrysostom, Hom. XXIII in 2 Cor.; PG 61.553-554.) St. Ephrem writes, “O you, Virginity, your destruction is simple for all, but your restoration is easy only for the Lord of all.” (Hymn 2 On Virginity, and, Hymn 8 On Epiphany)

The glory of this spiritual marriage is also witnessed by the fact that, unlike earthly suitors who are looking for beauty and wealth, Christ took to Himself the most uncomely and impoverished of brides and made her comely and wealthy (Chrysostom, Hom. XX in Eph.; PG 62.137ff). The earthly dowry contract is a type of the covenant between God and man effected in the promises of obedience to the Bridegroom in Holy Baptism. Through a spiritual birth one enters into a spiritual marriage, not of passion or the flesh, but “wholly spiritual, the soul being united to God by a union unspeakable, and which he alone knoweth.” (Ibid., PG 62.141; NPNF. p. 148.) The ultimate nuptial chamber is in heaven, where there is a beauty preserved for eternity not subject to aging, disease, or anxiety, but is “ever-blooming.” (Chrysostom, Hom. XXVIII in Heb.; PG 63.202)

In the same vein St. Ephrem the Syrian writes concerning the “bridal couch of delights”, “You have exchanged the transitory bridal couch for the bridal couch whose blessings are unceasing.” (Hymn 24 On Virginity) If the bridal chamber be so beautiful, asks St. John Chrysostom, what will the Bridegroom be like? (Hom. XXVIII in Heb.; PG 63.202.) Chrysostom graphically describes the union of Christ and the believer in the reception of the Holy Eucharist in the imagery of the consummation of earthly marriage via intercourse, “But what shall I say? It is not in this way only that I have shown My love to thee, but by what I have suffered. For thee I was spit upon, I was scourged. I emptied myself of glory, I left My Father and came to thee, who dost hate Me, and turn from Me, and art loath to hear My Name. I pursued thee, I ran after thee, that I might overtake thee. I united and joined thee to myself, ‘eat Me, drink Me,’ I said. Above I hold thee, and below I embrace thee. Is it not enough for thee that I have thy First-fruits above? Doth not this satisfy thy affection? I descended below: I not only am mingled with thee, I am entwined in thee. I am masticated, broken into minute particles, that the interspersion, and commixture, and union may be more complete. Things united remain yet in their own limits, but I am interwoven with thee. I would have no more any division between us. I will that we both be one.” (Chrysostom, Hom. XV in 1 Tim.; PG 62.586; NPNF, pp. 463-464.) “Let this be blended into that flesh. This is effected by the food which He hath freely given us, desiring to show the love which He hath for us; He hath kneaded up His body with ours, that we might be a certain One thing, like a body joined to a head. … He hath given to those who desire Him not only to see Him, but even to touch, and eat Him, and fix their teeth In His flesh, and to embrace Him, and satisfy all their love.” (Chrysostom, Hom. XLVI in Jn.; PG 59.260: NPNF. p. 166)

The reception of the Holy Gifts of God is the ultimate blending of flesh for Christians to embrace Christ and to satisfy all their love in the spiritual union. “This body that He given to us both to hold and to eat; a thing appropriate to intense love.” (Chrysostom, Homily XXIV in 1 Cor.; PG 61.204: NPNF. p. 143.) As earthly lovers are joined in a week long marriage feast, so the lover of Mankind weds Himself in Holy Baptism to the neophytes (newcomers), and the Bright Week festivities serve as a type of heavenly wedding feast. St. Ephrem the Syrian writes, “The soul is Your bride, the body Your bridal chamber, Your guests are the senses and thoughts. And if a single body is a wedding feast for You, how great is Your banquet for the whole Church?” (Hymns on Paradise) As in all typology the reality exceeds the type, for “no lover, even if he be violently mad, is so inflamed with his loved one as is God in His desire for the salvation of our souls.” (Trois Catéchèses Baptismales, 2.3-6) God wishes to unite with us more than any lover with his beloved (Exp. in Ps. CXIV; PG 55.316). Tertullian used similar graphic language to describe how Christ loves pious Christian women martyrs who refused to wear cosmetics and completely rejected the vanity it entails. “Go forth now to martyrdom already arrayed in the cosmetics and ornaments of prophets and apostles; drawing your whiteness from simplicity, your ruddy hue from modesty; painting your eyes with bashfulness, and your mouth with silence; implanting in your ears the words of God; fitting on your necks the yoke of Christ… Thus painted, you will have God as your Lover!” (De Cultu Feminarum, II.XIII.7.35-45; CCSL I, p. 370; ANF, p. 25)

St. Augustine, On Christian Doctrine, A.D. 397: “For, if it was possible for one man to use many wives with chastity, it is possible for another to use one wife with lust. And I look with greater approval on the man who uses the fruitfulness of many wives for the sake of an ulterior object, than on the man who enjoys the body of one wife for its own sake. For in the former case the man aims at a useful object suited to the circumstances of the times; in the latter case he gratifies a lust which is engrossed in temporal enjoyments. And those men to whom the apostle permitted as a matter of indulgence to have one wife because of their incontinence, [1 Cor. 7] were less near to God than those who, though they had each of them numerous wives, yet just as a wise man uses food and drink only for the sake of bodily health, used marriage only for the sake of offspring. And, accordingly, if these last had been still alive at the advent of our Lord, when the time not of casting stones away but of gathering them together had come, [Eccles. 3:5] they would have immediately made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. For there is no difficulty in abstaining unless when there is lust in enjoying. And assuredly those men of whom I speak knew that wantonness even in regard to wives is abuse and intemperance, as is proved by Tobit’s prayer when he was married to his wife. For he says: "Blessed art Thou, O God of our fathers, and blessed is Thy holy and glorious name for ever; let the heavens bless Thee, and all Thy creatures. Thou madest Adam, and gavest him Eve his wife for an helper and stay. . . . And now, O Lord, Thou knowest that I take not this my sister for lust… therefore have pity on us, O Lord." [Tobit 8:5-7]” (Book III, Chapter 18, Section 27.--We Must Take into Consideration the Time at Which Anything Was Enjoyed or Allowed.)

God might want a more virtuous, holy and pure way of life for a couple

The path to purity and perfection if one of the spouses is barren, is to perform the sexual act with the hope that God will grant a miracle of conception. This has happened numerous times throughout history and still happens even today. The Golden Legend tells us how the Blessed Virgin Mary’s parents was granted this miracle of conception:

“I have seen thy shame [St. Joachim] and heard the reproach. That thou art barren is to thee no reproach by right, and God is avenger of sin and not of nature. And when he closeth the belly or womb, he worketh so that he openeth it after, more marvelously. And the fruit that shall be born shall not be seen to come forth by lechery, but that it be known that it is of the gift of God. The first mother of your people was Sara, and she was barren unto the ninetieth year, and had only Isaac, to whom the benediction of all people was promised. And was not Rachel long barren? And yet had she not after Joseph, that held all the lordship of Egypt? Which was more strong than Samson, and more holy than Samuel? And yet were their mothers barren. Thus mayst thou believe by reason and by example that the children long awaited be wont to be more marvelous. And therefore Anne thy wife shall have a daughter, and thou shalt call her Mary [The Blessed Virgin Mary], and she, as ye have avowed, shall be from her infancy sacred unto our Lord, and shall be full of the Holy Ghost...” (The Golden Legend or The Lives of The Saints, Vol 5, p. 59: The Nativity of Our Blessed Lady)

There is no guarantee, however, that God will grant barren couples children. In truth, God may want you to remain childless and then you have to accept this fact. There are many reasons why God would want this. One of the most common reasons for this is because God knows you will serve Him more devotedly because of it and that you will be of greater use in saving your own soul and the souls of other people, since, if you have no children, you will have more time to help and convert others and save yourself; instead of caring for your family or children. Thus, “now that the resurrection is at our gates, and we do not speak of death, but advance toward another life better than the present, the desire for posterity is superfluous [since the world is filled with people]. If you desire children, you can get much better children now, a nobler childbirth and better help in your old age, if you give birth by spiritual labor.” (St. John Chrysostom, On the Sacred Institution of Marriage, Homily One)

In truth, “now [in the New Law] no one who is made perfect in piety seeks to have sons, save after a spiritual sense; but then [in the Old Law] it was the work of piety itself to beget sons even after a carnal sense: in that the begetting of that people was fraught with tidings of things to come [of the birth of the Savior], and pertained unto the prophetic dispensation.” (St. Augustine, On the Good of Marriage, Section 19, A.D. 401)

There are also many examples in the Bible of God granting barren couples holy children first after they made a vow of raising the child in holiness and in the service of God. St. John the Baptist and Samson are just two examples of many. The Golden Legend tells us how St. John the Baptist’s parents was granted this miracle of conception:

“These two, Zachariah and his wife Elizabeth [the parents of John the Baptist], were just before our Lord, living in all the justifications, and holding all the commandments of the law without murmur or complaint, praising and thanking our Lord God. They had no children, for the holy woman was barren. They had great desire to have a son that might be bishop of the law by succession of lineage after Zachariah, and hereof had they in their youth prayed much to our Lord, but when it pleased not unto our Lord, they took it a worth and thanked God of all. They served the more devoutly our Lord God, for they had no charge but only to serve and attend unto him. Many there be that withdraw them from the service and love of our Lord for the love of their children.” (The Golden Legend or The Lives of The Saints, Vol 3: The Nativity of St. John Baptist)

However, God may also want you to use your time and effort in giving birth to spiritual children, which is far greater than giving birth to fleshly children. Thus, a couple should not mourn the lack of a child, but instead thank God for showing them that He wishes them to do something else with their time. St. John Chrysostom writes concerning infertility, “Let women not be distressed when they have no children: instead, let them give evidence of a thankful disposition and have recourse to the Creator and direct their request to him, the Lord of nature, not attributing childbirth to the intercourse of the partners nor to any other source than the Creator of everything.” (Homilies on Genesis, Homily XXI; PG 53.178)

St. Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 51:4: “Therefore, those to whom God is unwilling to give children should not try to have them by means of magical herbs or signs or evil charms. It is becoming proper for Christians especially not to seem to fight against the dispensation of Christ by cruel, wicked boldness. Just as women whom God wants to bear more children must not take medicines to prevent their conception, so those whom God wished to remain sterile should desire and seek this gift from God alone. They should always leave it to divine Providence, asking in their prayers that God in His goodness may deign to grant what is best for them. Those women whom God wants to bear children should take care of all that are conceived, or give them to someone else to rear. As many as they kill after they are already conceived or born, before the tribunal of the eternal Judge they will be held guilty of so many murders. If women attempt to kill the children within them by evil medicines, and themselves die in the act, they become guilty of three crimes on their own: suicide, spiritual adultery, and murder of the unborn child. Therefore, women do wrong when they seek to have children by means of evil drugs. They sin still more grievously when they kill the children who are already conceived or born, and when by taking impious drugs to prevent conception they condemn in themselves the nature which God wanted to be fruitful. Let them not doubt that they have committed as many murders as the number of the children they might have begotten.”

God also sometimes wants a couple to take in orphans and love them as if they were their own children; and barrenness can certainly be a result of this will of the Lord. A good couple should not be saddened if they are not given children through the natural way, but rejoice in the Lord and pray to Him fervently to be told what He wants them to do instead of raising their own fleshly children. They must love their adopted children as much as if they were their own, and not place the evil and worldly custom of loving humans just because they are of the same blood above the spiritual law that says that we must love all in the same way, whether they are of the same fleshly and temporal family as our own or not. St. John Chrysostom writes, “For that it is the business of widows—I speak of the bringing up of children—hear Paul saying, "If she hath brought up children" (1 Tim. 5:10); and again, "She shall be saved through the child-bearing," (he has not said through her husband,) if they continue in faith and love and sanctification with sobriety" (1 Tim. 2:15).” (Homilies on the First Epistle of St. Paul to the Thessalonians, Homily VI, 1 Thess. iv. 9-13, Ver. 13)

The Blessed Virgin Mary’s Life is the foundation of all chaste servants of Christ

Our Beloved Mother, Lady and Queen, The Blessed Virgin Mary, spoke to Sister Mary of Agreda (1602-1665), Spain, in a spiritual revelation recorded in the book “The Mystical City of God,” and explained the great necessity for all people to control their eyes, and to not set their eyes on things that might disturb their souls. She also told Sr. Mary of Agreda that Her own life was the foundation of the pure and chaste life of all religious and chaste servants of Our Lord, which is a fact that was not known publicly to many people at that time. In fact, Our Lady’s “four vows of poverty, obedience, chastity and enclosure pleased the Lord very much, and I [The Blessed Virgin Mary] merited thereby that the Godfearing in the Church and in the law of grace are drawn to live under these vows, as is the custom in the present time.”

The Virgin Mary spoke to Sister Mary of Agreda, saying: “My daughter, among the great and ineffable favors of the Omnipotent in the course of my life, was the one which thou has just learned and described; for by this clear vision of the Divinity and of the incomprehensible essence I acquired knowledge of the most hidden sacraments and mysteries, and in this adornment and espousal I received incomparable blessings and felt the sweetest workings of the Divinity in my spirit. My desire to take the four vows of poverty, obedience, chastity and enclosure pleased the Lord very much, and I merited thereby that the Godfearing in the Church and in the law of grace are drawn to live under these vows, as is the custom in the present time. This was the beginning of that which you religious practice now, fulfilling the words of David in the forty-fourth psalm: "After Her shall virgins be brought to the King;" for the Lord ordained that my aspirations be the foundation of religious life and of the evangelical law. I fulfilled entirely and perfectly all that I proposed to the Lord, as far as was possible in my state of life; never did I look upon the face of a man, not even on that of my husband Joseph, nor on that of the angels, when they appeared to me in human form, though I saw and knew them all in God. Never did I incline toward any creature, rational or irrational, nor toward any human operation or tendency. But in all things I was governed by the Most High, either directly by Himself or indirectly through the obedience, to which I freely subjected myself.

“Be careful therefore, my daughter, and fear so dreadful a danger; by divine assistance of grace raise thyself above thyself, never permitting thy will to consent to any disorderly affection or movement. I wish thee to consume thyself in dying to thy passions and in becoming entirely spiritualized, so that having extinguished within thee all that is of earth, thou mayest come to lead an angelic life and conversation. In order to deserve the name of spouse of Christ, thou must pass beyond the limits and the sphere of a human being and ascend to another state and divine existence. Although thou art earth, thou must be a blessed earth, without the thorns of passion, one whose fruit is all for the Lord, its Master. If thou hast for thy Spouse that supreme and mighty Lord, who is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, consider it beneath thy dignity to turn thy eyes, and much more thy heart, toward such vile slaves, as are the human creatures, for even the angels love and respect thee for thy dignity as spouse of the Most High. If even among men it is held to be a daring and boundless insolence in a plebeian to cast longing eyes upon the spouse of a prince, what a crime would it be to cast them on the spouse of the heavenly and omnipotent King? And it would not be a smaller crime if she herself would receive and consent to such familiarity. Consider and assure thyself that the punishment reserved for this sin is inconceivably terrible and I do not show it to thee visibly, lest thou perish in thy weakness. I wish that for thee my instructions suffice to urge thee to the fulfillment of all I admonish and to imitate me as my disciple, as far as thy powers go. Be also solicitous in recalling this instruction to the mind of thy nuns and in seeing that they live up to it.

“My daughter, the greatest happiness, which can befall any soul in this mortal life, is that the Almighty call her to his house consecrated to his service. For by this benefit He rescues the soul from a dangerous slavery and relieves her of the vile servitude of the world, where, deprived of true liberty, she eats her bread in the sweat of her brow. Who is so dull and insipid as not to know the dangers of the worldly life, which is hampered by all the abominable and most wicked laws and customs introduced by the astuteness of the devil and the perversity of men? The better part is religious life and retirement; in it is found security, outside is a torment and a stormy sea, full of sorrow and unhappiness. Through the hardness of their heart and the total forgetfulness of themselves men do not know this truth and are not attracted by its blessings. But thou, O soul, be not deaf to the voice of the Most High, attend and correspond to it in thy actions: I wish to remind thee, that one of the greatest snares of the demon is to counteract the call of the Lord, whenever he seeks to attract and incline the soul to a life of perfection in his service.

