Br. Maximilian Maria Jaskowak, O.P.
St. Louis Bertrand, Louisville, KY: Wednesday, July 14, 2021
Memorial of St. Kateri Tekakwitha
Homily for the Readings of the Day, Year B
Virginity is a gift, a great gift.
And yet, rare is the man or woman who desires a virginal life.
On the one hand, this rarity stands to reason. After all, men and women are naturally ordered toward procreation. Our bodily differences and the complementary suggested therein, are the surest signs of this ordering. It is thus natural for you and for me to desire a human companion, a human partner by which the prolongation of the species can be realized. Such is why men find the feminine figure beautiful; and why women find the masculine form something analogous to beauty, albeit less so. If men did not find women beautiful, and if women did not find men appealing, the procreation and prolongation of the human species would be a sad endeavor indeed.
Now, modern men and women tend to be more than mere utilitarians in this regard. For us moderns, marriage is not just about the procreation and prolongation of the human species. If it were, finding a suitable spouse would be a hell of a lot easier for young adults, especially of the Catholic variety. Most men and women desire not just anyone, but the ONE. That ONE for whom their hearts go pitter-patter; that ONE without whom life is meaningless; that B-E-A-U-TIFUL guy or gal that can, in a manner of speaking, complete that which is otherwise lacking in themselves.
And this desire, on the part of most men and women, to find a suitable spouse — one that cannot only help the human species prolong its breath, but also one in whom the greatest and most extraordinary of friendships can be enjoyed — is a good, a great good. And most Catholic men and women know this, and they know it well. Such is why, whenever Brother Maximilian asks an eligible bachelor or bachelorette if they have ever considered the priesthood or religious life, the most common answer received by Brother Maximilian sounds something like this: “I want to get married.” And that’s great; that’s fine. That’s a natural desire being expressed aloud; I’m not offended, nor am I disappointed. If you desire marriage, go get ‘em Tiger! Marriage is a wonderful gift that God, by the grace of the sacrament of matrimony, can and often does employ for the sanctification of his people.
However, it is quite interesting to me — it is actually really intriguing — that no one has ever responded to my run-of-the-mill question about the priesthood or religious life along these lines: “I want to remain a virgin.” And to me, the fact that I’ve never heard those words; yeah, it saddens me. Virginity is a gift, a great gift; and if we moderns really understood the greatness of this gift, I think — I believe — more people would answer my question a bit differently.
But the fact of the matter is, we live in a world that frowns upon the virgin and her virginity. And this, my friends, is an unfortunate state of affairs, for virginity is a gift, a great gift, a magnificent gift. Kateri Tekakwitha, our saint of the day, was one of those saints — one of those wise and prudent virgins — who readily understood the greatness that was hers in the gift of virginity. Kateri chose virginity for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven, and thus received a crown of glory, adorned with many a lily white.
Today, let us pray for the grace to better understand the greatness of this gift. And let us pray that more men and women will set their hearts on the eternal ONE and ONLY, Jesus — that B-E-A-U-TIFUL God-man of ours — whose virginal life gives impetus for our own.