But he said unto them,
All men cannot receive this saying, only they to whom it is given.
Read Chapter 19
Cornelius a Lapide
To whom it is given: Arabic, those who are given, viz, to God and continence. So in Religious Orders those who are converted are called given, i.e, to religion.
Do not receive: Origen and Nazianzen (Orat31.) translate Î§Ï‰ÏÎ¿Ï…ÌƒÏƒÎ¹ are not capable. And by capacity they mean a natural inclination to celibacy, which all have not. But it is better to translate with the Vulgate do not receive, or contain. As it were, narrow vessels do not receive into them, do not embrace so arduous a counsel as that of celibacy, but only those to whom is given by God this great gift of continency. Where observe, although all the faithful may not have the gift of continency, so that they have continence in Acts , as all the just have not the gift of perseverance, by which they actually persevere in justice, yet all the just have the gift of perseverance in such sense, that they may, if they will, persevere in God"s grace. Thus in like manner all the faithful have the gift of continence in the first ins...
All receive not this word. To translate all cannot take, or cannot receive this word, is neither conformable to the Latin nor Greek text. To be able to live singly, and chastely, is given to every one that asketh, and prayeth for the grace of God to enable him to live so. (Witham)
Jesus Christ takes occasion from the remark of the Pharisees to praise holy virginity, which he represents as a great and good gift of heaven; and such it has ever been considered in the eye of true and genuine religion. Hence it appears that besides commandments, there are evangelical counsels, to the observance of which it is both lawful and meritorious for a Christian to devote himself, especially for the purpose of employing himself with greater liberty and less encumbrance in the service of his God.
Our Lord does not approve of the conclusion his disciples drew from his doctrine on the indissolubility of marriage, lest he should seem to condemn matrimony both good and necessary; neither does he reprove...
But what is, If such be the case of a man with his wife? That is, if to this end he is joined with her, that they should be one, or, on the other hand, if the man shall get to himself blame for these things, and always transgresses by putting away, it were easier to fight against natural desire and against one's self, than against a wicked woman.
What then says Christ? He said not, yea, it is easier, and so do, lest they should suppose that the thing is a law; but He subjoined, Not all men receive it, but they to whom it is given, Matthew 19:11 raising the thing, and showing that it is great, and in this way drawing them on, and urging them.
Since the disciples had said that it would be better not to enter into marriage, the Lord says that virginity is a great thing but not everyone can achieve it, but only those with whom God acts in synergy. "They to whom it is given" refers to those with whom God acts in synergy. It is given to those who ask. For He says, "Ask, and it shall be given you. For everyone that asketh receiveth" (Lk. 11:9).