“Even by itself, the public and sacred act of receiving the habit and entering religion, although it is not always performed with proper fervor and purity of intention, is enough to rouse the wrath and fury of the infernal dragon and his demons; for they know that this act tends not only to the glory of the Lord and the joy of the holy angels, but that religious life will bring the soul to holiness and perfection. It very often happens, that they who have received the habit with earthly and human motives, are afterwards visited by divine grace, which perfects them and sets all things aright. If this is possible even when the beginning was without a good intention, how much more powerful and efficacious will be the light and influence of grace and the discipline of religious life, when the soul enters under the influence of divine love and with a sincere and earnest desire of finding God, and of serving and loving Him?” (The Mystical City of God, “The Divine History and Life of The Virgin Mother of God”, Book 2, Chapter 1)

Also, not many people are aware of this truth, but all “our good works pass through the hands of Mary” and are increased by Her, and this makes it very important for everyone to pray the Rosary and direct our supplications and prayers directly to Our Lady for the great grace to remain chaste and pure until death. St. Louis De Montfort (1710) explains that: “inasmuch as our good works pass through the hands of Mary, they receive an augmentation [increase] of purity, and consequently of merit, and of satisfactory and impetratory value. On this account they become more capable of solacing the souls in purgatory and of converting sinners than if they did not pass through the virginal and liberal hands of Mary. It may be little that we give by our Lady; but, in truth, if it is given without self-will and with a disinterested charity, that little becomes very mighty to turn away the wrath of God and to draw down His mercy.” (True Devotion to Mary #172)

Thus, “in the heavens Mary commands the angels and the blessed. As a recompense, God has empowered her and commissioned her to fill with saints the empty thrones from which the apostate angels fell by pride.” (True Devotion to Mary #28) And so “the greatest saints, the souls richest in graces and virtues, shall be the most assiduous in praying to our Blessed Lady, and in having her always present as their perfect model for imitation and their powerful aid for help.” (True Devotion to Mary #46) Those who fervently pray to Our Lady will always experience an alleviation in their temptations because, “when the Holy Ghost, her Spouse, has found Mary in a soul, He flies there. He enters there in His fullness; He communicates Himself to that soul abundantly, and to the full extent to which it makes room for His Spouse. Nay, one of the great reasons why the Holy Ghost does not now do startling wonders in our souls is because He does not find there a sufficiently great union with His faithful and inseparable Spouse.” (True Devotion to Mary # 36) Indeed, “… many others have proved invincibly, from the sentiments of the Fathers (among others, St. Augustine, St. Ephrem, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Germanus, St. John Damascene, St. Anselm, St. Bernard, St. Bernardine, St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure), that devotion to Mary is necessary to salvation, and that… it is an infallible mark of reprobation to have no esteem and love for the holy Virgin.” (True Devotion to Mary #40)

In contrast to the true children of God who love and honor Mary, and who salutes Her through the daily prayer of the Most Holy Rosary, heretics and especially the Protestants regard Our Lady with contempt or disregard and often speak lowly of her as if she was a woman like everyone else and who just “happened” to be chosen by God, and nothing more. And what’s worse, they even get angry at people and accuse those who honor and pray to Our Lady for idolatry and heresy. Sadly, all heretics by their manifest contempt of Our Lady whom Our Lord loves and honors so much (and who is the most virtuous person that have ever lived or will ever live outside of Jesus Christ) reveal their impending and eternal damnation. “All the true children of God, the predestinate, have God for their Father and Mary for their Mother. He who has not Mary for his Mother has not God for his Father. This is the reason why the reprobate, such as heretics, schismatics and others, who hate our Blessed Lady or regard her with contempt and indifference, have not God for their Father, however much they boast of it, simply because they have not Mary for their Mother.” (St. Louis De Montfort, True Devotion to Mary #30)

Protestants especially reject the intercession of the Saints, but all that can read the Bible of course know that this is a complete rejection of the Bible. We see an example in Revelation chapter 5 of saintly intercession in Heaven. “... elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of the saints.” (Revelation 5:8) In the Book of Revelation or Apocalypse chapter 6, we also see dead saints who were martyred for the true faith of Jesus Christ, asking God to act on earth, and pleading to God to revenge their blood: “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, how long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” (Revelation 6:9-10) Notice that the souls of these dead martyrs cry out from underneath the altar. Since ancient times, the Catholic Church has placed the relics of martyrs underneath the altar. The fact that the voices of the martyrs come from under the altar – exactly where their relics are located in Catholic churches – is an interesting biblical confirmation of the Catholic and Biblical practice of relics. (Also see 2 Kings 2:8; 2 Kings 13:21; and Acts 19:12 for more biblical proof and passages of God’s power manifested though the relics of His holy departed or living servants.)

The next example we will look at comes from 1st Machabees chapter 5. This was a book which the Protestants removed from the Bible when they split from the Catholic Church. The comments given in the section on Purgatory in the book The Bible Proves the Teachings of the Catholic Church demonstrates that the Books of the Machabees are part of the true Old Testament. This is proven by the fact that the New Testament quotes from the Septuagint, which contains the Books of the Machabees and the 5 others which the Protestants reject. This passage concerns a vision of Onias, a high-priest who had died, “Now the vision was in this manner: Onias who had been high priest, a good and virtuous man, modest in his looks, gentle in his manners, and graceful in his speech, and who from a child was exercised in virtues, holding up his hands, prayed for all the people of the Jews: After this there appeared also another man… Then Onias answering… this is he that prayeth much for the people, and for all the holy city, Jeremias the prophet of God. Whereupon Jeremias stretched forth his right hand, and gave to Judas a sword of gold…” (2 Machabees 15:12) This fascinating passage (which was removed from the Protestant bible) relates the vision of the deceased high-priest Onias. After his death, he was seen holding out his hands and interceding for the Jews by his prayers. Onias also presents the deceased prophet Jeremias, who gives a sword of gold to Judas Machabeus. Judas Machabeus is not to be confused with the traitor of the New Testament, Judas Iscariot. This passage is, therefore, another clear proof of the intercession of deceased saints, and the effectiveness of their prayers.

And so, it is an established fact of Holy Scripture that the Saints help us through their prayers. However, in comparison to all the Angels and Saints in Heaven, The Blessed Virgin Mary is greater than all Angels and men combined, according to the testimony and the Word of Our Lord Himself, and that is why her intercessory power with God is so much more effective than prayers to other Saints or Angels. (Please also see the section, The Biblical Basis For Praying To Mary And For Catholic Teachings On Mary)

Indeed, The Revelations of St. Bridget reveals that Our Lord “preferred” his “Mother Mary above all others and loved her above every creature”, which shows us that after God, the most blessed and highly exalted creature of all in creation, is the Blessed Virgin Mary:

“[I saw a throne in Heaven on which sat the Lord Jesus Christ as Judge. At his feet sat the Virgin Mary. Surrounding the throne was a host of angels and a countless multitude of saints. A certain monk, a great scholar of theology, stood high up on a rung of a ladder that was fixed in the earth and whose top reached up to Heaven. With an impatient and agitated bearing, as though full of wickedness and guile, he put questions to the Judge:] First question. After this was said, the monk appeared on his rung as before saying: “O Judge, I ask you: Why do you seem unfair in your gifts and graces in that you gave preference to Mary your Mother before every creature and exalted her above the angels?”

Answer to the first question. The Judge answered: “Friend, in my deity are contained all future things and everything that will be done as well as everything that has been done, all of them being foreseen and foreknown from the start. Just as the fall of humankind was something foreknown and permitted by God’s justice but not accomplished through God nor something that had to happen due to God’s foreknowledge, so too it was foreknown from eternity that the liberation of humankind would be accomplished through God’s mercy.

“You ask why I preferred my mother Mary above all others and loved her above every creature. This is because a special mark of virtue was found in her. As when several logs are piled up and a fire is kindled, that log which is most capable and fit for burning is more quickly set aflame and starts burning. It was the same with Mary. When the fire of divine love, which in itself is immutable and eternal, began to kindle and be seen, and the deity wished to become incarnate, there was no creature more capable and fitter to receive this fire of love than the Virgin Mary, for no creature burned with such divine charity as she. And although her love has been shown and revealed in the last age, yet it was foreseen before the beginning of the world. Thus it was predetermined in the deity from all eternity that just as no one was found like her in charity, so too no one would be equal to her in grace and blessing.” (Book 5, Interrogation 9)

In another revelation the Son of God spoke to her Mother and said:

“My most dear Mother, your words are sweet to me, for they come from your soul. You are like the dawn that breaks forth with clarity. You outshine all the heavens and your light and your clarity surpass all the angels. By your clarity, you drew to yourself the true sun, that is, my Divinity, so much so that the sun of my Divinity came to you and settled on you. By his warmth you are warmed in my love over all others and by his splendor you are enlightened in my wisdom more than all others. The darkness of the earth was chased away and all the heavens were enlightened through you. I say in my truth that your purity pleased me more than all the angels, and it drew my Divinity to you so that you were enkindled by the warmth of my Spirit; and through it you enclosed the true God and Man in your womb whereby mankind has been enlightened and the angels made joyful. Therefore, may you be blessed by your blessed Son! And for this reason, no prayer of yours will ever come to me without being heard, and through you, anyone who prays for mercy with the intention of mending their sinful ways will receive grace for your sake. For just as heat comes from the sun, so too all mercy is given through you. You are like a filled and flowing spring from which mercy flows to the help of the wretched.”

“The Mother answered the Son: “All virtue and glory be yours, my Son! You are my God and my mercy; all good that I have comes from you. You are like the seed that was never sown but still grew and gave fruit a hundredfold and a thousandfold. For all mercy comes from you and since it is innumerable and ineffable, it can indeed be signified by the number one hundred, which signifies perfection, for all perfection comes from you and everyone is perfected in virtue by you.”

“The Son answered the Mother: “Indeed, my Mother, you likened me rightly to the seed that was never sown but still grew, since I came with my Divinity to you, and my Manhood was not sown by intercourse but still grew in you, and from it mercy flowed out from you to all. Therefore, you have spoken rightly. Since you now draw mercy out of me with the most sweet words of your mouth, ask me what you want, and it shall be given to you.”

“The Mother answered: “My Son, since I have won mercy from you, I beg for mercy and help for the wretched. For there are namely four places: The first is Heaven, where the angels and the souls of the saints need nothing but you whom they have – for in you they have every good. The second place is hell, and those who stay there are filled with malice and excluded from all mercy. Therefore, nothing good can enter into them any more. The third is the place of those being purged in purgatory, and those who stay there need a threefold mercy since they are tormented in a threefold way. They suffer through their hearing, for they hear nothing but pain, sorrow, and misery. They suffer through their sight, for they see nothing but their own misery. They are tormented through their touch, for they feel the heat of the unbearable fire and of the harsh torment. My Lord and my Son, give them your mercy for the sake of my prayers!”

“The Son answered: “I will gladly give them a threefold mercy for your sake. First, their hearing shall be relieved, their sight will be eased, and their torment will be reduced and relieved. And all those who are in the greatest and most severe torment of the fires of purgatory shall from this moment come to the middle torment; those who are in the middle torment shall come to the lightest; and those who are in the lightest torment shall come home to rest.”

“The Mother answered: “Praise and honor to you, my Lord!” And she immediately said to her Son: “My beloved Son, the fourth place is the world, and its inhabitants are in need of three things: First, repentance for their sins. Second, penance and atonement. Third, the strength to do good deeds.”

“The Son answered: “Everyone who calls on your name and has hope in you along with a purpose of amendment for his sins shall be given these three things as well as the kingdom of Heaven. Your words are so sweet to me that I cannot deny you anything you plead for, for you want nothing other than what I want. You are indeed like a shining and burning flame by which the extinguished lights are enkindled and the burning lights are strengthened, for by your love which arose in my heart and drew me to you, those who are dead in sin will come to life again and those who are tepid and black like smoke will become strong in my love.” (The Revelations of St. Bridget, Book 1, Chapter 50)

In an additional revelation the Mother of God spoke to her Son and said:

“Blessed be your name, my Son Jesus Christ, and all honor to your Manhood above all that is created! Glory to your Divinity above all good things, which are one God with your Manhood!”

“The Son answered: “My Mother, you are like a flower that grew in a valley. Around the valley there were five high mountains, and the flower grew out of three roots with a straight stem without any knots. This flower had five leaves that were filled with all sweetness. The valley with its flower grew above these five mountains, and the leaves of the flower spread themselves above every height of heaven and above all the choirs of angels. My beloved Mother, you are this valley for the sake of the great humility you had in comparison with all others. Your humility grew higher than five mountains.

“The first mountain was Moses because of his power. For he had power over my people through the Law, as if it were enclosed in his hand. But you enclosed the Lord of all law in your womb and, therefore, you are higher than this mountain. The second mountain was Elijah, who was so holy that he with soul and body was assumed into my holy place. But your soul, my most dear Mother, was assumed above all the choirs of angels to the throne of God along with your most pure body. You are therefore higher than Elijah. The third mountain was the strength of Samson that surpassed all other men. Yet the devil defeated him with his treachery. But you defeated the devil with your strength and power. You are therefore stronger than Samson. The fourth mountain was David, who was a man according to my heart and will, but yet fell into sin. But you, my beloved Mother, followed my will in all and never sinned. The fifth mountain was Solomon, who was full of wisdom but nevertheless was fooled. But you, my Mother, were full of all wisdom and were never fooled or deceived. You are therefore higher than Solomon.

“The flower grew from three roots, because of the three things you had from your youth: obedience, charity, and divine understanding. Out of these three roots grew the most straight stem without any knots, which means that your will was never bent to anything but my will. This flower also had five leaves that grew above all the choirs of angels. My dear Mother, you are indeed the flower with these five leaves.

“The first leaf is your nobleness, which is so great that my angels, who are noble before me, when seeing and considering your nobleness, saw that it was above them and more eminent than their holiness and nobleness. You are therefore higher than the angels. The second leaf is your mercy, which was so great that you, when you saw the misery of all the souls, had compassion over them and suffered the greatest torment at my death. The angels are full of mercy, and yet they never endure sorrow or pain, but you, my loving Mother, were merciful to the wretched when you felt all the sorrow and torment of my death, and you wanted to suffer torment for the sake of mercy rather than being separated from it. Therefore, your mercy surpassed the mercy of all the angels. The third leaf is your loving kindness. The angels are loving and kind and want good for everyone, but you, my dearest Mother, had before your death a will like an angel in your soul and body and did good to everyone. And still you do not refuse anyone who reasonably prays for his own good. Therefore, your kindness is higher and greater than the angels. The fourth leaf is your beauty. The angels behold the beauty of each other and wonder over the beauty of all souls and all bodies, but they see that the beauty of your soul is above all that is created and that the nobleness of your body surpasses all created beings. And so, your beauty surpassed all the angels and everything created. The fifth leaf was your divine joy, for nothing pleased you but God, just as nothing but God delights the angels. Each and every one of them knows and knew his own joy in himself, but when they saw the joy in you to God, they beheld in their conscience how their joy flamed up in them like a light in the love of God. They saw that your joy was like a flaming bonfire, burning with the hottest fire, with flames so high that it came near to my Divinity. And for this reason, my most sweet Mother, your divine joy burned well above all the choirs of angels. Since this flower had these five leaves, namely, nobleness, mercy, loving kindness, beauty, and the highest joy in God, it was full of all sweetness.

“But the one who wants to taste of its sweetness should approach the sweetness and assume it into himself. This is also what you did, my most sweet Mother. You were so sweet to my Father that he assumed all of you into his Spirit, and your sweetness delighted him above all other things. The flower also bears a seed by the heat and power of the sun and from it grows a fruit. In this way the blessed sun, my Divinity, assumed Manhood from your virginal womb. For just as the seed makes and grows flowers of the same kind as the seed wherever it is sown, so my limbs were like yours in shape and appearance, even though I was a man and you a woman and a virgin. This valley was uplifted with its flower above all mountains when your body together with your most holy soul was lifted up above all the choirs of angels.” (The Revelations of St. Bridget, Book 1, Chapter 51)

It should thus be clear to all of good will that “The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of God; therefore she is far more excellent than all the Angels, even the Seraphim and Cherubim. She is the Mother of God; therefore she is most pure and most holy, so that under God no greater purity can be imagined.” (Pope Pius XI, Lux Veritatis #42, A.D. 1931)

The fact that Our Lady is more perfect than all other creatures, is also the reason why her intercessory power is greater than all other created beings. Christ Himself also confirms that His “Mother excel all the saints in virtue. Though the angels are pure, she is purer still. Though the prophets were filled with God’s Spirit, though the martyrs suffered greatly, yet my Spirit was fuller and more fervent in my Mother, and she was greater than any martyr. The confessors certainly practiced complete abstinence, but my Mother had still more perfect abstinence, for in her was found my divinity along with my humanity.” (The Revelations of St. Bridget, Book 4, Chapter 92)

“Let us contemplate the sentiments of profound respect and maternal tenderness, which fill the soul of our blessed Lady, now that she has conceived Jesus in her chaste womb: He is her God, and yet He is her Son. Let us think upon this wonderful dignity bestowed upon a creature; and let us honour the Mother of our God. It is by this mystery that the prophecy of Isaias was fulfilled: “Behold, a Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son;” and that of Jeremias: “The Lord hath created a new thing upon the earth; a woman shall compass a Man.”

“… But what human language could express the dignity of our Lady, who carries within her chaste womb Him that is the world’s salvation! If Moses, after a mere colloquy with God, returned to the Israelites with the rays of the majesty of Jehovah circling his head, what an aureola of glory is due to Mary, who has within her, as in a living heaven, that very God Himself! The divine Wisdom tempers the effulgence of her glory that it be not visible to men; and this in order that the state of humility, which the Son of God has chosen as the one in which He would manifest Himself to the world, should not be removed at the very outset by the dazzling glory which would, otherwise, have been seen gleaming from His Mother.

“… What so lovely in creation as this Virgin, who loves the Lord with such matchless love and is so exceedingly loved by this her Lord? It is she of whom the Scripture speaks, when it calls the bride the dearest hind. What, too, so lovely as that well-beloved Son of God, born of His beloved Father from all eternity, and now, at the end of time, as the apostle speaks, formed in the womb of His dearest Mother, and become to her, in the words of the same divine proverb, the sweetest fawn? Let us, therefore, cull our flowers, and offer them to both Child and Mother. But let me briefly tell you what are the flowers you must offer to our Lady. Christ says, speaking of His Humanity, ‘I am the flower of the field, and the lily of the valleys.’ By Him, therefore, let us purify our souls and bodies, and so be able to approach our God in chastity. Next, preserve this flower of purity from all that would injure it; for flowers are tender things, and soon droop and fade. Let us wash our hands among the innocent, and, with a pure heart, and pure body, and cleansed lips, and chaste soul, let us gather in the paradise of our heavenly Father our fresh flowers for the new Nativity of our new King. With these flowers let us stay up this most saintly Mother, this Virgin of virgins, this Queen of queens, this Lady of ladies; that so we may deserve to receive the blessing of the Mother and of the divine Babe.” (The Liturgical Year by Dom Guéranger, O.S.B.)

