Dear brothers and sisters,
You may perhaps be interested in this letter I found on the Vatican Website:
Chastity for the Sake of the Kingdom
General Audience of November 16, 1994
According to the Second Vatican Council, the precious gift of “perfect continence, out of desire for the kingdom of heaven,” is outstanding among the evangelical counsels. This is a gift of divine grace, “given by the Father to certain souls, (cf. Mt 19:11; 1 Cor 7:7), whereby they may devote themselves to God alone the more easily, due to an undivided heart (cf. 1 Cor 7:32-34)… Perfect continence for the love of God is an incentive to charity, and is certainly a particular source of spiritual fecundity in the world” (LG 42).
Traditionally, three vows are usually spoken of–poverty, chastity and obedience–beginning with the discussion of poverty as detachment from external goods, ranked on a lower level with regard to the goods of body and soul (cf. St. Thomas, Summa Theol., II-II, q. 186, a. 3). The Council, instead, expressly mentions consecrated chastity before the other two vows (cf. LG 43; PC 12, 13, 14), because it considers chastity as the determining commitment of the state of consecrated life. It is also the evangelical counsel that most obviously shows the power of grace, which raises love beyond the human being’s natural inclinations.
Its spiritual greatness stands out in the Gospel, because Jesus himself explained the value he placed on commitment to the way of celibacy. According to Matthew, Jesus praised voluntary celibacy after he asserted the indissolubility of marriage. Since Jesus forbade husbands to divorce their wives, the disciples reacted: “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is not expedient to marry.” Jesus answered by giving a deeper meaning to the phrase, “It is not expedient to marry”: “Not all can receive this precept, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it” (Mt 19:10-12).
In stating this possibility of understanding a new way, which was that practiced by him and the disciples, and which perhaps led those around them to wonder or even to criticize, Jesus used an image that alluded to a well-known fact, the condition of “eunuchs.” They could be such because of a congenital imperfection or because of human intervention. But Jesus immediately added that there was a new category–his!-- “eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.” It was an obvious reference to the choice he made and recommended to his closest followers. According to the Mosaic law, eunuchs were excluded from worship (Dt 23:2) and the priesthood (Lv 21:20). An oracle in the Book of Isaiah had foretold the end of this exclusion (Is 56:3-5). Jesus opened an even more innovative horizon: the voluntary choice “for the sake of the kingdom of heaven” of this situation considered unworthy of man. Obviously, Jesus’ words did not mean an actual physical mutilation, which the Church has never permitted, but the free renunciation of sexual relations. As I wrote in the Apostolic Exhortation Redemptionis Donum, this means a “renunciation therefore–the reflection of the mystery of Calvary–in order ‘to be’ more fully in the crucified and risen Christ; renunciation in order to recognize fully in him the mystery of one’s own human nature, and to confirm this on the path of that wonderful process of which the same apostle writes in another place: ‘Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day’ (2 Cor 4:16)” (RD 10).
Jesus was aware of the values renounced by those who live in perpetual celibacy. He himself had affirmed them shortly before when he spoke of marriage as a union of which God is the author and which therefore cannot be broken. Being committed to celibacy does indeed mean renouncing the goods inherent in married life and the family, but never ceasing to appreciate them for their real value. The renunciation is made in view of a greater good, of higher values, summed up in the beautiful Gospel expression of the “kingdom of heaven.” The complete gift of self to this kingdom justifies and sanctifies celibacy.
Jesus called attention to the gift of divine light needed to understand the way of voluntary celibacy. Not everyone can understand it, in the sense that not everyone is “able” to grasp its meaning, to accept it, to practice it. This gift of light and decision is only granted to some. It is a privilege granted them for the sake of a greater love. We should not be surprised then if many, who do not understand the value of consecrated celibacy, are not attracted to it, and often are not even able to appreciate it. This means that there is a variety of ways, charisms and roles, as St. Paul recognized. He spontaneously wished to share his ideal of virginal life with everyone. He wrote: “I wish that all were as I myself am. But each,” he adds, “has his own special gift from God, one of one kind and one of another” (1 Cor 7:7). Moreover, as St. Thomas observed, “The Church derives a certain beauty from the variety of states”  .
For his part, the individual is required to make a deliberate act of will conscious of the duty and the privilege of consecrated celibacy. This does not mean simply abstaining from marriage, nor an unmotivated and almost passive observance of the norms imposed by chastity. The act of renunciation has a positive aspect in the total dedication to the kingdom, which implies absolute devotion to God “who is supremely loved” and to the service of his kingdom.