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A Christmas Sermon: Part II

 I am going to say something that will please you, my very dear brethren. There are three states of life pursued by the members of the Church of Christ: marriage, widowhood, and virginity. Because those states, those different manifestations of purity, were destined to be found in the holy members of Christ, all three states of life gave witness to Christ. In the first place, the conjugal state bore this witness, for, when the Virgin Mary conceived, Elizabeth, the wife of Zachary, having already conceived, bore in her womb the herald of this Judge. Holy Mary came to Elizabeth to greet her cousin. Thereupon, the infant in Elizabeth’s womb leaped for joy. He exulted; she prophesied. Here you have conjugal purity bearing witness to Christ. Where did  the state of widowhood bear such witness? In the case of Anna. When the Gospel was read recently, you heard that Anna was a holy widow with prophetic powers who, having lived seven of her eighty-four years with her husband, was constantly in the Temple, worshiping in prayer both night and day. She, a widow, recognized Christ, She saw a tiny babe; she recognized the great God and she bore Him witness. You have, then, in her an illustration of the state of widowhood. In Mary herself we have an illustration of the virginal state. Let each one choose for himself. Whoever has elected to live outside these states does not make provision for his inclusion in the members of Christ. Let not those women who are married say: ‘We do not belong to Christ, for holy women have had husbands. Let not those women who are virgins boast; let them, rather, humble themselves in all things in proportion to their greatness ’You have all the instances of sanctification set before your eyes. Let no one turn aside from these bounds. Let no one turn away from his wife; it is better to be without a wife. If you seek conjugal chastity, you have Susanna; if chastity of widowhood, you have Anna; if virginity, you have Mary.

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