The best way to honor Our Lady and ask Her for spiritual graces is undoubtedly to pray the Rosary daily, which countless of Popes and Saints have revealed is especially effective in helping to conquer our sins and everyday failings. St. Louis De Montfort writes: “I could tell you at great length of the grace God gave me to know by experience the effectiveness of the preaching of the Holy Rosary and of how I have seen, with my own eyes, the most wonderful conversions it has brought about.” (The Secret of the Rosary, p. 10) St. Louis De Montfort: “Our Lady revealed to Blessed Alan De la Roche that no sooner had St. Dominic begun preaching the Rosary than hardened sinners were touched and wept bitterly over their grievous sins… everywhere that he preached the Holy Rosary such fervor arose that sinners changed their lives and edified everyone by their penances and change of heart.” (The Secret of the Rosary, p. 66)

In truth, Our Lord Himself directs us and tells us to take Our Lady as our Mother at the foot of the cross in the Holy Gospel when He gives Her over to John the Apostle (St. John being a type of the whole of humanity in the same way that many things in the Old Law prefigured things of the New Law). “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother’ s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own.” (John 19:25-27) Though other women were at the foot of the cross, Jesus singles out His mother. Jesus calls her “woman” because she is the woman of Genesis 3:15 – the one in complete opposition to the serpent. To see the overwhelming biblical evidence that Mary is the new Eve and the true Arc of the Covenant, as well as proof for other Catholic doctrines concerning Mary, please read the section about Her in the book The Bible Proves the Teachings of the Catholic Church”, which proves without a doubt that Our Lady have been given an amazing and special intercessory power by Our Lord to help mankind gain victory over sin and the Devil.

The Life of St. Gemma Gelgani (1878-1903): “The reader already knows something of the way in which she strove all her life to keep this beautiful virtue [of chastity] unsullied in her heart. She cultivated a special devotion to St. Agnes, and to the other saints who were particularly remarkable for their purity. But it was above all to the Blessed Virgin that she entrusted the protection of her treasure, and for this purpose all her life long she never omitted to say three Hail Mary’s every day with her hands under her knees. She was once surprised in this position by her Aunt Elisa and upon her asking for an explanation she replied: ‘Grandmother taught me to do it. She said that if I said three Hail Mary’s in that way, the Blessed Virgin would never allow me to commit a sin against purity.’”

The Gospel of Luke tells us about Our Lady’s love of purity and chastity

The Gospel of Luke describes the angelic salutation that the Angel Gabriel gave to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Luke 1:26-35 “And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end. And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

Haydock Commentary explains Luke 1:26-35: “Ver. 34. How shall this be done? She only asks about the manner. --- Because I know not man. This answer, as St. Augustine takes notice, would have been to no purpose, had she not made a vow to God to live always a virgin. (Witham) --- Listen to the words of this pure Virgin. The angel tells her she shall conceive; but she insists upon her virginity, holding her purity in higher estimation than the promised dignity. (St. Gregory of Nyssa.) --- She did not doubt the truth of what the angel said, (as Calvin impiously maintained) but she wished it might not happen to the prejudice of her vowed virginity. (St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, Ven. Bede, Theophylactus, &c. &c.) --- You ask, how shall this be done, since you know not man? This, your ignorance of man, is the very reason why this will take place within you. For had you not been pure, you never would have been deemed worthy of so great a mystery. Not because marriage is bad, but because virginity is far more excellent. The common Lord of all ought in his birth to have something common with all mankind, and still something different. He was conceived and born in the womb like the rest of mankind, but he differed from them in being born of a virgin. (St. Chrysostom, xlix. in Genes.)”

It is of course not a coincidence that God chose a Virgin to bear and give birth to Himself. Mary’s love of chastity and purity was so pleasing to Our Lord that He was drawn to her womb and consented to become man. It was not suitable for God to become a man through the normal way of sexual copulation since, after the fall of Adam and Eve, the sexual act had become intoxicating, shameful and defective in its essence. Our Lord, being the source of all purity and virtue, chose a most holy vessel of chastity and purity ever created – The Blessed Virgin Mary – since the justice and greatness of His Majesty required this.

In St. Bridget’s Revelations, Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself revealed that “I preferred to be born of a virgin rather than of a woman who was not a virgin, because that which is purest befits me who am God most pure. While it remained in the order of its creation, human nature had no deformity. But once the commandment was transgressed, there immediately arose a sense of shame, just as happens to people who sin against their temporal lord, who are even ashamed of the very limbs with which they have sinned. Along with shame over the transgression, there also sprang up a disordered impulse, especially in the reproductive organs. Yet, in order that this impulse might not be unproductive, it was by God’s goodness turned to good, and the act of carnal union was established by divine commandment in order that nature might bear its fruits. However, since it brings greater glory to act above and beyond the commandment, adding whatever good one is led by love to make, it pleased God to choose for his work the institution tending to greater purity and love, and that is virginity. For it is more virtuous and generous to be in the fire of tribulation and not to burn than to be without fire and still want to be crowned. Now, since virginity is like the fairest path to heaven while marriage is more like a road, it befitted me, God most pure, to rest in a virgin most pure. Just as the first man was created from the virgin earth, not yet polluted by blood, and because Adam and Eve committed their sin while they were still in a sound state of nature, so too I, God, wished to be received in the purest vessel so as to transform everything by my goodness.” (The Revelations of Saint Bridget, Book 5, Interrogation 12)

In the same Revelations of St. Bridget, The Blessed Virgin Mary also describes how she had promised chastity to Our Lord long before she was told that she was going to conceive and give birth to God Himself: “I am the Queen of Heaven, the Mother of God... I will now show you more fully how, from the beginning, when I first heard and understood that God existed, I always, and with fear, was concerned about my salvation and my observance of His Commandments. But when I learned more about God—that he was my Creator and the judge of all my actions—I loved him more dearly, and I was constantly fearful and watchful so as to not offend him by word or deed.

“Later, when I heard that he had given the Law and the Commandments to the people and worked such great miracles through them, I made a firm decision in my soul to never love anything but him, and all worldly things became most bitter to me. When still later I heard that God himself would redeem the world and be born of a Virgin, I was seized by such great love for him that I thought of nothing but God and desired nothing but him. I withdrew myself, as much as I was able, from the conversation and presence of parents and friends, and I gave away all my possessions to the poor, and kept nothing for myself but meager food and clothing.

“Nothing was pleasing to me but God! I always wished in my heart to live until the time of his birth, and perhaps, deserve to become the unworthy handmaid of the Mother of God. I also promised in my heart to keep my virginity, if this was acceptable to him, and to have no possessions in the world. However, if God wanted otherwise, my will was that his will, not mine, be done; for I believed that he could do all things and wanted nothing but what was beneficial and best for me. Therefore, I entrusted all my will to him.

“When the time approached for the virgins to be presented in the temple of the Lord, I was also among them due to the devout compliance of my parents to the Law. I thought to myself that nothing was impossible for God, and since he knew that I wanted and desired nothing but him, I knew that he could protect my virginity, if it pleased him. However, if not, I wanted his will to be done. After I had heard all the commandments in the temple, I returned home, burning even more now than ever before with the love of God, being inflamed daily with new fires and desires of love.” (The Revelations of St. Bridget, Book 1 Chapter 10)

In another revelation, Jesus Christ praises His mother’s most pure Virginity and other virtues and explains why He loves Her so much:

“The Son speaks: ‘I am crowned king in my divinity without beginning and without end. A crown has neither beginning nor end; thus it is a symbol of my power, which had no beginning and will have no end. I had another crown, too, in my keeping: I myself, God, am that crown. It was prepared for the person who had the greatest love for me. And you, my most sweet Mother, won this crown and drew it to yourself through righteousness and love. The angels and other saints bear witness that your love for me was more ardent and your chastity more pure than that of any other, and that it was more pleasing to me than all else. Your head was like gleaming gold and your hair like sunbeams, because your most pure virginity, which is like the head of all your virtues, as well as your control over every illicit desire pleased me and shone in my sight with all humility. You are rightly called the crowned queen over all creation - “queen” for the sake of your purity, “crowned” for your excellent worth.” (The Revelations of Saint Bridget, Book 5, Revelation 4)

Venerable Maria de Agreda in her marvelous work “The Mystical City of God: The Divine History and Life of The Virgin Mother of God,” also explains that Our Lady and Queen was totally different than all of the other humans:

The Blessed Birth Of Mary Immaculate. She was born pure and stainless, beautiful and full of grace, thereby demonstrating, that She was free from the law and the tribute of sin. Although She was born substantially like other daughters of Adam, yet her birth was accompanied by such circumstances and conditions of grace, that it was the most wonderful and miraculous birth in all creation [at that time since Our Lord had not been born yet] and will eternally redound to the praise of her Maker. At twelve o’clock in the night this divine Luminary issued forth, dividing the night of the ancient Law and its pristine darknesses from the new day of grace, which now was about to break into dawn. She was clothed, handled and dressed like other infants, though her soul dwelt in the Divinity; and She was treated as an infant, though She excelled all mortals and even all the angels in wisdom. Her mother did not allow Her to be touched by other hands than her own, but she herself wrapped Her in swaddling clothes: and in this Saint Anne was not hindered by her present state of childbirth; for she was free from the toils and labors, which other mothers usually endure in such circumstances.” (The Mystical City of God, Book 1, Chapter 7)

Her Childhood Years. [Words of the Queen – The Virgin Mary speaks to Sister Mary of Agreda, Spain:] My dearest daughter, keep in mind, that all the living are born destined for death, but ignorant of the time allowed them; this they know for certain however, that the term of life is short, that eternity is without end, and that in this life only they can harvest what will yield life or death eternal. In this dangerous pilgrimage of life God has ordained, that no one shall know for certain, whether he is worthy (Eccles. 9, 1) of his love or hate; for if he uses his reason rightly, this uncertainty will urge him to seek with all his powers the friendship of that same Lord. God justifies his cause as soon as the soul acquires the use of reason; for from that time onward He enlightens and urges and guides man toward virtue and draws him away from sin, teaching him to distinguish between water and fire, to approve of the good and reject evil, to choose virtue and repel vice. Moreover, God calls and rouses the soul by his holy inspirations and continual promptings, provides the help of the sacraments, doctrines and commandments, urges man onward through his angels, preachers, confessors, ministers and teachers, by special tribulations and favors, by the example of strangers, by trials, death and other happenings and dispositions of his Providence; He disposes the things of life so as to draw toward Him all men, for He wishes all to be saved. Thus he places at the disposal of the creature a vast field of benevolent help and assistance, which it can and should use for its own advancement. Opposing all this are the tendencies of the inferior and sensitive nature, infected with the fomes peccati, the foment of sin, tending toward sensible objects and by the lower appetites and repugnances, disturbing the reason and enthralling the will in the false liberty of ungoverned desires. The demon also, by his fascinations and his deceitful and iniquitous suggestions obscures the interior light, and hides the deadly poison beneath the pleasant exterior. But the Most High does not immediately forsake his creatures; He renews his mercy and his assistance, recalling them again and again, and if they respond to his first call, He adds others according to his equity, increasing and multiplying them in proportion as the soul corresponds. As a reward of the victory, which the soul wins over itself, the force of his passions and concupiscences is diminished, the spirit is made free to soar higher and rise above its own inclinations and above the demons.

“But if man neglects to rise above his low desires and his forgetfulness, he yields to the enemy of God and man. The more he alienates himself from the goodness of God, so much the more unworthy does he become of the secret callings of the Most High, and so much less does he appreciate his assistance, though it be great. For the demon and the passions have obtained a greater dominion and power over his intellect and have made him more unfit and more incapable of the grace of the Almighty. Thereon, my dear daughter, rests the whole salvation or condemnation of souls, that is, in commencing to admit or resist the advances of the Lord. I desire thee not to forget this doctrine, so that thou mayest respond to the many calls which thou receivest of the Most High. See thou be strong in resisting his enemies and punctually solicitous in fulfilling the pleasure of thy Lord, for thereby thou wilt gratify Him and attend to the commands made known to thee by divine light. I loved my parents dearly, and the tender words of my mother wounded my heart; but as I knew it to be the will of the Lord to leave them, I forgot her house and my people in order to follow my Spouse. The proper education and instruction of children will do much toward making them more free and habituated to the practice of virtue, since thus they will be accustomed to follow the sure and safe guiding star of reason from its first dawn.” (The Mystical City of God, Book 1, Chapter 8)

Bad Company is the root of many evils

It is a little discussed topic nowadays, but the Holy Scripture and the Saints teach that there is a great necessity to have a detachment from all relatives and friends in order to be saved. St. Alphonsus, (c. 1755) when speaking on the necessity to be detached from relatives, explains, saying: “How many monks, says St. Jerome, ‘by compassion towards their father and mother have lost their own souls?’ How many religious by compassion for their relatives have been lost? In another place the saint says, that the more tender the affection of a religious for her kindred, the greater her impiety towards God… St. Ignatius of Loyola refused to interfere in the marriage of one of his nieces, though she was heiress of the family. St. Francis Borgia would not ask the Pope for a dispensation (which he would have easily obtained) to have his son married to a relative, although the acquisition of a large estate depended upon the marriage… When, then, relatives seek to implicate you in worldly affairs, withdraw at once from them.” In truth, If attachment to relatives were not productive of great mischief Jesus Christ would not have so strenuously exhorted us to estrangement from thema man’s enemies shall be they of his own household (Mt. 10:36)… Relatives are the worst enemies of the sanctification of Christians...”

An example in the lives of the seers of Fatima illustrates how there is also a necessity for all to be detached from friends, and especially those who are worldly or ungodly. It is related that “One afternoon Lucia brought some other girls, schoolmates. When they had gone, Francisco looked seriously at her and said: ‘Don’t walk with them, because you can learn to commit sins.’ ‘But they leave school when I do’ (Lucia replied). ‘When you leave, spend a little while at the feet of the hidden Jesus, and then come home alone.’” (William Thomas Walsh, Our Lady of Fatima, p. 164)

Our speech effects our purity

In The First Letter of Saint Peter, St. Peter tells us that we need to carefully consider how we speak and act. Sins against chastity are almost always begun by a lustful look or move, and shameful talk. That is why modesty in dress, speech and behavior is very important in the Christian life.

1 Peter 3:1-6 “In like manner also let wives be subject to their husbands: that if any believe not the word, they may be won without the word, by the conversation of the wives. Considering your chaste conversation with fear. Whose adorning let it not be the outward plaiting of the hair, or the wearing of gold, or the putting on of apparel: But the hidden man of the heart in the incorruptibility of a quiet and a meek spirit, which is rich in the sight of God. For after this manner heretofore the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands: As Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters you are, doing well, and not fearing any disturbance.”

Haydock Commentary adds: “Ver. 1. Let wives, &c. In the first six verses he gives instructions to married women. 1. By their modest and submissive dispositions to endeavor to gain and convert their husbands, shewing them such a respect as Sara did, (whose daughters they ought to esteem themselves) who called Abraham her lord, or master; (Genesis xviii. 12.) 2. To be modest in their dress, without vanity; 3. That women take the greatest care of the hidden man, i.e. of the interior disposition of their heart, which he calls the incorruptibility of a quiet and a meek spirit; 4. Not fearing any trouble, when God’s service or the duty to their husbands require it. (Witham)”

The sinful and fleshly man and woman know not the humility of “the hidden man of the heart in the incorruptibility of a quiet and a meek spirit, which is rich in the sight of God.” (1 Peter 3:4) All their actions are rather based on vanity and a most disgusting desire to get others or their spouse to sensually desire them, and that is also why (being spurred by the devil) they dress sensually, use makeup and unbecoming and disgraceful language. But those who have left the empty life of vanity and sensuality behind, and who refuses to dress like whores, using makeup and walk in “lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings” – have risen with Christ.

1 Peter 4:1-5 “Christ therefore having suffered in the flesh, be you also armed with the same thought: for he that hath suffered in the flesh, hath ceased from sins: That now he may live the rest of his time in the flesh, not after the desires of men, but according to the will of God. For the time past is sufficient to have fulfilled the will of the Gentiles, for them who have walked in riotousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and unlawful worshipping of idols. Wherein they think it strange, that you run not with them into the same confusion of riotousness, speaking evil of you. Who shall render account to him, who is ready to judge the living and the dead.”

