Celibate single-heartedness

Paul’s well known defense of the superiority of the celibate life:

One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided.

Ambrose’s commentary points out multiple ways in which one gets chained to the world, the first of which is “the desire to live”. As a father I knew exactly what he meant – he was pointing at the terror that some accident will orphan your kids and widow your wife. Paul was speaking first the way in which the love that a provider is supposed to have for his family chains him to the world. How can I look at my five kids under 10 and say that I desire to flee and be with the Lord, since this would be far better (Phil. 1:23)? Still, in virtue of my baptism there is some sense in which I have to say this. And that’s an unavoidable way in which my interests are divided.

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1 Comment

  1. George said,

    December 28, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    This is an interesting problem you raise, and a real one at that. The only denomination that seems to have solve it would be the Mormons, but with a different structure to the post-mortal existence.

    Maybe one could read it backwards though and see that, in this life, as a father, we are in many ways mimicking the True Father and acting, in our own subordinate and naturally inferior way, to be like Our Father – which raises family life to a very important level indeed.


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