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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.

"God commands not impossibilities, but by commanding he suggests to you to do what you can, to ask for what is beyond your strength; and he helps you, that you may be able."
St Augustine

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"Obedience is the true holocaust which we sacrifice to God on the altar of our hearts."
St Philip Neri

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"To think of oneself as nothing, and always to think well and highly of others is the best and most perfect wisdom. Wherefore, if you see another sin openly or commit a serious crime, do not consider yourself better, for you do not know how long you can remain in good estate. All men are frail, but you must admit that none is more frail than yourself. "
Thomas á Kempis

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