Haydock Commentary adds: “Ver. 1. He that hath suffered in the flesh, hath ceased from sins. Some expound these words of Christ; but he never had committed the least sin. The true sense is, that every one who suffers by Christ’s example, leaves off a sinful life, so as not to fall into great sins. (Witham) --- Ver. 3. For the time past is sufficient, &c. As if he said, you who were Gentiles, have already lived too long in vices before your conversion; so that they who are not yet converted, admire at the change they see in you, make a jest of you, talk against you for your not running on with them in the same wicked and shameful disorders: but they shall render an exact account of all to the just Judge of the living and the dead… who judgeth and condemneth those who had lived according to the flesh, but gave life to those who had lived well, or done penance according to the spirit of God. (Witham)”

The evil of lust makes man blind to spiritual things “while dulness of sense arises from gluttony”

Most men and women of the world do not recognize or know about the fact that sensual lusts (both for the married and the unmarried) actually blinds people from understanding or perceiving spiritual things/truths. This fact also requires married people from not indulging too often in the marital act. For all who overindulge in the marital act will always experience a “blindness of mind” of spiritual things. Indeed, St. Thomas Aquinas, in his Summa Theologica explains that:

“Different causes produce different effects. Now Gregory says (Moral. xxxi, 45) that dulness of sense arises from gluttony, and that blindness of mind arises from lust… The perfect intellectual operation in man consists in an abstraction from sensible phantasms, wherefore the more a man’s intellect is freed from those phantasms, the more thoroughly will it be able to consider things intelligible, and to set in order all things sensible. Thus Anaxagoras stated that the intellect requires to be “detached” in order to command, and that the agent must have power over matter, in order to be able to move it. Now it is evident that pleasure fixes a man’s attention on that which he takes pleasure in: wherefore the Philosopher says (Ethic. x, 4,5) that we all do best that which we take pleasure in doing, while as to other things, we do them either not at all, or in a faint-hearted fashion. Now carnal vices, namely gluttony and lust, are concerned with pleasures of touch in matters of food and sex; and these are the most impetuous of all pleasures of the body. For this reason these vices cause man’s attention to be very firmly fixed on corporeal things, so that in consequence man’s operation in regard to intelligible things is weakened, more, however, by lust than by gluttony, forasmuch as sexual pleasures are more vehement than those of the table. Wherefore lust gives rise to blindness of mind, which excludes almost entirely the knowledge of spiritual things, while dulness of sense arises from gluttony, which makes a man weak in regard to the same [spiritual] intelligible things.” (Second Part of the Second Part, Q. 15, Art. 3, Second and Third Articles)

St. Alphonsus Ligouri, in The Great Means of Salvation and of Perfection, On The Necessity and Power of Prayer, talks about how the impure temptations of the flesh affects us and that through them (if we yield to them) the Devil takes away all spiritual lights and makes us forget all our meditations and good resolutions, and even makes us disregard the truths of faith, and even almost lose the fear of the divine punishments. He writes that “it is especially to be remarked that no one can resist the impure temptations of the flesh without recommending himself to God when he is tempted. This foe is so terrible that, when he fights with us, he, as it were, takes away all light; he makes us forget all our meditations, all our good resolutions; he makes us also disregard the truths of faith, and even almost lose the fear of the divine punishments… He who in such a moment does not have recourse to God is lost… Chastity is a virtue which we have no strength to practice, unless God gives us; and God does not give this strength except to him who asks for it. But whoever prays for it will certainly obtain it.”

How to conquer temptations

There are many things that are necessary for us to do if we want to be able to conquer our temptations and sensual-fleshly desires. Sloth in performing acts of virtue is a sin, and therefore, it is necessary to know about and perform those acts which God requires from us. “If you desire to possess the purity which becomes the Spouse of Jesus, you must cut off all dangerous occasions: you must cherish a holy ignorance of all that is opposed to chastity, and abstain from reading whatever has the slightest tendency to sully the soul.” (St. Alphonsus, The True Spouse of Jesus Christ, p. 32) In truth, “The principal means of acquiring an ardent love of Christ are mental prayer, Communion, mortification, retirement.” (The True Spouse of Jesus Christ, p. 28) And so, “If thou wouldst be certain of being in the number of the elect, strive to be one of the few, not of the many. And if thou wouldst be quite sure of thy salvation, strive to be among the fewest of the few; that is to say: Do not follow the great majority of mankind, but follow those who enter upon the narrow way, who renounce the world, who give themselves to prayer, and who never relax their efforts by day or by night, that they may attain everlasting blessedness.” (Fr. Martin Von Cochem, The Four Last Things, p. 221, quoting from St. Anselm, Archbishop and Doctor of the Church)

The consent to bad thoughts is the beginning of all evil

St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787), Bishop and Doctor of the Church, writes concerning the absolute necessity of always resisting bad thoughts and temptations and that we must never in the least degree yield to them, as is shown by the following tragic example of a damned, christian soul:

“My dear Christians, be careful to banish these bad thoughts, by instantly turning for help to Jesus and Mary. He who contracts the habit of consenting to bad thoughts exposes himself to great danger of dying in sin, for the reason that it is very easy to commit sins of thought. In a quarter of an hour a person may entertain a thousand wicked desires, and for every evil desire to which he consents he deserves hell. At the hour of death the dying cannot commit sins of action, because they are unable to move; but they can easily indulge sins of thought, and the devil suggests every kind of wicked thought and desire to them when they are in that state. St. Eleazar, as Surius relates, was so violently and frequently tempted by bad thoughts at the hour of death, that he exclaimed: "Oh, how great is the power of the devils at the hour of death!" The saint, however, conquered his enemies, because he was in the habit of rejecting bad thoughts; but woe to those who have acquired a habit of consenting to them! Father Segneri tells us of a man who during his life had often consented to bad thoughts. At the hour of death he confessed his sins with great compunction, so that every one regarded him as a saint; but after death he appeared and said that he was damned; he stated that he made a good confession, and that God had pardoned all his sins; but before death the devil represented to him that, should he recover, it would be ingratitude to forsake the woman who loved him so much. He banished the first temptation: a second came; he then delayed for a little, but in the end he rejected it: he was assailed by a third temptation, and consented to it. Thus, he said, he had died in sin, and was damned. My brother, do not say, as many do, that sins against chastity are light sins, and that God bears with them.” (St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, THE ASCETICAL WORKS VOLUME XV, Preaching: Letter to a Religious, Letter to a Bishop, the Exercises of the Missions, Instructions on the Commandments and the Sacraments, pp.  469-470)

The above shows that we must hate sinful desires with a passion and fervor in order to overcome them, rather than fall into evil lusts, gloomy enjoyment, or the sin itself. Indeed, “To abstain from sinful actions is not sufficient for the fulfillment of God’s law. The very desire of what is forbidden is evil.” (St. John Baptist de la Salle, A.D. 1651-1719)

Exhortations to chastity

St. Alphonsus, Discourse to Maidens: “St. Ignatius, Martyr, writing to his disciples, exhorted them carefully to watch over the virgins, so that they might be constant in the promise that they had made to Jesus Christ of their virginity, which is so precious a gift before God. Virgins consecrated to the love of the divine Spouse are called by St. Cyprian the most noble part of the Church. Therefore, besides St. Cyprian, several among the holy Fathers, as St. Ephrem, St. Ambrose, St. John Chrysostom, and others, have composed works that treat entirely of the praises of virginity.

The glorious Apostle St. Matthew, as Denis the Carthusian relates, did not wish to allow the virgin St. Iphigenia, who was consecrated to Jesus Christ, to marry a monarch, although he promised to embrace the faith with all his people. Thomas Cantipratensis relates that at Rome the sister of the Count of Puglia, promised in marriage by his brother to a lord, fled in the disguise of a man so as not to be forced to marry; but she was pursued by her brother, and overtaken near a rock that projected into the sea. Putting her confidence in God, she threw herself into the abyss, and afterwards walked upon the water as far as a desert in Greece, where she remained safe. I wished to quote these examples to show that it is not a useless work, but a work that is very agreeable to God, when priests take care to exhort young persons to consecrate to Jesus Christ the lily of their virginity. This is the reason why in our missions it is customary, on the morning of one of the last days, that a missionary, assisted by another priest advanced in years, addresses in a retired place an instruction on this point to all the young women.

Example of a Discourse to Young Women.

“My dear sisters, I do not pretend to explain to you in this discourse all the merits and all the advantages obtained by young maidens in consecrating their virginity to Jesus Christ. I will confine myself to pointing them out briefly.

“First, they become in the eyes of God beautiful as the angels of heaven: They shall be as the angels of God in heaven (Matt. xxii. 30). Baronius relates that at the death of a pious virgin, named Georgia, a great number of doves were seen flying about her; and when her body was carried to the church, these doves placed themselves on the part of the roof which corresponded to the place where the coffin was put, and flew away only after the burial of the deceased. Every one believed that these doves were angels, who thus honored her virginal body.

“Moreover, when a young person renounces the world and devotes herself to the love of Jesus Christ, she becomes the spouse of the Son of God. In the Gospel our Saviour is called now Father, now Mother, now Shepherd of Souls; but in regard to virgins he calls himself their Bridegroom or Spouse: They went out to meet their bridegroom (Matt. xxv. 1).

“A young person who wishes to establish herself in the world, if she is prudent, makes careful inquiries about those that aspire to her hand, and tries to know which among them is the noblest and richest. Let us, then, address ourselves to the Spouse of the Canticles, who knows very well the prerogatives of the divine Spouse, and let us ask him what he is. Tell me, O divine Spouse! what is he who loves thee and renders thee the most happy among all women? My beloved is white and ruddy, chosen out of thousands (Cant. v. 10). My beloved, she says, is all white by his purity, and is ruddy by the love with which he is inflamed; he is, in a word, so beautiful, so noble, so affable, that one finds him to be the most amiable among all spouses.

“When to St. Agnes was offered as her spouse the son of the Prefect of Rome, this glorious virgin was right when she answered, as St. Ambrose tells us, that she had found a far better match.

“Such was also the answer of St. Domitilla, niece of the Emperor Domitian, which she gave to persons who tried to persuade her that she could be married to Count Aurelian, since he consented that she should remain a Christian: "But, tell me," she answered them, "if to a young woman there was presented, on the one hand, a great monarch, and on the other, a poor plebeian, which of the two would she choose for a husband? To accept Aurelian, I should have to renounce the King of heaven; this would be folly, and I do not wish to be guilty of it." Hence in order to remain faithful to Jesus Christ, to whom she had consecrated her virginity, she gave herself up to be burnt alive a punishment to which her barbarous lover had condemned her.

“Generous souls who renounce the world for the love of Jesus Christ, become the cherished spouses of the Son of God. They are called First-fruits of the Lamb: First-fruits to God and to the Lamb (Apoc. xiv. 4). Why the First-fruits? Because, says Cardinal Hugo, as the first-fruits are more agreeable than others, so virgins are objects of the Lord’s predilection. The divine Spouse is nourished among the lilies: Who feedeth among the lilies. And what are these lilies, if not fervent souls who consecrate their virginity to Jesus Christ? Venerable Bede assures us that the chant of the virgins, that is, the honor which the virgins render to God by preserving to him intact the lily of their purity, is more agreeable to the Lord than the chant of all the other saints. In fact, the Holy Ghost declares that no good can compensate for the merit of virginity. No price is worthy of a continent soul. For this reason, according to Cardinal Hugo, one can obtain a dispensation from all other vows, but not from the vow of virginity. It is also on this account that theologians believe that the Blessed Virgin would have been disposed to renounce the sublime dignity of the Mother of God rather than lose the treasure of her virginity.

“Who then here below can ever comprehend the glory that God reserves in paradise for his chaste spouses? Doctors teach that in heaven virgins have their own glory, which is a certain crown or a special joy, of which other holy souls are deprived.

“But let us pass to what directly refers to the subject that we actually have in view.

“A young person will say: "If I marry can I not also sanctify myself?" I wish you to hear the answer to this, not from my mouth, but from that of St. Paul; you will also see at the same time the difference between virgins and married persons. The following are the words of the Apostle: The unmarried woman and the virgin thinketh on the things of the Lord: that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she that is married thinketh on the things of the world, how she may please her husband (I Cor. vii. 34). Then he adds: This I speak for your profit: . . . for that which is decent, and which may give you power to attend upon the Lord without impediment (I Cor. Vii. 35).

“Let us ponder well this advice of the Apostle. In the first place, I must remark that married women can, it is true, be holy in spirit but not in body, while a virgin that sanctifies herself is holy in spirit and in body, having consecrated to Jesus Christ her virginity: Holy both in body and in spirit. Note, moreover, these words: Which may give you power to attend upon the Lord without impediment.—Ah! how many obstacles have not married women in order to sanctify themselves! the higher their rank the greater obstacles do they encounter. In order to sanctify oneself one must use the means, especially apply oneself much to mental prayer, frequent often the sacraments, and think without ceasing of God. But how can a married woman find time to occupy herself with the things of God? She that is married thinks on the things of the world, how she may please her husband. She must, says St. Paul, occupy herself with the things of the world; she has to provide for the wants of her family, for food, for clothing; she has to watch over the education of her children, to please her husband and the relatives of her husband; and this will be the cause, adds the Apostle, why her heart will be divided, as she is obliged to divide her affections between her husband, her children, and God. How can a married woman devote herself much to mental prayer and go frequently to Holy Communion if she does not find enough at home to provide for the wants of her family? The husband-wishes to be served; the children cry, scream, or ask for a thousand things; how can she go to make meditation amidst so many occupations and embarrassments? It will hardly be permitted her to go to church to recollect herself and to receive Communion on Sundays. She will still have a good will; but it will be very difficult for her to attend to the things of God as she should. It is true that by this very privation she may gain merit by resigning herself to the will of God, who in this state requires of her only a continual sacrifice of resignation and of patience. …

“Ah, would to God that married women would have nothing else to deplore than to be deprived of the time necessary to attend to their devotions! The greatest evil is the danger in which these unfortunate persons continually find themselves of losing the grace of God, being obliged to see frequently their brothers-in-law or other relatives, or friends of their husband, either at home or elsewhere. Of this young persons are ignorant; but this is well known by married women, who are every day exposed to all these dangers, and is also well known by the confessors who hear them. We do not speak of the sad days which all married women must spend. The bad conduct of the husband, the disagreeable things caused by the children, the necessities of housekeeping, dependence on a mother-in-law or sisters-in-law, the pains of child-birth that is always accompanied by danger of death, suspicions, troubles of conscience in regard to the education of the children—all this forms a chain of tribulations in which married women can only lament, happy indeed if they do not lose their soul, and if God gives them the grace not to pass from the hell of this life to an eternal hell in the next. Such is the lot that awaits young women who give themselves up to the world.

“But you will say, Among all the married women are there none that have sanctified themselves? I beg your pardon, there are some; but who are they? Those that sanctify themselves by martyrdom, those that know how to suffer everything for God, with a patience that nothing can overcome. How many are there that rise to such perfection? They are as rare as white flies. And if you meet with any one of these, you will learn that she is always weeping for regret of having entered the world, while she could have consecrated herself to Jesus Christ. For myself, I do not remember to have ever found among married women a single pious person who was content with her state of life.

“True happiness is therefore the inheritance of virgins consecrated to Jesus Christ. They are free from the dangers to which married persons are necessarily exposed. Their affections are not fixed on children, nor on men of the world, nor on perishable goods, nor on vain ornaments, nor on any kind of dependence. While married women are obliged to adorn themselves with care, and at great expense, to appear in the world according to their rank and to please their husbands, a virgin consecrated to Jesus Christ needs to cover herself only with a garment, however common it may be; she would even create scandal if she dressed herself with elegance. Moreover, virgins are not troubled with the care of a house, a family, a husband; their sole concern, the only desire of their hearts, is to please Jesus Christ, to whom they have dedicated their souls, their bodies, and all their affections. Thus they have more liberty of spirit to think of God, and more time to give themselves up to prayer and the frequentation of the sacraments. ...

“I shall put this question to you: Do you wish to leave the world to lead a comfortable life or to sanctify yourself; to do your will or that of Jesus Christ? And if you wish to leave the world, to sanctify yourself, and to please Jesus Christ, I ask you a second question: Tell me: in what does sanctity consist? Sanctity does not consist in remaining in the convent, nor in spending the entire day in the church, but it consists, on the one hand, in practising mental prayer and going to communion when one can, and on the other, in obeying, in rendering one’s self useful to the house, in living in retirement, and in suffering pain and contempt for God. …

 At least, when you have given yourselves to God, if you have to suffer at home, you bear all for the love of Jesus Christ, and the Lord well knows how to make your cross light and sweet; but what a pain to have to suffer, and to suffer for the world, without consolation and without merit! Believe me, if Jesus calls you to his love, if he wishes you for his spouses, listen without fear to his voice; you will not fail to be consoled and even to rejoice in the midst of sufferings. This will, however, only be the case as long as you love him and conduct yourselves as his true spouses.

“Learn, then, what are the means that you should use so as to live as true spouses of Jesus Christ, and to attain sanctity.

“In order that a virgin may be holy, it is not sufficient that she should preserve her virginity and that she be called a spouse of Jesus Christ: it will be necessary that she should practise the virtues that are proper to a spouse of Jesus Christ. We read in the Gospel that heaven is like virgins; but what virgins?—no doubt wise, but not foolish, virgins. Wise virgins were led to the nuptials; but the foolish found the doors shut, and the Bridegroom said to them: I know you not: You are virgins, but I do not recognize you as my spouses. The true spouses of Jesus Christ follow their divine Spouse wherever he goes: These follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth (Apoc. xiv. 4). What is it to follow the spouse? St. Augustine explains this to us: It is to imitate him by walking in his footsteps in body and in soul. After having consecrated to him your body, you must give him your whole heart, so that your heart may be entirely occupied in loving him.

