I must admit, I find that a strange question. No one assumes that when a man chooses to marry a woman, he is ipso facto not attracted to other beautiful women. How bizarre would that be! Marriage is not a rejection of beautiful women – a rather depressing way of looking at falling in love; on the contrary, marriage is the choosing of one woman to give yourself to faithfully.
Those who choose a life of celibacy do so not because we are not attracted to marriage. In fact, celibacy is a challenge precisely because we are attracted to marriage, just as marriage is a challenge because other women are still attractive.
So, if celibates are still attracted to marriage, why do they choose a life of celibacy? Those who choose a life of celibacy do so in response to God, first of all, who calls certain people to be consecrated to him in this life and to foreshadow eternal life to come – a real, spiritual marriage as it turns out.
But if celibacy is a true marriage, then who are they married to? In the book of Revelation, at the eternal banquet in Heaven sits the spouse of the celibate: the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. Of course, the celibate cannot physically embrace his bride, the Mystical Body of Christ (aka the Church), in this life, which is why living celibacy – or even understanding celibacy – is impossible without faith, which sees past the immediate into eternity. As Pope Francis is calling consecrated men and women to be prophets, let those who are consecrated point to the life in Heaven to come; and let those who are not consecrated see celibacy as a reminder that Heaven and the marriage with the Lamb await us after our pilgrimage on Earth.