I am a single, never married, 40 + yr old female virgin. If I could be a priest or deacon I would. (A nun?–I am not so sure.) I am a physician and dedicated to my healing profession. I also serve as a pastoral minister in a local hospital. I have considered becoming a consecrated virgin, but I am not sure WHY I would do this. Would this help me to serve God in any different or better way than what I do now?
It could help you serve God. But it would definitely help you relationship WITH God, become a specially consecrated bride of Christ.
Consecrated virgins are a very selective group however. They have only recently been restored again, that’s true, but consecrated virgins living in the world number only in the few thousands. It would be a lot of preperation to make sure you are ready for the commitment.
Even religious Vows can be dispensed with by the Pope. They promise celibate chastity, but that is sort of a proscription externally that can be theoretically removed. But this consecrates internally your very virginity itself to God. In otherwords, unlike religious vows, it is not just a promise to act a certain way in the future, but the dedication of a whole state of being. The religious consecrate their whole life to God, and to that end promise chastity from that point onward, but their virginity is not specifically consecrated. The consecration of virgins is sort of the other way around, they consecrate their virginity to God, for the end of making their life holy.
You might find this post interesting, commenting on a book by Thomas Dubay S.M. concerning celibacy/consecrated life.:
What is a consecrated virgin?
nevermind. found out what it was.
If you are called to this particular state, then it would seem that the graces of accepting this call of perpetual consecrated virginity would surely enhance your apostalic activity probably in a manner that you could not forsee at the moment.
To me, not answering this call (if so called) is leaving grace on the table unclaimed.
God bless you for perserving in a State that many in our age group found impossible.
If your consecration was in the form of a vow the traditional teaching according to the Summa St. Thomas Aquinasnewadvent.org/summa/3088.htm#6 :
I answer that, For three reasons it is better and more meritorious to do one and the same deed with a vow than without.
First, because to vow, as stated above (5) is an act of religion which is the chief of the moral virtues.
Now the more excellent the virtue the better and more meritorious the deed… Hence the works of the other moral virtues (for instance, fasting, which is an act of abstinence; and being continent, which is an act of chastity) are better and more meritorious, if they be done in fulfilment of a vow, since thus they belong to the divine worship, being like sacrifices to God. Wherefore Augustine says (De Virg. viii) that “not even is virginity honorable as such, but only when it is consecrated to God, and cherished by godly continence.”
Also the council of Trent proclaimed in the canons about marriage that consecrated virginity is a higher state than marriage.
Was Peter, our first Pope, in a lower state, since we are told he had a mother-in-law?
Was Pope Alexander VI, in a lower state, having four children outside of marriage?
Were all the Popes who were married in a lower state than the consecrated virgins of that time?
Is Abraham in a lower state than consecrated virgins?
St Paul makes it abundantly clear that it is indeed preferable and desirable to preserve both virginity and celibacy if one is able to do so.
St Peter appears to have been a widower when he met Jesus, since his wife is never mentioned in the Gospels, and she if alive almost certainly would have been serving the guests rather than the mother-in-law.
Alexander VI was most certainly a grave sinner in regard to his sexual conduct, not to mention other aspects of his life. What status that puts him in is between himself and God.
There have been a few married Popes, even one Pope whose son also became Pope! Certainly there have been greater and lesser Popes just as greater and lesser Bishops, priests, monks and nuns. St Paul says it’s preferable, not mandatory.
And among the Orthodox and Eastern Catholics it has, just as in the West, most always been either mandatory or nearly so to choose unmarried priests to be elevated as bishops and higher offices.
As to Abraham - God promised him and his immediate descendants to be as numerous as the stars and sands. A little difficult then to desire any of them to be celibate at that stage when this promise hadn’t yet been accomplished
It is a matter of interpretation whether Paul is saying celibacy is preferable and desirable.
Whether Peter was a widower or still married, we do not know. We do know that God makes a point of mentioning that our first Pope had a mother-in-law. Why would his mother-in-law be in his house if he was a widower? And why would Peter be back at his house, with his mother-in-law living there if Peter had left house and family to follow Jesus?
If Peter’s wife was alive, she might have been serving the guests, and it was not essential for God to mention that. Serving in response to being healed, for some reason was important enough to be mentioned.
True, there was the necessity to multiply. However, the question was whether Abraham was/is in a lesser state than consecrated virgins.
Being in a lower state does not mean that a person is less holy.
Really? Please explain/clarify.
You seem to want to pick a fight on the issue of celibacy and consecrated virginity so go to the apologetic forums. Those there will certainly help you to understand.
Those who are open to the truth here it is in a nut shell:
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XII ON CONSECRATED VIRGINITY 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. **
1 Corinthians 7:8: ‘I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.’
Doesn’t EVERYONE start off as being unmarried? No-one is born married, certainly. Therefore for EVERYONE it is good to remain unmarried. Nowhere does he say it is good for everyone to be married.
1 Corinthians 7:9: ‘But if they cannot contain [their desires], let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.’
Clearly marriage is ONLY for those who are unable to maintain a celibate state. Definitely a second-best option. And funnily enough the Council Fathers of Trent say the same, only in much stronger terms!
"24th Session of the Council of Trent:
"CANON X.-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; let him be anathema. "
Being called to celibacy you are called to witness to the ultimate marriage of Christ to His Bride, the Church, and to the fact that in heaven, men and women will not marry or be given in marriage, but will be like the angels.
However, being called to a state of celibacy is not a guarantee of holiness, or that a person is more holy than a married person. A celibate priest or nun could very easily die in mortal sin and end up in Hell, and a married person could reach a high level of holiness and become a Saint. Alexander VI very likely could have died in a state of mortal sin and been consigned to Hell (and given the way he lived I wouldn’t be surprised one bit) but Blessed Maria Corsini was married, and recently beatified. Being called to celibacy is not a guarantee that a person will go to heaven or becoming a saint.
Hey thanks Ive been looking for the Council of Trent on line for an hour. All they give me are summeries!
If you search under ‘Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent’ you should be able to find the actual Council documents.
Of couse it is no guarrenty. It is easier though because of the graces available to their state.( there are more canonized celibate saints than married, unfortunately) The normal religious goes to mass every day, confesses 2x or 4x a month, has time to pray and do apostolates of charity. There is just more grace to be had. Not to mention that every action whether sweeping the floor or washing windows is not only meritorious in the act itself but it is also an act of religion as St. Thomas explains in my quote above.
Thanks again it worked