“1. The first means is mental prayer, to which you should particularly apply yourselves. But do not believe that in order to make mental prayer it is necessary to be in the convent or to spend the entire day in the church. It is true that at home there is often noise, and there is much disturbance caused by persons who come and go; however, if one wishes one can always find a place and a time for devoting oneself to prayer, as when the house is more quiet, either in the morning before others rise, or in the evening after they have retired. Nor is it necessary, in order to pray, that one should always be on one’s knees: one may meditate even while working or while walking, when there is no other more suitable time; it is sufficient if one occupies one’s self with God, as when one reflects on the Passion of Jesus Christ or on some other pious subject.

“2. The second means is the frequentation of the sacraments of confession and Communion. For confession we should choose a Director to whom we should be entirely submissive; without doing so we should not walk on the right road. As for Communion, it must depend entirely on obedience; but we must desire it and ask for it. This divine bread needs a soul that hungers after it; Jesus Christ wishes us to have a longing for him. It is frequent Communion that makes the spouses of Jesus Christ faithful to this heavenly Spouse, particularly in keeping them in holy purity. The Blessed Sacrament preserves in the soul all the virtues; but it is especially effective in preserving intact the lily of virginity, according to the words of the Prophet, who calls it: The corn of the chosen ones, and wine which maketh virgins to spring forth (Zach. ix. 17).

“3. The third means is retirement and vigilance. The divine Spouse compares his well-beloved to a lily surrounded by thorns: As the lily among thorns, so is My love among daughters (Cant. ii. 2). If a virgin wishes to live in the midst of society, of amusements, and other worldly frivolities, it will be impossible for her to remain faithful to Jesus Christ; she must, therefore, keep herself constantly among the thorns of obedience and of mortification, and should behave, especially towards men, not only with the greatest reserve and the greatest modesty in her looks and her words, but also when necessary with a rigid austerity, and even with rudeness. Such are the thorns that preserve lilies, that is, virgins; without these precautions they would soon go astray. The Lord also compares the beauty of his spouse to that of the turtle dove: Thy cheeks are beautiful as the turtle-dove’s (Cant. i. 9). Why? Because the turtle-dove is naturally inclined to flee the company of other birds, and loves to be always alone. A virgin, therefore, appears beautiful in the eyes of Jesus Christ when she leads a retired life, and does all she can to keep herself retired and hidden from the eyes of others. St. Jerome says that this Spouse of souls is jealous. Hence it is very displeasing to him to see a virgin, after having consecrated herself to his love, seeking to appear in the world and to please men. Those persons that are truly virtuous prefer to disfigure themselves rather than be the object of a bad desire. The venerable Sister Catharine of Jesus, before becoming a religious of St. Teresa, washed herself with dirty water, and then exposed herself to the sun so as to spoil her complexion. Bollandus relates that St. Andregesina, having been promised in marriage, begged the Lord to make her quite deformed, and her prayer was immediately heard. She at once appeared covered with leprosy so that every one fled from her; but after the espousals had been dissolved, she recovered her former beauty. We read in the Mirror of Examples, that there was in a convent a young virgin who had consecrated herself to God, and whose eyes had charmed a prince. The latter having threatened to set fire to the convent if she did not yield to his desires, what did she do? She tore out her eyes, and sent them to him in a basin with this message: "Here are the darts that have wounded your heart; take them, and leave me untouched." The same author also quotes the example of St. Euphemia, whom her father had promised in marriage to a count. Seeing that this suitor neglected no means to make her his wife, she one day took a knife and cut off her nose and her lips, saying: "Vain beauty, thou shalt not be to me any longer an occasion of sin!" Baronius also relates that St. Ebba, abbess of the monastery of Coldingham, fearing an invasion of the barbarians, cut off her nose and her upper lip as far as the teeth, and that after her example all the other religious, to the number of thirty, did the same thing. The barbarians actually came, and seeing them thus disfigured, they became furious, set fire to the monastery, and made all perish in the flames. The Church honors them as martyrs. They were incited to this heroic act by an impulse of the Holy Ghost; it is not permitted to others to act in this way. You see, moreover, in these examples what virgins who love Jesus Christ have done in order to escape the lust of men. Every fervent young maiden should at least endeavor to conduct herself with modesty, and expose herself as little as possible to the gaze of the world. If it should unfortunately happen that a virgin should be the victim of any violence, without her fault, let her be assured that her purity has not been tarnished. Hence St. Lucia answered the tyrant, who threatened to have her dishonored: "If I am outraged against my will, I shall obtain a double crown." We know the adage: "Not the feeling, but the consent, wounds the soul." Besides, you must be convinced that a young maiden who conducts herself with modesty and reserve will not fail to make herself respected.

“4. The fourth means in order to preserve purity is the mortification of the senses. St. Basil says: "It is altogether improper for a virgin to violate chastity, with the tongue, with the ears, with the touch, much less with the heart." A virgin, in order to remain pure, should be chaste with her tongue, by always speaking modestly, and only through necessity with men, and in this case in a few words; chaste with her ears, by avoiding to listen to discourses about the things of the world; chaste with her eyes, by keeping them shut or lowered to the ground in the presence of men; chaste with regard to the touch, by using the greatest precaution both in regard to others and in regard to herself; but she should be especially chaste in her heart by trying to resist every immodest thought by promptly having recourse to Jesus and Mary. For this purpose it will also be necessary for her to mortify her body by fasts, by abstinence, by disciplines, by ciliciums; but in order to practise these mortifications permission from the confessor must be asked: without this they would be rather hurtful to the soul, as they might inspire one with pride. No one should therefore practise such penances without having obtained permission from one’s Director; but one should desire the permission and ask it, for Directors do not grant it as long as we do not show them a desire to obtain it. Jesus is a Spouse of blood; he has espoused our souls on the cross, on which he has shed the last drop of his blood: A bloody spouse thou art to me (Exod. iv. 25). This is the reason why spouses that love him love to suffer tribulations, diseases, pains, ill-treatment, injuries, and they receive them not only with patience, but with joy. In this sense the passage of Scripture is understood, namely: These follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth (Apoc. xiv. 4). They follow Jesus their divine Spouse by singing his praises with joy, even in the midst of reproaches and pains, after the example of so many holy martyrs who expressed their happiness amid tortures, or while they were on their way to the place of execution.

“5. Finally, in order to obtain the grace of perseverance in a holy life, you should take care often to recommend yourselves to the Queen of heaven, the most pure Mother of God. She is the mediatress who prepares and who concludes the union of souls with her divine Son; it is she that introduces and presents them to him as his spouses: After her shall virgins be brought to the King (Ps. xliv. 15). It is she, finally, that obtains for these chosen spouses the virtue of perseverance; without the help of Mary they would become so many faithless spouses.

Prayer yo Jesus Christ.

“(The preacher, after having made all his hearers go down on their knees at the foot of the crucifix, or a statue of the Infant Jesus, which would suit better under the circumstances, thus continues:)

“You, then, who are listening to me I am addressing myself to young maidens who feel themselves called by the divine Spouse to renounce the world for the love of him—you who have conceived the pious design of not belonging to the world, but to Jesus Christ… I wish only that by a simple act, without contracting any obligation, you should render thanks to Jesus Christ for the favor that he has done you of having called you to his love, and that you should offer yourselves to belong entirely to him during your whole life. Speak to him in the following manner:

“Ah! my Jesus, my God and my Redeemer, who didst die for me; pardon me if I also call Thee my Spouse: I am bold enough to do so, because I see that Thou deignest to invite me to this honor; it is a favor for which I know not how to thank Thee. At present I deserve to be in hell, and instead of punishing me Thou wishest me to become Thy spouse. Yes, my divine Spouse, I renounce the world, I renounce everything for love of Thee, and I give myself entirely to Thee. What is the world to me? My Jesus, Thou shalt hence forth be my only good, my only love. I see that Thou wishest to possess my whole heart; I wish to give it to Thee entirely: please accept my offering; do not repel me as I deserve to be repelled. Forget all the displeasure that I have given Thee in the past; I repent of it with my whole soul; ah! would that I had died before offending Thee! Pardon me, inflame me with Thy holy love, and grant me the grace to be faithful to Thee, and never more to turn my back on Thee. Thou, my Spouse, hast given Thyself entirely to me; here I am, I give myself entirely to Thee.

“O Mary, my Queen and my Mother! bind, chain my heart to Jesus Christ, and attach it in such a manner that it may never be separated from him.

“(At the end, the preacher gives them the blessing with the crucifix, saying:)

“Now I am going to bless you, and by this blessing I wish to unite you to Jesus Christ in order that you may never more leave him; and while I am blessing you, you should give him your heart, saying:

“My Jesus, my divine Spouse, in future I will love Thee, Thee alone, and nothing more.” (The complete ascetical works of St. Alphonsus, vol. 15, pp. 261-276)

COMMON OBJECTIONS

Objection: There’s no evidence that a life of chastity or celibacy is a more holy or virtuous life than getting married, and those who try to say that celibacy or chastity is better than marital life, are just influenced by the prudish, false and heretical Manichean and Stoic teachings and worldviews which both extolled chastity and generally rejected as gross or evil the sensual pleasures of the flesh. Many of the Fathers and the Saints were very prudish in their worldview since they were heavily influenced by the heretical Manichean and Stoic teachings concerning marriage and sexual desire that flourished during their time, and that is why they taught that chastity or celibacy is a more holy or virtuous life than getting married. Indeed, the Fathers even go further than that, teaching that sexual desire and the normal, marital act even in marriage can be dangerous or harmful for the soul. In addition, the teaching of the Fathers and the Saints that one should despise and reject one’s sexual desires even in marriage, is outrageous and reek of gnosticism, and the Bible and the Church totally rejects this view of theirs as well as their other errors concerning sexual pleasure, marriage and celibacy.

Answer: As we will see, the teaching of the Fathers and the Saints concerning chastity that “chastity or celibacy is a more holy or virtuous life than getting married”, and that “the normal, marital act even in marriage can be dangerous or harmful for the soul”, and that, finally, “that one should despise and reject one’s sexual desires even in marriage” comes directly from the Bible and infallible Catholic teaching and Church tradition. The claim that these doctrines are heretical, Stoic or Manichean is a bold lie that is completely rejected by the Bible and the Church. In addition to the infallible teaching of the Bible and the Council of Trent that teaches that virginity or chastity is better than matrimony, the Holy Fathers of the Church unanimously teaches that spouses should hate, despise and fight against the sexual pleasure even in marriage, and that virginity and chastity is better and more blessed than matrimony, which makes these doctrines infallible since “the unanimous consent of the Fathers” in a doctrinal matter is the official teaching of the Church according to the infallible teaching of the Catholic Church from the councils of Trent and Vatican I.

First, it is a fact that the Holy Bible and the Fathers, Popes, Saints and Doctors of the Church unanimously teach that chastity and virginity is better and more blessed than the marital life. It is the unanimous opinion of the Fathers and Saints of the Church that no one, without exception, can reach the highest kind of union with God without the wonderful virtue of chastity; and that “virgins consecrated to God are most pleasing and dear to Him”. In addition to this, the Catholic Church and The Council of Trent also teaches infallibly that it is “better and more blessed to remain in virginity, or in celibacy, than to be united in matrimony” which, as we have seen, is a restatement of Our Lord Jesus Christ’s words in the Holy Bible that teaches us that a life of chastity is better than the marital life: “Therefore, both he that giveth his virgin in marriage, doth well; and he that giveth her not, doth better. ... But more blessed shall she be, if she so remain [in chastity], according to my counsel; and I think that I also have the spirit of God.” (1 Corinthians 7:38-40)

Since the countless protestant sects (from the very beginning of their creation in the 16th century by the devil) were especially hostile to the infallible biblical doctrine which teaches that chastity or virginity is much better and a more meritorious and blessed life than the marital life, The Council of Trent also had to specifically condemn and anathematize all who dared to oppose this biblical doctrine. Thus, the Church made clear to all this biblical teaching, which means that all who obstinately assert that marriage is above or equal to the state of chastity or virginity are damned and in a state of mortal sin, awaiting the moment of their death when they will enter the eternal Hell where they will be tormented and burn for their wicked, obstinate, impure heresy and false opinion.

Pope Pius IV, Council of Trent, ex cathedra: “If any one saith, that the marriage state is to be placed above the state of virginity, or of celibacy, and that it is not better and more blessed to remain in virginity, or in celibacy, than to be united in matrimony, (Matt. 19:11; 1 Cor. 7:25) let him be anathema.” (Session 14, Canon X, Nov. 11, 1563, on Matrimony; Denzinger #980)

The wicked heresy which states that, “there is no spiritual superiority in celibacy vs. conjugal chastity (sex within marriage)” is utterly false and refuted by the Holy Bible itself as well as the infallible teachings of the Popes. This is what the Church teaches infallibly as a dogma.

Pope Pius XII, Sacra Virginitas (# 32), March 25, 1954: “This doctrine of the excellence of virginity and of celibacy and of their superiority over the married state was, as We have already said, revealed by our Divine Redeemer and by the Apostle of the Gentiles; so too, it was solemnly defined as a dogma of divine faith by the holy council of Trent, and explained in the same way by all the holy Fathers and Doctors of the Church. Finally, We and Our Predecessors have often expounded it and earnestly advocated it whenever occasion offered. But recent attacks on this traditional doctrine of the Church, the danger they constitute, and the harm they do to the souls of the faithful lead Us, in fulfillment of the duties of Our charge, to take up the matter once again in this Encyclical Letter, and to reprove these errors which are so often propounded under a specious appearance of truth.”

In First Corinthians 7:38-40, Our Lord through St. Paul continues to admonish his chaste servants to adopt the angelic life of chastity and purity, teaching us that the chaste life is better than the marital life: “Therefore, both he that giveth his virgin in marriage, doth well; and he that giveth her not, doth better. A woman is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband die, she is at liberty: let her marry to whom she will; only in the Lord. But more blessed shall she be, if she so remain [in chastity], according to my counsel; and I think that I also have the spirit of God.”

Haydock Commentary explains First Corinthians 7:38-40: “Verse 38. &c. He that giveth her not, doth better. And more blessed shall she be, if she so remains, according to my counsel. It is very strange if any one, who reads this chapter without prejudices, does not clearly see, that St. Paul advises, and prefers the state of virginity to that of a married life. (Witham)” In truth, the level of dishonesty that a Protestant or a heretic must sink to in order to deny that Holy Scripture places chastity or virginity above the marital life is simply said satanic and inexcusable. It cannot be doubted that they must have had their conscience thoroughly seared by a hot iron of Satan in order to be able to pervert such clear and unambiguous words of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

God could not be clearer than when He said that “It is good for a man not to touch a woman” (1 Corinthians 7:1), thus directly contradicting the heretical viewpoint that marriage is the same as the chaste life; showing us very clearly that the marital life is below the chaste and pure life of the angels and saints in Heaven that those virtuous men and women imitates. And if still someone could misunderstand Our Lord’s words, St. Paul adds that he wishes “that all men were even as myself” that is, chaste (1 Corinthians 7:7) and He further teaches both the unmarried and widowed to continue to live a single and chaste life, saying: “But I say to the unmarried, and to the widows: It is good for them if they so continue, [that is, it is good for them to continue to live a single and chaste life] even as I.” (1 Corinthians 7:8) And if that was not clear enough, Our Lord Jesus Christ through St. Paul continues to urge all unmarried to stay chaste and pure as they are, saying that, “I think therefore that this is good for the present necessity, that it is good for a man so to be [that is, chaste]. Art thou bound to a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.” (1 Corinthians 7:26-27)

St. Paul also teaches in Holy Scripture that a widow will become “more blessed” if she do not remarry and stay continent: “But more blessed shall she be, if she so remain, [that is, a widow] according to my counsel; and I think that I also have the spirit of God.” (1 Corinthians 7:40) If one becomes “more blessed” by not marrying, then it obviously means that one becomes less blessed by embracing the marital life.

In addition to the infallible teaching of the Bible and the Council of Trent that teaches that virginity or chastity is better and more blessed than matrimony, the Holy Fathers of the Church unanimously teaches this doctrine, which makes this doctrine infallible and true from their teaching alone, since “the unanimous consent of the Fathers” in a doctrinal matter is the official teaching of the Church according to the infallible teaching of the Catholic Church from the councils of Trent and Vatican I. Thus, “Virginity is better than marriage, however good.” (St. John Damascene, Expo. IV.24.) “That virginity is good I do agree. But that it is even better than marriage, this I do confess.” (St. John Chrysostom, The Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol. 2: 1116) And St. Jerome writes concerning the greatness of chastity and virginity that “in comparison with chastity and virginity, the life of angels, "It is good for a man not to touch a woman" [1 Cor. 7:1].” (St. Jerome, Letter XLVIII, To Pammachius, c. 393 or 394 A.D.) St. Ephrem the Syrian writes, “Chastity’s wings are greater and lighter than the wings of marriage. Intercourse… is lower. Its house of refuge is modest darkness. Confidence belongs entirely to chastity, which light enfolds.” (Hymn XXVIII, On the Nativity)

Indeed, “As firstfruits are the most delicious, so virgins consecrated to God are most pleasing and dear to him. The spouse in the canticles feedeth among the lilies? One of the sacred interpreters, explaining these words, says, that ‘as the devil revels in the uncleanness of lust, so Christ feeds on the lilies of chastity.’ Venerable Bede asserts that the hymn of the virgins is more agreeable to the Lamb than that of all the other saints.” (St. Alphonsus, The True Spouse of Jesus Christ, p. 7)

St. John Chrysostom also compares virginity with the state of matrimony, to conclude that the former is higher. “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. (St. John Chrysostom, Book of Virginity, In the Writings of the Roman Breviary, Lesson 3 of the feast of St. Aloysius Gonzaga)

Second, St. Paul also warns those who would marry as opposed to those who would remain virgins that spouses “shall have tribulation of the flesh”: “But if thou take a wife, thou hast not sinned. And if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned: nevertheless, such shall have tribulation of the flesh. But I spare you.” (1 Corinthians 7:28). It is certain that St. Paul does not refer to the desire to procreate as a tribulation of the flesh. Consequently, he can be referring only to one thing—sexual pleasure. Indeed, sexual pleasure is a tribulation of the flesh that must hence be fought against in thought and deed in some way or the Devil will succeed in tempting a spouse to fall into mortal sins of impurity either with their spouse, with himself or with someone other than his spouse. Thus, we see that it is a teaching that comes directly from the Bible that sexual desire and the normal, marital act even in marriage can be dangerous or harmful for the soul, contrary to what many heretics boldly claim nowadays, who try to castigate and reject this biblical teaching as some sort of Gnostic or Manichean teaching.

