In the Scripture passage where Jesus is teaching on the various types of “eunuchs” and when He says that some make themselves thus for the Kingdom of God, He later says that not all men can accept this and that whoever is able to accept it, let him accept it.
So, does this mean that anyone who is in fact able to remain celibate/virginal is required to do so? Is someone who can “survive” being a virgin absolutely required to remain so, even if he might want to get married? Is marriage, then, only for those who absolutely cannot live without a partner/children, but, for anyone else, they should remain celibate/virginal? Please explain your answers.
If the above is NOT what is meant, can someone please shed some light on what is actually meant by Jesus’ statement?
Was Jesus perhaps here saying that what He says would be hard to accept because remaining virginal in that society was indeed considered unusual and, indeed, frowned upon? I recall reading somewhere that, in Jewish culture, certainly at that time, marriage was at the very least considered quite the norm. Perhaps Jesus is here saying that it is even possible for someone to give up their very married life for the Kingdom of God --something perhaps shocking in that day?
If there is indeed some other meaning(s) I’ve missed that you think are accurate, please le me know.
And, certainly, if the Church has already infallibly interpreted this particular part of this text, please do tell.
Please do let me know what your thoughts are on this passage.
(Also, apologies if I placed this topic in the wrong forum. Feel free to move the post if such is required.)
EVERYONE is able to stay celibate for as long as necessary. This whole “some people can’t help it” thing is a load of male-cow-manure if you catch my drift. What God is getting at is that some folks aren’t made for marriage. Many great saints were very sexually inclined and yet remained chaste because that is what they wanted to be. I know other people, however, who are married and really were made to be celibate/religious. Neither way is bad, but total devotion to Christ is always a good option for those who are so inclined.
ὁ δυνάμενος - the one who can/is able (nominative)
χωρεῖν - to accept/make room for (verb whose subject is the nominative, in this case “ὁ δυνάμενος”)
χωρείτω - (reflexive) accept/make room for; essentially “let them (ὁ δυνάμενος χωρεῖν - one who is able to accept/make room for it) make room for it”
The “acceptance” is not mandated, but encouraged. Think of St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 7:25-40), which employs similar language:
25 Now in regard to virgins I have no commandment from the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26 So this is what I think best because of the present distress: that it is a good thing for a person to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek a separation. Are you free of a wife? Then do not look for a wife. 28 If you marry, however, you do not sin, nor does an unmarried woman sin if she marries; but such people will experience affliction in their earthly life, and I would like to spare you that.
29 I tell you, brothers, the time is running out. From now on, let those having wives act as not having them, 30 those weeping as not weeping, those rejoicing as not rejoicing, those buying as not owning, 31 those using the world as not using it fully. For the world in its present form is passing away.
32 I should like you to be free of anxieties. An unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord. 33 But a married man is anxious about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, 34 and he is divided. An unmarried woman or a virgin is anxious about the things of the Lord, so that she may be holy in both body and spirit. A married woman, on the other hand, is anxious about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. 35 I am telling you this for your own benefit, not to impose a restraint upon you, but for the sake of propriety and adherence to the Lord without distraction.
36 If anyone thinks he is behaving improperly toward his virgin, and if a critical moment has come and so it has to be, let him do as he wishes. He is committing no sin; let them get married. 37 The one who stands firm in his resolve, however, who is not under compulsion but has power over his own will, and has made up his mind to keep his virgin, will be doing well. 38 So then, the one who marries his virgin does well; the one who does not marry her will do better.
39 A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whomever she wishes, provided that it be in the Lord. 40 She is more blessed, though, in my opinion, if she remains as she is, and I think that I too have the Spirit of God.
(Reference: New American Standard Bible: Revised Edition; USCCB.org)
Really, it’s simply practical advice: one who is unmarried is going to have an easier time keeping their sights on the Lord, as they simply do not have the responsibilities of married couples toward one another.
Another way you may find some answers is by researching the Evangelical Counsels.