One Minute Reflection – 5 February – St Agatha (c 231- c 251) Virgin and Martyr – 1 Corinthians 1:26-31, Matthew 19:3-12
“For there are eunuchs who were born so, from their mother’s womb and there are eunuchs who were made so, by men and there are eunuchs who have made themselves so, for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let him accept it who can..” – Matthew 19:12.
REFLECTION – “There are three kinds of eunuchs, two carnal and the third spiritual. One group are those who are born this way. Another are those who are made into eunuchs by captivity or for pleasuring older women. The third are those who “have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven” and who become eunuchs for Christ, although they could be whole men. The last group are promised the reward. The other two, for whom chastity is not a matter of willing but necessity, are due nothing at all. We can put it another way. There are eunuchs from birth, who are of a rather frigid nature and not inclined to lust. There are others, who are made eunuchs by men, those who are made so by philosophers, others who are made weak toward sex from their worship of idols and still others, who by heretical persuasion feign chastity, so as to falsely claim the truth of religion. None of the above is receptive to the Kingdom of Heaven.
Only the person, who for Christ, seeks chastity wholeheartedly and cuts off sexual impurity altogether, [is the genuine eunuch]. So he adds, “He who is able to receive this, let him receive it,” so that each of us should look to his own strength, as to whether he can carry out the commands of virginity and chastity. Chastity in itself is agreeable and alluring but one must look to one’s strength, so that “he who is able to receive this may receive it.” It is as if the Lord with His words, were urging on His soldiers to the reward of chastity, with these words – He who is able to receive this, let him receive it; he who is able to fight, let him fight and conquer.” – St Jerome (343-420) Translator of Sacred Scripture (the Vulgate), Father and one of the original four Doctors of the Latin Church (Commentary on Matthew 3).
PRAYER – O God, Who among other wonders of Your power have given the victory of martyrdom even to the gentler sex, graciously grant that we, who commemorate the anniversary of the death of blessed Agatha, Your Virgin and Martyr, may come to You by following her example. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).