The reason why St. Paul specifically warns those who choose to get married of the dangers inherent in the marital life is because those people who choose not to get married, will not get sexually tempted to commit sin in the same way or in the same measure as the married man or woman will, either with their spouse, their self, or some other person, since the sexual pleasure that has never been indulged in, will always remain more of an abstract or theoretical pleasure for those who remain chaste and unmarried, and thus, will always be easier to control for them. Indeed, since the temptation to indulge the flesh and the sensuality is not physically present tempting them all the time, as in the case of those who are married and who can perform the marital act every day with their spouse, their sensual temptations are also much smaller than the others who indulge their flesh more often.

The Church understood from the beginning that the inspired words in Holy Scripture which teaches us that: “It is a good thing for a man not to touch a woman” (1 Corinthians 7:1) meant that the sexual marital act was especially powerful in influencing a man or a woman to “walk according to the flesh” and thus fall into sins of the flesh and die spiritually. For it is written: “The soul that sinneth, the same shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:20)

When St. Paul mentions “that they also who have wives, be as if they had none” (1 Corinthians 7:29), he is speaking about how spouses must not place the carnal love they have for each other above their love for Our Lord. St. Paul’s words are clear: The spouses must act as though they were not married (within due limits of course) since the married man “is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife: and he is divided.” (1 Corinthians 7:33). This division of the married man and woman makes it a great necessity that even married people consider themselves in their own thought processes as though they are unmarried and chaste, although their external and physical marital duties hinders them from pursuing this endeavor to the fullest. Our Lord Jesus Christ, speaking through the mouth of St. Paul in The Holy Bible is crystal clear that “it remaineth, that they also who have wives, be as if they had none; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as if they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world, as if they used it not: for the fashion of this world passeth away. But I would have you to be without solicitude.” (1 Corinthians 7:29-32)

St. Paul also explains how married men and women thinks more on the world and of carnal things, while the chaste and pure people thinks more on the things of the Lord, of Heaven, and of spiritual things. Again, the Holy Bible is clear that: “He that is without a wife, is solicitous for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please God. But he that is with a wife, is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife: and he is divided. And the unmarried woman and the virgin thinketh on the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she that is married thinketh on the things of the world, how she may please her husband.” (1 Corinthians 7:32-34)

And so, it is perfectly clear that the Holy Scripture infallibly and unambiguously teaches that marriage and the marital life is an impediment to the spiritual life, while the life of chastity and purity “give you power to attend upon the Lord, without impediment” (1 Corinthians 7:35).

Third, spouses should hate, despise and fight against the sexual pleasure according to the teaching of the Holy Bible and the Saints. From the beginning, the Holy Bible, the Church, and all Her Saints taught all people, whether married or unmarried, that the best thing to do is to hate and despise the sexual pleasure, since by this virtuous act, all people, and especially the married, would be better able to control and resist the sexual pleasure and concupiscence so as to become victorious over the flesh rather than being defeated by its desires and vices.

This is also exactly how Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Bible teaches us to view the sexual pleasure, since it is a higher call to live for the Spirit than for our own selfish desires: “And now, Lord, thou knowest, that not for fleshly lust do I take my sister to wife, but only for the love of posterity, [children] in which thy name may be blessed for ever and ever.” (Tobias 8:9)

The Holy Bible, Tobias 6:16-17, 22; 8:9 “Then the angel Raphael said to him [Tobias]: Hear me, and I will shew thee who they are, over whom the devil can prevail. For they who in such manner receive matrimony, as to shut out God from themselves, and from their mind, and to give themselves to their lust, as the horse and mule, which have not understanding, over them the devil hath power. … And when the third night is past, thou shalt take the virgin with the fear of the Lord, moved rather for love of children than for lust, that in the seed of Abraham thou mayest obtain a blessing in children… [Tobias said] And now, Lord, thou knowest, that not for fleshly lust do I take my sister to wife, but only for the love of posterity, in which thy name may be blessed for ever and ever.”

This teaching of God in the Holy Bible is of course also taught in the New Testament Bible of Our Lord Jesus Christ, teaching us that “it remaineth, that they also who have wives, be as if they had none; And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as if they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; And they that use this world, as if they used it not: for the fashion of this world passeth away. But I would have you to be without solicitude.” (1 Corinthians 7:29-32)

The Holy Bible makes it clear over and over again that sensuality and selfishness in all its forms will be punished with eternal damnation but that mortification, penance and the rejection of the perishable and carnal will be rewarded with eternal life and glory: “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh, you shall die: but if by the Spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live.” (Romans 8:12)

The Holy Fathers of the Church also unanimously teach that sexual pleasure should be fought against, hated and despised. According to St. Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-215), St. Paul speaks “not to those who chastely use marriage for procreation alone, but to those who were desiring to go beyond procreation, lest the adversary should arise a stormy blast and arouse desire for alien pleasures.” Thus, “The human ideal of continence… teaches that one should fight desire and not be subservient to it so as to bring it to practical effect. But our [Christian] ideal is not to experience desire at all. Our aim is not that while a man feels desire he should get the better of it, but that he should be continent even respecting desire itself.” (The Stromata, 3.7.57) St. John Chrysostom, carrying on the apostolic tradition of despising our fleshly lusts and desires, writes that: “For as we have the desire of sexual intercourse, but when we practice true wisdom we render the [sexual] desire weak... so also He hath implanted in us the love of life, forbidding us from destroying ourselves, but not hindering our despising the present life.” (Homilies on the Gospel of St. John, Homily LXXXV)

St. Augustine also agreed with this, teaching that “Thus a good Christian is found to... hate the corruptible and mortal conjugal connection and carnal intercourseIt is necessary, therefore, that the disciple of Christ should hate these things which pass away...” (On the Sermon on the Mount, 1.15.41) Indeed, “The chaste... they resist lust lest it compel them to commit unseemly acts... But honesty arises from unseemliness when chaste union accepts, but does not love, lust.” (St. Augustine, Against Julian, 5.9.37) Consequently, “there must be warfare against evil of concupiscence, which is so evil it must be resisted in the combat waged by chastity, lest it do damage.” (St. Augustine, Against Julian, 3.21.43)

St. Athanasius the Great who in truth is one of the greatest theologians in human history also confirms this biblical teaching that directs men to despise and reject sexual pleasure, teaching that “Marriage is good, as long as sexual relations are for procreation and not for pleasure. … The law of nature recognizes the act of procreation: have relations with your wife only for the sake of procreation, and keep yourself from relations of pleasure.” (Fragments on the Moral Life, Section 2) “Therefore, having the hope of eternal life, we [Christians] despise the things of this life, even to the pleasures of the soul...” (Athenagoras the Athenian, A Plea for the Christians, Chapter XXXIII)

Thus, it is a fact that sexual pleasure is not love or a cause of holiness but a “tribulation of the flesh” that makes a person “divided” according to the Holy Bible. Today, there are many heretical people who argue that the marital act is holy in itself, and that it brings us closer to God. This, however, as we have seen, is a direct contradiction of Our Lord’s words in the Holy Scripture and the Natural Law which teaches us that those who are married and perform the sexual act “shall have tribulation of the flesh (1 Corinthians 7:28) and that the married life makes a person “divided”.

For more quotations concerning these topics, please consult the chapter “Spouses should hate, despise and fight against the sexual pleasure according to the teaching of the Holy Bible and the Saints” in Part 2 of this book, and the chapter about St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians in Part 3. However, as we have seen, the whole of both Part 2 and Part 3 of this book perfectly proves that sexual pleasure can be dangerous or harmful even for the married in their sexual acts, as well as that chastity is a better and more blessed and virtuous life than matrimony, and that sexual pleasure should be hated, despised and fought against even in marriage.

Objection: You are not right in teaching that Mary was completely chaste during her whole life since the Bible teaches that Jesus had brothers during his life.

Matthew 13:55 “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?”

Answer: Most Protestants of our day reject the perpetual virginity of Mary; they think it contradicts the Bible. Many of them will be shocked to find out that the first Protestants, including Martin Luther, John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli and others all believed in the perpetual virginity of Mary. The idea that Mary ceased to be a virgin and had other children besides Jesus was invented many generations after the original Protestant “reformation.” Thus, the Protestant position on this matter not only contradicts ancient Catholic tradition and the Bible (as we will see), but their own Protestant “tradition.”

MATTHEW 1:25 DOES NOT DISPROVE MARY’S PERPETUAL VIRGINITY

The first thing that Protestants usually quote against Mary’s perpetual virginity is Matthew 1:25.

Matthew 1:24-25 “Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.”

According to Protestants, this proves that Mary ceased to be a virgin after the birth of Jesus. This is quite wrong. The Greek word for “until” or “till” (heos) does not imply that Joseph had marital relations with Mary after the birth of Jesus Christ. It simply means that they had no relations up to that point, without saying anything about what happened after that point. This is proven below by many passages. We should also bear in mind that the Bible was written several thousand years ago. It was written at a time and in languages which don’t express and imply things the same way that they would be expressed and implied in modern English.

For instance, in 2 Samuel 6:23 (2 Kings 6:23 in the Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible), we read that God cursed Michal, David’s wife. He cursed her because she mocked David for the manner in which he rejoiced before the Ark of the Covenant. As a result, Michal had no children “until” the day of her death.

2 Samuel 6:23 “Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child until the day of her death.”

Does this mean that Michal started having children after her death? Obviously it does not. This verse demonstrates that when Scripture describes something as being true “until” or “before” a certain point, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it ceased to be true after that point. Here are numerous other examples of this:

Hebrews 1:13 “But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?”

This refers to the Son of God. Does this mean that He will cease to sit at the right hand of the Father after God’s enemies are made His footstool? Obviously it does not. He will remain at the right hand of God the Father.

1 Timothy 4:13 “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.”

Does this mean that they should abandon reading and doctrine after he comes? Obviously it does not.

Acts 23:1 “And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.”

Does this mean that Paul necessarily ceased to have a good conscience after that day? Obviously it does not.

The preposition “before” can be used the same way.

John 4:49 “Come down before my child dies.”

Here we see that the word “before” can be used in a similar manner to the word “until.” This child did not die; Jesus healed him (John 4:50). Thus, the statement in Matthew 1:18, which is quoted below, that Mary was with child “before” she and Joseph came together, doesn’t mean that they came together after she was with child. It simply means that she was pregnant without any sexual contact.

Matthew 1:18 “Now the generation of Christ was in this wise. When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child, of the Holy Ghost.”

It’s quite certain, therefore, that Matthew 1:25 and Matthew 1:18 do not contradict Mary’s perpetual virginity in any way. Protestants cannot legitimately claim that these passages constitute proof that Mary ceased to be a virgin. These passages do not prove her perpetual virginity, either. Her perpetual virginity is proven by other things in the Bible.

WHAT ABOUT THE “FIRSTBORN” SON – DOESN’T THAT IMPLY OTHER CHILDREN?

Luke 2:7 “And she brought forth her firstborn son; and she wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

Matthew 1:25 “And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.”

“Firstborn son” is a legal title given to a first-born male child in a Jewish family: in other words, it is given to a male child who is also the first child.

God specifically commanded the Israelites to sanctify (i.e., set apart) their first-born sons for a special consecration and service to God. The title “first-born son” held additional importance because it entitled that child to a double portion of the inheritance (Deut. 21:17). This title of “first-born son” was given to the child regardless of whether the woman had any other children after him. As an example: “we can see this from a Greek tomb inscription at Tel el Yaoudieh (cf. “Biblica” 11, 1930 369-90) for a mother who died in childbirth: ‘In the pain of delivering my firstborn child, destiny brought me to the end of life.’” (Quoted in “Brothers and Sisters of Jesus,” by William Most)

In Exodus 13 and 34, we read about God’s prescription that the first-born be consecrated to Him. There was a ceremony for the “sanctification of the firstborn” (Exodus 13 and 34:20). It’s not as if they postponed the ceremony for the “first-born son” until after the woman had a second child.

Exodus 13:2,12 “Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine… Thou shalt set apart all that openeth the womb for the Lord, and all that is first brought forth of thy cattle: whatsoever thou shalt have of the male sex, thou shalt consecrate to the Lord.”

Thus, the statement that Jesus was the “first-born son” of Mary (Luke 2:7) does not in any way contradict Mary’s perpetual virginity. It simply means that He was her first and male child. It says nothing about whether any came later.

WHAT ABOUT THE “BROTHERS” OF JESUS?

Non-Catholics often bring up the passages which mention the “brothers and sisters” of Jesus. First of all, it must be mentioned that never once are these “brothers” described as the children of Mary, Jesus’ mother.

Mark 6:3 “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.”

Matthew 13:55 “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?”

In the original Greek the words used are adelphoi (“brethren”) and adelphe (“sisters”). The words adelphoi and adelphe can refer to actual siblings. However, the Bible also uses these words to describe people who are not brothers, but cousins or relatives or step brothers or close neighbors.

THE BIBLE SAYS THAT ABRAHAM WAS LOT’S BROTHER, BUT HE WASN’T LITERALLY

Lot was Abraham’s nephew. Abraham was his uncle (see Genesis 11:31; 14:12). Yet, the Bible twice describes Lot as Abraham’s “brother.” That’s because the word “brother” doesn’t necessarily mean a sibling. As stated above, it can mean a cousin or a relative or a step-brother or a close family friend.

Genesis 14:14 “Which when Abram had heard, to wit, that his brother Lot was taken...”

Lot was Abraham’s nephew

The Bible also calls him his “brother”

Gen. 11:27 “Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot.”

Gen. 12:5 “And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son...”

Gen. 14:12 “And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.”

Gen. 14:14 “And when Abram heard that his brother [Lot] was taken captive...”

Gen. 14:16 “And also brought again his brother Lot...”

Some Protestants attempt to respond to this by arguing that the Old Testament was not written in Greek, but Hebrew. Therefore, they say, the case of Lot doesn’t prove that adelphos can refer to a person who is not literally a brother. This is refuted by pointing out that while the Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew, it was famously translated into Greek by seventy scholars a few centuries before the coming of Christ. This famous translation is called the Septuagint.

This Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, is quoted about 300 times by the inspired writers of the New Testament. That means that the New Testament writers accepted the Septuagint. In the Septuagint, the same Greek word adelphos is used to describe Lot as Abraham’s brother. Adelphos is the singular form of adelphoi, the word used in the New Testament for the “brothers” of Jesus. Therefore, the Old Testament does use adelphos to describe someone who is not literally a brother.

But the point can also be proven from the New Testament. In Acts 3:17 and Romans 9:3, we see that adelphoi (brothers) is used to describe people of the same nationality who are not siblings. Consider these verses to be the death-blow to the Protestant argument in this regard.

Moreover, in Luke 10:29, Matthew 5:22 and Matthew 7:3, we see that adelphos (“brother”) is used for neighbor, not necessarily sibling.

BUT THERE IS A GREEK WORD FOR COUSIN, ANEPSIOS; IF THE BRETHREN OF JESUS WERE COUSINS, RATHER THAN BROTHERS, WHY WASN’T ANEPSIOS USED?

The Catholic Church teaches that Mary is ever-virgin and had no other children. The Catholic Church does not teach that all the “brethren” of Jesus were necessarily His cousins. They may have been extended relatives or close friends or people considered part of the family by marriage or law or homeland. For instance, in 2 Samuel 1:26, King David calls Jonathan his “brother.” Jonathan and David were not brothers or cousins. David had married Jonathan’s sister, Michal, the daughter of King Saul. So David married into the family.

The number of Jesus’ “brothers” (adelphoi) mentioned in the Bible seems to suggest that some of them were not even extended relatives, but considered part of the family in other ways. If even one or a few of them were not cousins, but more extended relatives or neighbors or close family friends, then the word adelphoi would have been used. Therefore, the fact that the word for cousin was not used does not in any way prove that Mary had other children.

EVIDENCE FROM MATTHEW 27:56 SHOWS THAT THE “BROTHERS” OF JESUS WERE NOT HIS SIBLINGS

Matthew 13:55 “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?”

James and Joses are two of the names given as “brothers” of Jesus. It can be shown, by the following points, that these were children of another woman and not siblings of Jesus. Please follow this carefully.

There were three women at the foot of the Cross: 1) the Blessed Virgin Mary (the mother of Jesus); 2) Mary the wife of Cleophas (who is said to be the Blessed Virgin Mary’s sister); and 3) Mary Magdalene.

John 19:25 “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus [1] his mother, and [2] his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and [3] Mary Magdalene.”

