The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:32-35

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 25, 2012

This post includes the Bishop’s paraphrase of the text he is commenting on. These paraphrases are in purple.

1Co 7:32  But I would have you to be without solicitude. He that is without a wife is solicitous for the things that belong to the Lord: how he may please God.

Now, in dissuading you from entering the marriage state, and in exhorting you to celibacy, I have only in view to free you from all the solicitude that interferes with the concerns of the life to come. The man who is without a wife has all his solicitude centered in the things whereby he may serve God in a most perfect degree.

In this verse, the Apostle assigns a reason for recommending virginity in preference to marriage “Without solicitude.” He by no means condemns all solicitude, but only the solicitude that interferes with the affairs of salvation. It is clear, that the Apostle prefers virginity not simply on account of the exemption it gives us from temporal troubles and uneasiness, but principally on account of the facility it affords us of discharging our duty to God, and gaining eternal life.

1Co 7:33  But he that is with a wife is solicitous for the things of the world: how he may please his wife. And he is divided.

Whereas, the married man has his solicitude centered in the things of this world, his whole anxiety is, how he may best please his wife, and thus his care
is divided between his wife and God.

“He is divided.” Is not marriage, therefore, unlawful, since God hates a divided heart?

Response: The married Christian is not always divided in heart, in the sinful manner referred to; that is to say, in such a way as to make creatures his ultimate end. It frequently happens that lie makes creatures his immediate end, with the danger of ultimately resting in them; but the unmarried man has God always not only for ultimate, but also for immediate end.

1Co 7:34  And the unmarried woman and the virgin thinketh on the things of the Lord: that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she that is married thinketh on the things of the world: how she may please her husband.

The same is equally true of the virgin and married woman. The former is anxious about the things of the Lord, and the service of God, preserving her body free from all carnal defilement and her soul from the least stain of sin; whereas, the latter is distracted by the cares of the world, and by endeavouring to please her husband.

1Co 7:35  And this I speak for your profit, not to cast a snare upon you, but for that which is decent and which may give you power to attend upon the Lord, without impediment.

Now, in all that I have said in praise of virginity, I had solely for object to promote your spiritual interests; I, by no means, intended to lay a snare for you, by deterring yon from embracing a lawful state, and forcing you to embrace the state of virginity which mav not suit you. I had solely in view to encourage you to embrace that more perfect state, which will afford you greater facilities of serving God without interruption or restraint.

“To cast a snare,” &c. The Apostle would have laid a snare for them, if by making a precept of that which was merely a counsel, he induced them to embrace a state of virginity, which might be above their strength. From this and the preceding verses it is clear, that the Apostle estimates the advantages of a single state over the married, not so much on account of the exemption it affords from temporal solicitude and anxieties, as on account of its advantages in a religious pomt of view.

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One Response to “Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:32-35”

  1. […] Posts January 29, 2012~Resources for Sunday Mass (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms)Bishop MacEvily's Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:32-35Feb 8: St Augustine on Today's Psalm (8)Notes on MatthewRevised and Complete: My Notes on Mark […]

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