This is certainly not a popular word in our time. It is ridiculed and thought to be "unhealthy" or "abnormal". And when there is contempt for virginity, contempt for marriage arises as well. Children are exposed to such thoughts from a very early age, sometimes at home or at school or through the medias. Once thoughts about sexuality have been distorted, it can be difficult to correct and lead to painful experiences.
At a time when marriage is under direct attack, I wonder if one of the root of the problem is the general disregard for virginity, even in the catholic world.
Virginity before entering marriage, but also virginity for the sake of the Kingdom. It is good to be reminded that consecrated virginity is objectively a higher vocation than matrimony (this does not make marriage "evil" and if it is the vocation to which we are called it is the best vocation for us).
A multitude of saints chose this state of life, with for example Our Lord and Our Lady. By the sacrifice they make in renouncing matrimony, they are witnesses to the Lord as our Bridegroom, to our hope of union with God for eternity, where marriage as it is known here will no longer exists. It helps us to see matrimony in its rightful perspective, for chastity is a call for everybody. Let us foster chastity, purity and great regard for virginity in our homes and let us not forget, for those who have fallen, the Mercy of Our Lord, always.
St. Aloysius Gonzagua (1568-1591) was known for his purity and his penances. He made a private vow of chastity at the age of 9 years old. His time was no less scandalous than ours, he just persevered through prayer and penance in offering his virginity to God. He is a patron saints for teenagers, this difficult time when pressure from the world, especially concerning sexuality can be hard to withstand. Today is his feast day.
"Father of love, giver of all good things, in Saint Aloysius you combined remarkable innocence with the spirit of penance. By the help of his prayers may we who have not followed his innocence follow his example of penance. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives, and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God , for ever and ever."
Collect for the Feast of St. Aloysius