MARRIAGE AND VIRGINITY
He who claims that marriage is unclean teaches a demonic teaching. Neither marriage is unclean nor is blood unclean, which is the carrier of life. Nor is the sperm or the seed unclean since this cell called sperm or gamete1 is full of the wisdom of God, this is true in the plant and animal kingdom and in man. The seed, the gamete, the ovum is the complete wisdom of all visible creation. Not even the sun or the universe contains so much wisdom in this structure or in its laws as this thing called sperm or seed.
Marriage is honorable, and it does not mean that by praising virginity we downgrade marriage. Saint John the Chrysostom “One cannot lower the value of marriage to put virginity on a pedestal.”
What is virginity?
Virginity goes far beyond the limits of marriage. It is not a commandment, and of course one can be saved if he does not choose virginity and chooses to marry. We also do not mean extra-marital relations or fornications. The Lord did not institute virginity for all, but He left it to the disposition and free choice of each individual.
Virginity is the pre-fallen state. The first-created humans did not have knowledge of marriage in Paradise. They knew each other only after the fall; they were virgins in Paradise. This state of virginity will prevail in God’s Kingdom as it was originally intended for Adam and Eve and everyone will be living like the angels in heaven whether they entered marriage in the present life or not. Thus virginity is a foretaste of the Kingdom of God. Marriage has become a necessity of the fallen man and as such it is a form of this age. If man had not sinned, marriage would not exist.
Then, why was Eve created?
According to Saint Irenaeus this took place because God foresaw the fall. God instituted marriage to keep this living being called man from being lost through extinction. So marriage is a form of this age while virginity is a foretaste of the Kingdom.
Some people are in a great hurry to taste marriage before marriage with premarital relations, which is certainly immorality. Unfortunately, premarital relations are very fashionable today, yet they are100% immoral. It is tragic for people to pollute themselves with fornication and afterwards to seek to have their marriage blessed by God. However it is commendable to desire to taste the Kingdom of God ahead of time by practicing virginity since virginity is a state of the restored nature of man, the state of incorruption.
If anyone is able to remain in purity, in honor of the Lord’s flesh, he must do so without boasting. (Saint Ignatius of Antioch) Virginity is not an unnatural state but rather a supranatural state. It is above nature in terms of this age, but indeed natural under the prism2 of the pre-fallen state.
There is spiritual virginity and physical virginity. The physical state, which is not so difficult, is to simply avoid bodily union, to never have sexual relations. Spiritual virginity, however, is extremely difficult. This is accomplished when one develops virginity in his soul and in his thoughts.
Absolute virginity is such a privilege that it is only ascribed to three persons in our Church:
The most Holy Theotokos (Virgin Mary)
Saint John the Baptist
Saint John the Theologian.
Virginity is a virtue and 3 ingredients are necessary to classify something as a virtue;
1 - A man’s free will
2 - His effort
3 - The grace of God.
Once must desire to practice this virtue freely, not under compulsion. The servant of God does not resort to fasting because there is nothing to eat. The servant of God fasts even though he has plenty to eat. He fasts because of his own free choice. Fasting is a virtue because it requires effort, free will and the grace of God. This is why the Lord says about virginity “not all men can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given.” So don’t force yourself if it is not a calling given to you by God. The virtue needs both factors. I must be willing and I must also receive this calling, this grace, from God. When both of these factors meet, then we have the element of virtue. If virginity were not a virtue, then Christ would not have to give his Kingdom to the virgins. The Kingdom of God is given only to virtue and holiness.
According to the Fathers, one can never reach the heights of virginity without first possessing humility. Virginity is purity of the soul, which provides the foundation of every virtue.
Who are these who are especially referred to as 144,000 virgins (Revelation 14:1-5)?
They will be all those who sparkled through the centuries as shining examples of asceticism, obedience and virginity. They are the ascetics of all centuries, of all seasons, until the end of the ages, until the end of history.
How does virginity rate today? Today, my beloved, virginity is not honored. On the contrary, it is heavily ridiculed and slandered. People today exalt the passions of lust and fornication. For this reason God has turned people over to the passions of perversions and dishonor so they can think and believe that their happiness and glory is to be found in these perversions.
The life of virtue, all the virtues, including virginity never lose their value. They are pure gold. Virginity is a very arduous virtue, and when combined with the other virtues of dedication to Christ, it reaches the height of the spectacular image presented to us today by the holy Evangelist John.
Even today, my friends, Christ sends invitations to people, especially young men and women, to come to love virginity, spiritually and physically, and to dedicate themselves to Christ.
1) Gamete - A reproductive cell having the haploid number of chromosomes, especially a mature sperm or egg capable of fusing with a gamete of the opposite sex to produce a zygote.
2) Prism - A solid figure whose bases or ends have the same size and shape and are parallel to one another, and each of whose sides is a parallelogram.
A transparent body of this form, often of glass and usually with triangular ends, used for separating white light passed through it into a spectrum or for reflecting beams of light.
BOOK: Revelation, The Seven Angels - Volume IV / 978-0-9851915-5-9)
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Set of 5 volumes (revelation explained); REVELATION Volume 4 (THE SEVEN ANGELS)