A misunderstood lifestyle
Many in the world today, and even in the Church, do not understand the gift of celibacy. It can seem like a foreign, unhealthy concept. Even many celibates are floundering in their understanding of it. But in reality, it is the lifestyle chosen by one who has found the “pearl of great price” and wants to go and sell all he has to buy it.
The giving up of an intimate marital relationship with another creature, which includes a life of sexual intimacy, is only in order to open one’s heart and life to the more that is available to those who so choose. And, this more is none other than a life of deep communion, espousal union, with our Divine Savior and Bridegroom.
“Blessed are those who do not see but believe (Jn 20:29),” Jesus tells us through St. Thomas. Our Redeemer is truly alive and in our midst, and He is the most perfect of lovers in every way. If one has the eyes to see and the ears to hear in the spiritual realm, they will also have the heart that is open to experience a deep communion with the “Word made flesh.”
“Were not our hearts burning within us as he spoke to us on the way (Lk 28:32),” Said one of the disciples from Emmaus. And, this is precisely what takes place within us as we come to recognize and encounter Jesus in our midst. He is alive and dwelling among us, and He is Divine Love. He alone is the one who helps us to know our true dignity and identity as “children of God(1 Jn 3:2).”
To the degree that we open our hearts and lives and encounter Him, is to the degree that we will find happiness, fulfillment, purpose and contentment in this life… and of course the next.
“The Kingdom of God is at hand (Mat 3:2)!” This means, it is here in our midst, but it is up to us to open up to its reality; because, also, the kingdom of the prince of darkness is at hand. And, this false prince is constantly out to deceive us and distract us from the reality of God’s Kingdom of love, light and truth. Do we ever feel depressed, discouraged, negative about ourselves? This is a direct fruit of the work of the evil one. This is why we are called to put on the “armor of God” spoken of in Ephesians 6.
Jesus has already won the victory, but it is up to us to open our hearts and lives to this reality. God only knocks and invites us into His Truth. He gives us free will to choose who we want to believe and follow.
I realize that many have possibly had negative experiences with so called Christians who can seem hypocritical and not genuine in their faith life. And, the truth is, we live in a world filled with very broken people. We are all wounded in various ways. And, we can only reflect God’s love, light and truth to the degree that we have truly received it deeply into our own hearts and lives. We as Christians are called to a life of holiness and wholeness. And, this is a process.
It is a path that requires humility and an honest acknowledgement of our brokenness and need for healing.
Those who have chosen the celibate life “for the Kingdom,” are meant to be a sign to everyone that there is so much more awaiting us, not only in the life to come, but we can begin to experience it now. As one who is living a celibate life for Jesus, I have a hard time containing myself when I think of what we all have available to us. Jesus, our Divine Redeemer, is truly alive and in our midst and He knocks at the door of the heart of each and every person alive, no matter what their belief or what they have done; because He loves each of us with a love so deep and profound, we can’t fully comprehend it in this life. Each one of us matters greatly to Jesus, and is of utmost importance to Him.
May we all have the grace to invite Him ever deeper into our hearts and lives; not just into the living room, but gradually into every room, every area and situation that surfaces each day. For this is how our healing and redemption takes place.
And, may the Virgin Mary, whose whole heart and life were fully disposed and receptive to Jesus, inspire us with this same openness (Lk 1:38).