Mary, the wife of Cleophas, is also described as “the other Mary” in Matthew 28:1. The Bible tells us that James and Joses are the children of this Mary:

Matthew 27:56 “Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedees children.”

Thus, James and Joses (who are called the “brothers” of Jesus) are not His siblings, but at least His cousins. However, they are probably not even first cousins. This is because Mary of Cleophas (the mother of James and Joses), who is said to be the “sister” of Jesus’ mother (John 19:25), is also named Mary. It’s extremely unlikely that two siblings in a Hebrew family would be given the same name. Most likely they were not sisters, but members of the same clan who were called “sisters” in the same way that James, Joses, Simon and Judas were called “brothers” of Jesus.

When the Holy Bible refers to James as the Lord’s brother, we also have direct evidence that James was many years older than Jesus as well as even older than Mary, which would prove that it is impossible that the Blessed Virgin Mary is James’ biological Mother, since he was even older than her, and this in turn would prove that the word for “brother” in the Bible referred to a family member or relative rather than a blood brother.

Here is what Josephus says in Antiquities of the Jews, 20:9:1:

“And now Caesar [Nero], upon hearing of the death of Festus, sent Albinus into Judea as procurator; but the king [Agrippa II] deprived Joseph of the high priesthood, and bestowed the succession to that dignity on the son of Ananus, who was also himself called Ananus… this younger Ananus, who, as we have told you already, took the high priesthood, was a bold man in his temper, and very insolent; he was also of the sect of the Sadducees, who were very rigid in judging offenders, above all the rest of the Jews, as we have already observed; when, therefore, Ananus was of this disposition, he thought he had now a proper opportunity [to exercise his authority.] Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrim of the judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned; but as for those who seemed the most equitable of the citizens… they also sent to the king, desiring him to send to Ananus that he should act so no more, for that what he had already done was not to be justified: nay, some of them went also to meet Albinus… whereupon Albinus complied with what they had said, and wrote in anger to Ananus, and threatened that he would bring him to punishment for what he had done.”

Please note that although Josephus doesn’t give the numerical date of 62 AD for the death of James the Lord’s brother, he gives us the historical markers that allow us to know precisely what years to which he is referring. He tells us that Festus had just died, and we know he reigned from 59-62 AD. He tells us that the priest who was deprived of his office was Joseph Kabi, and we know he was high priest from between 61-62 AD.

Now to Epiphanius. He writes in Panarion, 78:14:5-6: “But James brother of the Lord and son of Joseph, died in Jerusalem, having lived twenty-four years, more or less, after the Savior’s Ascension. He was ninety-six years old when he was struck on the head by a fuller with his club, flung from the pinnacle of the temple and cast down, he who had done no wrong knelt and prayed for those who had thrown him down, saying: Forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. Thus even Simeon, his cousin, the son Clopas, who was standing at a distance, said, "Stop, why are you stoning the just one? Behold, he is uttering the most wonderful prayers for you." And thus he was martyred.”

Epiphanius says James (the Lord's brother) died "twenty-four years, more or less, after the Savior's Ascension," which, if Jesus ascended in 33 AD, this is "more or less" 24 years prior to 62 AD. (It is actually 29 years to 62 AD). He also says James was 96 when he died. If he was 96 when he died in 62 AD, then that means he was born about 33 BC (subtracting one year for no year "0"). If he was born in 33 BC, then obviously he couldn't be the son of Joseph and Mary, since they didn't even meet each other until about 30 years later. If anything, James (the "Lord's brother") would be a son of Joseph from a previous marriage, or adopted by Joseph. Joseph, as tradition holds, was much older than Mary, and thus he could easily have been married previously, and, after his wife died, he found Mary.

In fact, the stepchildren hypothesis was introduced by the apocryphal gospel of James, otherwise known as the Protoevangelium Jacobi, which says it is written by "James the brother of the Lord" (cf., Galatians 1:19), and is extant in ancient Greek and Syriac recensions. Origen refers to it as The Book of James, and it is also cited by Justin Martyr. The author claims that when Joseph was forty years of age, he married a woman named Melcha (some render it Escha or Salome). They lived together for forty-nine years and had six children, four sons and two daughters. The youngest son was James (i.e., "the Lord's brother"). At ninety-nine years of age, a year after his wife's death, Joseph received word that the priests were looking for a man of Judah to espouse Mary. Mary was only twelve to fourteen years old at the time. Joseph is said to be chosen by a high priest as her spouse in obedience to a miraculous sign (i.e., a dove coming out of his rod and resting on his head).This account was popular among many Christians in the second and third century. Its depiction survives in Raphael's (d. 1520) painting Espousals of the Virgin. Other apocryphal works that contain purported details of Joseph's life are Pseudo-Matthew, The Gospel of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, The Story of Joseph the Carpenter, and The Life of the Virgin and Death of Joseph.

The question on why James is called the brother (Greek: adelphos) of the Lord, while Simeon son of Clopas is called the anepsios (cousin) can be simply answered by assuming that Simeon was the actual cousin of Jesus, while James was merely a member of Jesus' clan (that is, connected with James per Joseph).

All of this shows that none of the statements in the Bible about the brothers and sisters of Jesus disproves, in any way, the perpetual virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Now we must look at the proof that Mary had no other children and that she was perpetually a virgin.

JOHN 19:26 PROVES THAT MARY HAD NO CHILDREN BESIDES JESUS

While dying on the Cross, Jesus entrusts His mother to the care of St. John the Apostle.

John 19:26-27 “When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple [John] took her to his own.”

Scholars point out that this was a formal act of entrustment. Jesus entrusted His mother to St. John so that he would take care of her. If Mary had other children, as Protestants contend, Jesus would not have told St. John to take Mary for his mother. She would have been put into the care of one of his many “brothers.” The fact that Jesus entrusted Mary to St. John proves that she had no other children.

Protestants try to respond to this by arguing that Jesus’ “brothers” were not believers and that’s why Jesus entrusted her to St. John. However, that’s refuted by Acts 1:14. It indicates that Jesus’ “brothers” were believers. Jesus certainly knew that they were or would become believers and hence He would not have entrusted her to St. John if they were His siblings.

It’s also quite significant that when Jesus was found in the temple at 12 years old, there is no indication whatsoever that Mary and Joseph had other children (Luke 2:41-51). The indication is that He is an only child. He is also referred to as “the son of Mary” (Mark 6:3), not as a son of Mary. Never once is Mary said to have had other children.

MARY’S RESPONSE TO THE ANGEL IN LUKE 1 INDICATES THAT SHE HAD TAKEN A VOW OF PERPETUAL VIRGINITY

Luke 1:30-34 “And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not man?”

The angel appears to Mary and tells her that she will conceive and bring forth a son. Mary responds by saying: “How shall this be, seeing I know not man?”

The actual meaning is: how shall this be since I am a virgin. How shall this be? Mary understood how children were conceived. Her response only makes sense if she had taken a lifelong vow of virginity. She was asking how she could conceive while a virgin.

It should also be pointed out that Mary’s engagement to Joseph doesn’t contradict the notion that she had taken such a vow. Moral behavior at the time dictated that women committed to virginity have a male protector who would guard and respect the vow. That was Joseph’s role.

IT’S UNIMAGINABLE THAT THE ARK OF THE NEW COVENANT WOULD HAVE SEXUAL CONTACT

We’ve already seen that the Bible clearly teaches that Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant. As the holiest creature on Earth and the vessel of the Most High, it’s totally incongruous – completely out of keeping with the Ark’s dignity and role – to think that she would have any sexual contact. To prepare the people for God’s coming on Mt. Sinai, Moses said:

Exodus 19:14-15 “And Moses came down from the mount to the people, and sanctified them. And when they had washed their garments, he said to them: be ready against the third day, and come not near your wives.”

When David was on the run and needed bread from the priest, we read:

1 Samuel 21:4 “And the priest answered David, saying: I have no common bread at hand, but only holy bread, if the young men be clean, especially from women.”

The Ark was created for a more sublime and sacred reason, and never would have sexual contact. Oza was struck dead for merely touching the Ark when he shouldn’t have done so (2 Samuel 6:6-8).

EZECHIEL 44 AND THE PROPHECY ABOUT THE CLOSED GATE IS A PROPHECY OF MARY’S PERPETUAL VIRGINITY

Ezechiel 44:2 “And the Lord said to me: This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall pass through it: because the Lord the God of Israel hath entered in by it, and it shall be shut.”

Here we see that the Lord shall pass through this gate, and no other man shall pass through it. This is a prophecy about the perpetual virginity of Mary. She is the closed gate, through whom the Lord comes. That’s one reason why Mary has been called “the Gate of Heaven” in traditional Catholic writings.

THE PERPETUAL VIRGINITY OF MARY WAS FIRMLY BELIEVED IN THE ANCIENT CHRISTIAN CHURCH

Second Council of Constantinople, 553 A.D., Can. 6 “If anyone says that the holy, glorious, and ever-virgin is called God-bearer by misuse of language and not truly… let him be anathema.”

Some Protestants and most members of the “Orthodox” Church claim to honor the Second Council of Constantinople. It was the fifth ecumenical council. As we see here, it clearly taught Mary’s perpetual virginity.

Pope St. Martin I, Lateran Council, 649 A.D., Can. 3 “If anyone does not properly and truly confess in accord with the holy Fathers, that the holy Mother of God and ever Virgin and immaculate Mary in the earliest of the ages conceived of the Holy Spirit without seed, namely, God the Word Himself specifically and truly, who was born of God the Father before all ages, and that she incorruptibly bore [Him], her virginity remaining indestructible even after His birth, let him be condemned.” (Denzinger 256)

The ancient Christian Church believed that Mary was perpetually a virgin. In the fourth century, St. Jerome, the father of biblical scholarship and the one who translated the Bible into Latin, defended this truth against Helveticus, a heretic who denied it. As mentioned already, even the first Protestants, including Luther, Calvin and Zwingli, accepted the perpetual virginity of Mary.

The perpetual virginity of Mary can be proven from the Bible. From the earliest biblical days adultery carried with it a sense of defilement, so that a woman who had performed the sexual act with another man, even if by force, was considered no longer fit to be visited by her husband (Genesis 49:4; 2 Samuel 20:3, re ibid. 16:21-22; Book of Jubilees 33:6-9; Epstein, Marriage Laws in the Biblical Talmud, p. 51).

The deuteronomic code teaches that a woman who is divorced by her husband and thereafter marries another man likewise cannot return to her former husband (Deuteronomy 24:1-4). As the Lord said through the prophet Jeremiah: "If a man put away his wife and she goes from him and becomes another man's wife, shall he return to her again, shall not the land (his wife's body) be greatly polluted?" (Jr 3:1; see Targum to Dt 24:1-4).

Betrothed

In Jewish Law a man betrothed to a woman was considered legally married to her. The word for betrothed in Hebrew is Kiddush, a word that is derived from the Hebrew word Kadash which means "holy" "consecrated," "set apart." Because by betrothal (as in Matthew 1:18; Luke 1:27), or marriage, a woman became the peculiar property of her husband, forbidden to others.

The Oral Law of Kiddushin (Marriages and Engagements) states; "The husband prohibits his wife to the whole world like an object which is dedicated to the Sanctuary" (Kiddushin 2b, Babylonian Talmud).

We know from the Gospel of Matthew 1:14 that Joseph the husband of Mary was a righteous man, a devout law-abiding Jew. Having noticed that Mary was pregnant and that he, her betrothed, had nothing to do with the pregnancy, Joseph had considered putting her away privately since he thought that he was not worthy enough to live with the Mother of God.

His decision to stay with her was made when an angel appeared to him in a dream, saying: "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife; for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:20-21). The angel does not use the phrase for marital union: "go in unto" (as in Genesis 30:3, 4, 16) or "come together" (Matthew 1:18) but merely a word meaning leading her into the house as a wife (paralambano gunaika) but not cohabiting with her.

For when the angel revealed to him that Mary was truly the spouse of the Holy Spirit, Joseph could take Mary, his betrothed, into his house as a wife, but he could never have intercourse with her because according to the Law she was forbidden to him for all time.

Marriage to the Holy Spirit

We also have to take into consideration that when Mary was told by the archangel Gabriel "Behold, you shall conceive in your womb, and bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus" (Luke 1:31), he also added that this was to come about because "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the Holy one to be born shall be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35).

By stating it in those terms the archangel declared to Mary that God would enter into a marital relationship with her, causing her to conceive His Son in her womb, For "to lay one's power (reshuth) over a woman" (Targum to Dt 21:4) was a euphemism for "to have a marital relationship with her."

Likewise "to overshadow" (Luke 1:35) by spreading the "wing" or "cloak" over a woman was another euphemism for marital relations. Thus, the rabbis commented (Midrash Genesis Rabbah 39.7; Midrash Ruth Rabbah 3.9) that Ruth was chaste in her wording when she asked Boaz to have marital relations with her by saying to him "I am Ruth you handmaid, spread therefore your cloak (literally, "wing": kanaph) over your handmaid for you are my next-of-kin" (Ruth 3:9).

Tallith, another Aramaic-Hebrew word for cloak, is derived from tellal = shadow. Thus, "to spread one's cloak (tallith) over a woman" means to cohabit with her (Kiddushin 18b, see also Mekhilta on Exodus 21:8). Did not the Lord say to His bride Israel: "I am married to you" (Jr 3:14) and "your Maker is your husband"? (Is 54-5:5; Jr 31:32)? And what is more intimate than what the Lord said to His bride: "You developed, you grew, you came to full womanhood; your breasts became firm and your hair grew... you were naked... and I saw that you were now old enough for love so I spread my cloak over you... I gave you My oath, I entered into a covenant with you and you became Mine, says the Lord God." (Ezekiel 16:7, 8)

Mary prohibited to Joseph

Having been enlightened by an angel in a dream regarding her pregnancy, and perhaps further by Mary concerning the words of the archangel Gabriel to her at the Annunciation, Joseph knew that God had conducted himself as a husband in regard to Mary. She was now prohibited to him for all time, and for the sake of the Child and Mary he could only live with her in an absolutely chaste relationship.

Joseph as celibate caretaker

As the recipient of the great revelation that what was conceived in the womb of Mary, his betrothed, was of the Holy Spirit and that the Child to be born was destined to save His people from their sins, surely Joseph knew that he was called to take care of Mary and her Child, the Messiah, for the rest of his life, which is why the angel told him to take Mary as his wife.

We may reasonable assume that Mary herself now shared with him all that the archangel Gabriel said to her. No less a Person than "the Son of God" (Luke 1:35) was to be entrusted to his care under the shelter of his humble home, now become the Holy of Holies.

Jewish tradition mentions that, although the people had to abstain from sexual relations with their wives for only three days prior to the revelation at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:15), Moses chose to remain continent the rest of his life with the full approval of God. The rabbis explained that this was so because Moses knew that he was appointed to personally commune with God, not only at Mount Sinai but in general throughout the forty years of sojourning in the wilderness. For this reason Moses kept himself "apart from woman," remaining in the sanctity of separation to be at the beck and call of God at all times; they cited God's command to Moses in Deuteronomy 5:28 (Midrash Exodus Rabbah 19:3 and 46.3).

Again, we may be sure that Saint Joseph remained celibate all his life because throughout his married years he was in daily attendance and communication with Jesus, the incarnate Word of God.

Objection: You are not right in teaching that specific acts of virtue increases our own or other people’s chances of reaching heaven. There’s nothing in the Bible that teaches this. My Bible does not even have the verse that teaches this:But this kind [of demon] is not cast out but by prayer and fasting.” (Matthew 17:21)

Answer: Not surprisingly, the word “fasting”, or worse, the whole verse itself! has been completely removed from many modern protestant translations. For instance, the following whole verse have been completely removed in the New International Version: “But this kind [of demon] is not cast out but by prayer and fasting.” (Matthew 17:21) You will not find it at all in their translation. All in all, over 40 complete deletions of whole sentences is found in the New International Version (NIV), in addition to over 64,000 deletions of words such as: Godhead, regeneration, Calvary, remission, immutable, omnipotent, Comforter, Holy Ghost, Messiah, quickened, infallible, etc. It’s interesting to note that the same verse of Matthew 17:21 is also deleted from the Jehovah’s Witness “Bible”. In fact, many of the things missing in the Jehovah’s Witness “Bible”, such as references to the Godhead and The Trinity, have been completely omitted in the New International Version as well, such as 1 John 5:7, which reads: “And there are three who give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. And these three are one.” The bolded vitally important phrase is completely removed from both the New International Version and the Jehovah’s Witness “Bible”. This is one of the greatest verses testifying of the Godhead or Trinity. That is why the Jehovah’s Witnesses leave it out. They do not believe in the Godhead and they do not believe that Jesus is God. Why does the NIV leave it out...? It’s because the translation is satanically inspired by the same Antichrist spirit behind the Jehovah’s Witness cult. Reader, do you believe in the Godhead? Do you read the NIV translation? (or other protestant translations)? If so, then this deletion should offend you. That is why one must read the Catholic bible. For in addition to all of the above, all protestant versions are corrupted and mistranslated on many important passages, in addition to missing seven entire books (the deuterocanonical books) from the biblical canon. Even the King James version is not to be compared with the Douay-Rheims Catholic bible and are many times excluding the deuterocanonical books. So if you are reading a protestant bible and love the bible you are missing seven entire books of the bible.

DEUTEROCANONICAL BOOKS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT SCRIPTURE DISPROVING THE PROTESTANT BIBLE!

