A CAREFUL guide points out many paths, that each may walk along the one which he prefers and considers suitable to himself, so long as he comes upon one by which he can reach the camp.
The path of virginity is good, but being high and steep requires the stronger wayfarers.
Good also is that of widowhood, not so difficult as the former, but being rocky and rough, it requires more cautious travellers.
Good too is that of marriage; being smooth and even it reaches the camp of the saints by a longer circuit. This way is taken by most.
There are then the rewards of virginity, there are the merits of widowhood, there is also a place for conjugal modesty. There are steps and advances in each and every virtue.
Stand therefore firm in your hearts, that no one overthrow you, that no one be able to make you fall.
The Apostle has taught us what it is “to stand,” that is what was said to Moses: “The place whereon thou standest is holy ground” (Exod 3:5); for no one stands unless he stand by faith, unless he stands fixed in the determination of his own heart.
In another place also we read: “But do thou stand here with Me” (Deut 5:31). Each sentence was spoken by the Lord to Moses, both “Where thou standest is holy ground,” and “Stand here with Me,” that is, thou standest with Me, if thou stand firm in the Church. For the very place is holy, the very ground is fruitful with sanctity and fertile with harvests of virtues.
St Ambrose, Bishop of Milan (+ April 4, 397). Epistle LXIII: To the Church at Vercellæ. From CCEL.
GRANT then rich harvest, so that, having all sufficiency for themselves, they may overflow into every good work that is also well-pleasing to you, and that they may see their children’s children like newly planted olive trees all around their table. And, having been well pleasing to you, may they shine like beacons in heaven, in you our Lord, to whom belong all glory might, honour and worship, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages.
Crowning. Translation from Anastasis.