“Some are incapable of marriage…because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven.”

The day before yesterday we continued in Matthew (19:3-12) with Jesus’ teaching on divorce and marriage.  The discussion is prompted by Pharisees asking Jesus about divorce and the law.  Jesus says that from the beginning when a man and woman married they were not to be separated because God joined them.  The Pharisees press on by mentioning that Moses allowed divorce.  Jesus fires back that it was simply because of the people’s hardness of heart that he allowed it, but it is not how it was meant to be.  Divorce cannot happen in a lawful marriage and if a spouse goes on to marry another he or she commits adultery.  The disciples then chime in that it is better that no one marry then.  Jesus responds that not all can accept this teaching and that in fact some are incapable of marriage due to physical defects (inherent or man-caused) or because it is willfully renounced for a higher calling.  Regarding the latter, the Church has been very prudential in ordinarily requiring celibacy for those ordained (and never allowing the ordained to marry) and many religious orders also require celibacy for at least some of their members.  Because these men and women are set aside by God in His Church for a special vocation, they have additional capacity to dedicate themselves more fully to the things of God and the needs of others.  The Lord clearly makes this out to be a special function in His plan and we should always respect this discipline of the Church.  Continue to pray for celibate priests and religious that they remain true to their vows and draw strength from the Lord through the special blessing they received during ordination and/or professing of solemn vows.

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