When we consider the fact that the early Christian Church unanimously accepted the Catholic canon of Holy Scripture up to the time of the Protestant revolt, only a heretic, fool or liar would ever dare to claim that the Christian Church accepted false biblical books for over 1500 years and that the Christian Church erred for 1500 years in this regard, or that God would allow non-Canonical books to be considered as canonical for over 1500 years throughout the universal Christian Church. Here is some irrefutable evidence that the Catholic canon is the only true canon of scripture:

Matt. 2:16 – Herod’s decree of slaying innocent children was prophesied in Wis. 11:7 – slaying the holy innocents.

Matt. 6:19-20 – Jesus’ statement about laying up for yourselves treasure in heaven follows Sirach 29:11 – lay up your treasure.

Matt. 7:12 – Jesus’ golden rule “do unto others” is the converse of Tobit 4:15 – what you hate, do not do to others.

Matt. 7:16,20 – Jesus’ statement “you will know them by their fruits” follows Sirach 27:6 – the fruit discloses the cultivation.

Matt. 9:36 – the people were “like sheep without a shepherd” is same as Judith 11:19 – sheep without a shepherd.

Matt. 11:25 – Jesus’ description “Lord of heaven and earth” is the same as Tobit 7:18 – Lord of heaven and earth.

Matt. 12:42 – Jesus refers to the wisdom of Solomon which was recorded and made part of the deuterocanonical books.

Matt. 16:18 – Jesus’ reference to the “power of death” and “gates of Hades” references Wisdom 16:13.

Matt. 22:25; Mark 12:20; Luke 20:29 – Gospel writers refer to the canonicity of Tobit 3:8 and 7:11 regarding the seven brothers.

Matt. 24:15 – the “desolating sacrilege” Jesus refers to is also taken from 1 Macc. 1:54 and 2 Macc. 8:17.

Matt. 24:16 – let those “flee to the mountains” is taken from 1 Macc. 2:28.

Matt. 27:43 – if He is God’s Son, let God deliver him from His adversaries follows Wisdom 2:18.

Mark 4:5,16-17 – Jesus’ description of seeds falling on rocky ground and having no root follows Sirach 40:15.

Mark 9:48 – description of hell where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched references Judith 16:17.

Luke 1:42 – Elizabeth’s declaration of Mary’s blessedness above all women follows Uzziah’s declaration in Judith 13:18.

Luke 1:52 – Mary’s magnificat addressing the mighty falling from their thrones and replaced by lowly follows Sirach 10:14.

Luke 2:29 – Simeon’s declaration that he is ready to die after seeing the Child Jesus follows Tobit 11:9.

Luke 13:29 – the Lord’s description of men coming from east and west to rejoice in God follows Baruch 4:37.

Luke 21:24 – Jesus’ usage of “fall by the edge of the sword” follows Sirach 28:18.

Luke 24:4 and Acts 1:10 – Luke’s description of the two men in dazzling apparel reminds us of 2 Macc. 3:26.

John 1:3 – all things were made through Him, the Word, follows Wisdom 9:1.

John 3:13 – who has ascended into heaven but He who descended from heaven references Baruch 3:29.

John 4:48; Acts 5:12; 15:12; 2 Cor. 12:12 – Jesus’, Luke’s and Paul’s usage of “signs and wonders” follows Wisdom 8:8.

John 5:18 – Jesus claiming that God is His Father follows Wisdom 2:16.

John 6:35-59 – Jesus’ Eucharistic discourse is foreshadowed in Sirach 24:21.

John 10:22 – the identification of the feast of the dedication is taken from 1 Macc. 4:59.

John 10:36 – Jesus accepts the inspiration of Maccabees as He analogizes the Hanukkah consecration to His own consecration to the Father in 1 Macc. 4:36.

John 15:6 – branches that don’t bear fruit and are cut down follows Wis. 4:5 where branches are broken off.

And many more!

The inspired Scripture in 2 Tim. 3:16 that St. Paul is referring to included the deuterocanonical texts that the Protestants removed after the Christian Church had accepted it as Holy Scripture for 1500 years. The books Baruch, Tobit, Maccabees, Judith, Sirach, Wisdom and parts of Daniel and Esther were all included in the Septuagint that Jesus and the apostles used. The deuterocanonical books were reckoned as Scripture by the early Christians. As Protestant church historian J. N. D. Kelly writes, “It should be observed that the Old Testament thus admitted as authoritative in the Church was somewhat bulkier and more comprehensive [than the Protestant Bible]. . . . It always included, though with varying degrees of recognition, the so-called apocrypha or deuterocanonical books. The reason for this is that the Old Testament which passed in the first instance into the hands of Christians was . . . the Greek translation known as the Septuagint. . . . most of the Scriptural quotations found in the New Testament are based upon it rather than the Hebrew. . . . In the first two centuries . . . the Church seems to have accept all, or most of, these additional books as inspired and to have treated them without question as Scripture. Quotations from Wisdom, for example, occur in 1 Clement and Barnabas. . . Polycarp cites Tobit, and the Didache [cites] Ecclesiasticus. Irenaeus refers to Wisdom, the History of Susannah, Bel and the Dragon [i.e., the deuterocanonical portions of Daniel], and Baruch. The use made of the Apocrypha by Tertullian, Hippolytus, Cyprian and Clement of Alexandria is too frequent for detailed references to be necessary” (Early Christian Doctrines, 53-54). Further, some New Testament passages clearly allude to passages in the deuterocanonicals. (For instance, compare Hebrews 11:35 with 2 Maccabees 7.)

Some Protestants argue that Sirach and 2 Maccabees are not inspired because the writers express uncertainty about their abilities. But sacred writers are often humble about their divinely inspired writings. See, for example, 1 Cor. 7:40 – Paul says he “thinks” that he has the Spirit of God.

The Protestants attempt to defend their rejection of the deuterocanonicals on the ground that the early Jews rejected them. However, the Jewish councils that rejected them (e.g., School of Javneh (also called “Jamnia” in 90 – 100 A.D.) were the same councils that rejected the entire New Testament canon. Thus, Protestants who reject the Catholic Bible are following a Jewish council that rejected Christ and the Revelation of the New Testament.

We can know that the Jewish community in general before the coming of Christ accepted the Catholic version of the Old Testament, for the Septuagint that Christ and the Apostles used, were produced by the Jews before Christ, and at that time, the followers of Judaism had not fallen into such a degradation and heresy concerning the meaning of Holy Scripture that we can see described in the Gospel.

When the Lord and His Apostles addressed Greek-speaking Diaspora Jews, they made use of the Septuagint, a translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek — which many Jews (the vast majority, in fact) regarded as inspired Scripture. In fact, we find that the New Testament is filled with references to the Septuagint (and its particular translation of various Old Testament passages) as Scripture. It’s a strange irony that one of the favorite passages used in anti-Catholic polemics over the years is Mark 7:6-8. In this passage Christ condemns “teaching as doctrines human traditions.” This verse has formed the basis for countless complaints against the Catholic Church for supposedly “adding” to Scripture man-made traditions, such as the “merely human works” of the deuterocanononical books. But few realize that in Mark 7:6-8 the Lord was quoting the version of Isaiah that is found only in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament.

The Septuagint version of Scripture, from which Christ quoted, includes the Deuterocanonical books, books that were supposedly “added” by Rome in the 16th century. And this is by no means the only citation of the Septuagint in the New Testament. In fact, fully two thirds of the Old Testament passages that are quoted in the New Testament are from the Septuagint. So why aren’t the deuterocanonical books in today’s Jewish Bible, anyway? Because the Jews who formulated the modern Jewish canon were a) not interested in apostolic teaching and, b) driven by a very different set of concerns from those motivating the apostolic community. The fact is that after the birth of the Church on the day of Pentecost, the rabbis no longer had authority from God to settle such issues. That authority, including the authority to define the canon of Scripture, had been given to Christ’s Church. Thus, Church and synagogue went their separate ways, not in the Middle Ages or the 16th century, but in the 1st century. The Septuagint, complete with the deuterocanononical books, was first embraced, not by the Council of Trent, but by Jesus of Nazareth and his Apostles.

We will now consider what the Bible teaches about how holy men intercede with God.

THE BIBLE TEACHES THAT MEN INTERCEDE WITH GOD –

MOSES HAD AN EXTRAORDINARY POWER OF INTERCESSION WITH GOD

Exodus 32:9-14 “And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiff-necked people: Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation. And Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power… Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants… And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.”

Moses’ intercession with God was so great that God even asked Moses to allow Him to destroy the Israelites. This must not be understood in the sense that the Almighty God can be or was constrained by any man, but rather that He was powerfully swayed and influenced by this man’s close relationship with Him. Moses pleaded with Him not to destroy them, and God relented because of Moses. As we can see, not all men are equal before God. Not all men have the same intercessory power with Him. The intercession of extraordinary and saintly men is powerful and effective.

ABRAHAM HAD AN EXTRAORDINARY POWER OF INTERCESSION WITH GOD

We see another example of this in the case of Abraham:

Genesis 18:26-33 “And the Lord said to him: If I find in Sodom fifty just within the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake. And Abraham answered, and said: Seeing I have once begun, I will speak to my Lord, whereas I am dust and ashes. What if there be five less than fifty just persons? wilt thou for five and forty destroy the whole city? And he said: I will not destroy it, if I find five and forty. And again he said to him: But if forty be found there, what wilt thou do? He said: I will not destroy it for the sake of forty. [And Abraham, because he had powerful intercession with God, bargained Him all the way to ten] What if ten should be found there? And he said: I will not destroy it for the sake of ten. And the Lord departed, after he had left speaking to Abraham: and Abraham returned to his place.”

THE BIBLE SAYS THAT THE PRAYERS OF A MAN WOULD CAUSE GOD TO ACCEPT PEOPLE HE OTHERWISE WOULD NOT

The next example we will consider is one where the Bible says that the prayers of a man would cause God to accept people He otherwise wouldn’t.

Job 42:7-10 “… the Lord said to Eliphaz… My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering: and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly… So [they] went, and did according as the Lord commanded them… And the Lord also was turned at the penance of Job, when he prayed for his friends…”

The Lord was turned at the prayers and penance of Job. The intercession and prayers of saintly men obtain graces and favors that the Lord will not always otherwise give. God said that He would only give this grace to Eliphaz if Job would pray for him.

GOD WOULD ONLY GIVE ISRAEL THE VICTORY IF MOSES (A MAN) HELD UP HIS HANDS

Another example of the intercession of holy men is found in Exodus 17. We read that Israel went out to fight against Amalec. God enabled Israel to have the victory as long as Moses held up his hands. However, if Moses let his hands down, Amalec would overcome the Israelites.

Exodus 17:11-13 “And when Moses lifted up his hands, Israel overcame: but if he let them down a little, Amalec overcame. And Moses’ hands were heavy: so they took a stone, and put under him, and he sat on it: and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands on both sides. And it came to pass that his hands were not weary until sunset. And Josue put Amalec and his people to flight, by the edge of the sword.”

This is another prime example of how sometimes God only grants certain things through the intercession of holy men.

THE LORD’S STATEMENT ABOUT THE INTERCESSION OF MOSES AND SAMUEL

Jeremias 15:1 “And the Lord said to me: If Moses and Samuel shall stand before me, my soul is not towards this people: cast them out from my sight…”

God says that even if Moses and Samuel stood before Him, He would still reject this people. This is quite revealing. The people described in this passage were so bad that not even the powerful intercession of the great servants of God, Moses and Samuel, could relax God’s anger against them. However, these words show us that the intercession of extraordinary servants of God, such as Moses and Samuel – who have built up a special credit or influence with Him – impacts how God deals with and looks at people, even if it didn’t make the difference in this particular case because of how bad the people were. The intercession of saintly men helps determine what God does for people and what He does to them, as we saw with the examples above.

WHAT ABOUT 1 TIMOTHY 2:5 JESUS IS THE ONLY MEDIATOR?

Before we cover more biblical evidence for the veneration and intercession of saints, we must consider an objection. One of the main objections that non-Catholics raise against praying to saints comes from 1 Timothy 2:5.

1 Timothy 2:5 “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

Jesus is the only mediator between God and men, they say, so you can’t include saints or prayers to them. This objection is false for many reasons. Just because Jesus is the only mediator does not mean that others do not mediate as part of the one mediation of Christ. For example, in John 10:16 Jesus says that He is the one and only shepherd; but He appoints Peter to shepherd His sheep in John 21:15-17. Ephesians 4:11 also teaches that there are many pastors or shepherds. The point is that these other sub-shepherds all work under and by the institution of the one shepherd, Jesus.

Another example is that Jesus says He is the supreme judge. We read this in John 9:39 and in many other passages. Certain men of God, however, will also act on His behalf as judges in Heaven, even of angels. We read this in 1 Corinthians 6:2, Matthew 19:28, and elsewhere. Yes, Jesus is the unique mediator, because the mediator is the one who unites man to God. Jesus alone did this by His passion and death. We read this in 2 Corinthians 5:18. But that does not mean that within the one mediation of Christ there are not others who participate in His mediation. In fact, the Bible clearly teaches it.

IF YOU CANNOT PRAY TO SAINTS, THEN YOU CANNOT ASK OTHERS TO PRAY FOR YOU – PERIOD

If Jesus’ unique mediation excluded prayers to saints, then it would also exclude asking a fellow man to pray for you. There is no way around the logic of this argument. For when you ask a fellow man to pray for you, instead of going to Jesus directly, you are asking another person to act as a mediator with Jesus for you. That’s what Catholics do when they pray to saints. Therefore, if prayers to saints are excluded by the unique mediation of Jesus, then asking others for prayers is definitely excluded as well.

Not only do most Protestants accept the concept of asking others to pray for them – thus contradicting their rejection of prayers to saints – but, in the New Testament, St. Paul himself repeatedly asks others for prayers.

Romans 15:30 “Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me.”

Paul also tells others that he is praying for them.

Colossians 1:3 “… praying always for you…”

Paul even says that the prayers of others bestow gifts upon him.

2 Corinthians 1:11 “Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.”

THE BIBLE TEACHES THAT PAUL’S SUFFERING INTERCEDES TO WIN GRACES FOR PEOPLE

The Bible also says this about Paul’s suffering:

Colossians 1:24 “[I] now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the church.”

This verse might be a shock to some non-Catholics who are not familiar with it. Paul says that he fills up, for the Church, those things that are wanting or lacking in the sufferings of Christ. Now Christ’s suffering was perfect and of infinite value; so what does this mean? What St. Paul means is that many sufferings are still wanting and needed for the members of the Church to work out their salvation, which was all made possible by Christ’s sacrifice.

He is teaching that his sacrifices and his sufferings, in addition to his prayers, can intercede with God so that God gives others graces to convert or to remain faithful. Those people must still cooperate with the graces, but the efforts, prayers and sacrifices of members of the Church can help grant them. All of this confirms Catholic teaching on the communion of saints, and it refutes the Protestant misunderstanding of 1 Timothy 2:5.

THIS TRUTH IS ROOTED IN THE UNITY OF THE BODY OF CHRIST, WHICH EXISTS AFTER DEATH

The fact that men can go to other men for prayers, and that the saints in Heaven can answer prayers and intercede, is rooted in the biblical teaching on the unity of the Body of Christ. There is a union among the members of the Church of Jesus. This union does not cease when true members die.

St. Paul says in Romans 8:38 and following that neither death nor life separates one from the love of Christ. Nor does it separate the true faithful who abide together in the Body of Christ, whether on Earth or in Heaven.

1 Cor. 12:12,21 “… all the members of that one body, being many, are one body… And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.”

THE BIBLE SAYS THAT THE PRAYER OF A JUST MAN AVAILS MUCH

While the true members of the Church can assist each other by prayers, the prayers and intercession of saintly men is particularly powerful. That’s exactly what we saw in the cases of Moses and Abraham. That’s why we read:

James 5:16 “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

This is why prayers to saints – which have the purpose of calling for them to pray to God on our behalf – are so effective.

THE BIBLE ALSO TEACHES THAT DECEASED SAINTLY MEN INTERCEDE

In Matthew 17, we see that Jesus, when He was transfigured before three of His apostles, appeared with Moses and Elias.

Matthew 17:2-3 “And [He] was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun… And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.”

This shows us that saints, even after death, are interested in Earthly affairs and are ready to intercede for us. For the spirits of the just men made perfect, as Hebrews 12 calls the saints, are among the cloud of witnesses with the angels in Heaven who help us.

Hebrews 1:14 “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?”

Psalms 91:11 “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”

AFTER DEATH, THE PROPHET SAMUEL APPEARED TO KING SAUL

In 1 Samuel 28 (1 Kings 28 in the Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible), we see a clear example of a dead saint appearing to a man. This was the prophet Samuel, who had been dead for some time. He appeared to King Saul, and rebuked him for his disobedience to God.

1 Samuel 28:12-20 “And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice… And Samuel said to Saul… Because thou obeyed not the voice of the Lord, nor executed his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the Lord done this thing unto thee this day… Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel.”

Remember, Samuel had been dead for some time.

THE BOOK OF REVELATION (OR APOCALYPSE) SHOWS US HOW THE PRAYERS OF SAINTS INTERCEDE IN HEAVEN BEFORE THE ALTAR OF GOD

The Book of Revelation or the Apocalypse also gives us a glimpse of how the saints and their prayers intercede for men.

Revelation 8:3-4 “And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.”

We see another example in Revelation chapter 5.

Revelation 5:8 “… elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of the saints.”


PART 1.
PART 2.
PART 4.
PART 5.
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