Consecrated virginity, says St. Gregory of Nyssa, is something like Heaven on Earth. Christ promised that we would live as the angels live in Heaven; but whoever gives up marriage for Christ’s sake is already, in a way, living the life of the angels.
In fact, the life of virginity seems to be an actual representation of the blessedness in the world to come. In itself it shows many signs of the anticipated blessings reserved for us there.
To help you see how this statement is true, this is why I say it:
First, because a man who has thus died to sin once and for all lives for the future to God. He brings forth no more fruit unto death. He has made an end of this life within him according to the flesh, at least as much as he can. From then on, he awaits the expected blessing of the appearance of the great God, and he keeps himself from putting any distance between himself and this coming of God by an intervening posterity.
Secondly, because even in this present life he enjoys a certain exquisite glory of all the blessed results of our resurrection. For our Lord has announced that
the life after our resurrection will be like the life of the angels. Now the peculiar- ity of the angelic nature is that they are strangers to marriage. So the blessing of this promise has been already received by someone who has not only mingled his own glory with the halo of the saints, but also by the stainlessness of his life has imitated the purity of the incorporeal angels.
If virginity can win us favors like these, what words are fit to express how much we admire so great a grace? Where can we find another gift of the soul that is so great and so precious that it does not suffer by comparison with this perfection? –St. Gregory of Nyssa, On Virginity, 13
IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .
Even if I have not been called to consecrated virginity, can I arrange my life so that I live, as the angels do, more for God than for myself ?
Holy angels, watch over our priests, monks, nuns, and all consecrated virgins everywhere, and keep them strong in their trials.
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