Brothers and sisters: 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. 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. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek a separation. Are you free of a wife? Then do not look for a wife. 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.
I tell you, brothers, the time is running out. From now on, let those having wives act as not having them, those weeping as not weeping, those rejoicing as not rejoicing, those buying as not owning, those using the world as not using it fully. For the world in its present form is passing away.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
I am very happily married, the father of five and the grandfather of six so this is a tough reading to comment upon! What can I say that won’t get me in trouble if my wife reads this?
This passage makes me think about some of Ignatius’ comments about choosing a way of life at the end of the Second Week of the Spiritual Exercises. He reminds us not to confuse ends and means. In the Principle and Foundation it is clear that the purpose of our lives is to praise, reverence, and serve God and thereby gain salvation. The means by which we attain this end can be through marriage or remaining single, through activity in the for-profit world of business or the not-for-profit world, etc.
Ignatius also points out that some previous decisions limit our current choices. For instance, the prior choice of marriage and having children means we cannot just pick up and leave them behind to do something else. Rather we are encouraged to consider how we can better serve God and gain salvation in our current state of life. In other words, how might I better love my wife and children and grandchildren, among all the people God puts in my life this day?
—David McNulty works for the Midwest Jesuits. Dave and his wife Judy are the parents of five children and the grandparents of six.
Lord, help me take stock of how my living out the state of life I have chosen is truly responding to Your invitation to love and serve you and make your love known in the world. Help me to deepen the attitudes and search out the ways which will better enable me to live the Christ-life for the people you put in my life.Please share the Good Word with your friends!