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183. Meaning of State of Life

1. By a person's state we indicate somethingthat establishes him with some permanence in his position and laysupon him pertinent duties. A person's state is not somethingmainly external and readily changeable; rather it is somethinginternally recognized by intellect and embraced by will as lastingand in some measure binding. Thus, we do not speak of a man'sbeing rich or poor as his state; this is his condition.But we do speak of a man's state as his being married orsingle, priest or layman or religious.

2. It is suitable that within the Church there should bevarious states, each with its own duties. For the Church has avariety of activities, and her beauty of order requires a scale ofdifferent offices or states to see that these activities areexercised. Says St. Paul (Eph. 4:11, 12): "He gave (that is,appointed) some apostles, and some prophets, and other someevangelists, and other some pastors and doctors, for the perfectingof the saints."

3. States with their pertinent duties differ according tothe different activities assigned to each one. There is distinctionof states of perfection, and distinction of active duties, anddistinction of grades in each state and duty.

4. Among men who strive to cast off servitude to sin inorder to serve God in justice, we distinguish the three orders of:beginners; the proficient; the perfect.

"It is not God's will that we should abound in spiritual delights, but that in all things we should submit to his holy will."
Blessed Henry Suso

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"What good does it do to speak learnedly about the Trinity if, lacking humility, you displease the Trinity? Indeed it is not learning that makes a man holy and just, but a virtuous life makes him pleasing to God. "
Thomas á Kempis

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"The one thing necessary which Jesus spoke of to Martha and Mary consists in hearing the word of God and living by it."
R. Garrigou-Lagrange, OP

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