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Suarez says: "It is clear that married persons are in the common condition of the Christian life. For, in reference to the spiritual life, marriage, of itself, adds nothing to the general state of the faithful ; and it calls for no further perfection than what is essential to charity, and what the profession of the Christian religion demands. Indeed, among married persons, there may be a high degree of holiness and good works ; yet their state does not make that high degree imperative, nor does it offer any special assistance for its attainment. It is, therefore, called an imperfect state ; not that it debars from perfection, but because, in itself, it does not impel to perfection."[1] "If, in the Church of Christ, it receives from its character, as sacrament, a certain measure of perfection, all it gains from that dignity is greater stability and more abundant grace to surmount with generosity the difficulties and dangers that surround it."[2] The learned theologian adds: "The faithful, not engaged in the married state, or who have entered no perfect state, are not to be shut out from the general state of the Christian life. Nor among them are to be ranked those who, in the world, live in celibacy, virginity, or widowhood." We shall consider, one after the other, these different conditions of Christian life.

  1. Suar v lib. i, c. ii, n. 13. f Ibid., n. 14.
  2. Ibid., n. 14.