Monday, February 13, 2012

Social, Sexual, Spiritual

One more week of ordinary time until Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. Until then, it is an ordinary week at St. Michael Friary.

We have resumed our study of Catholic social thought, today taking in the historical context of the present period, beginning with around 1959 with Pope John XXIII. The postulants are presenting their assigned documents in chronological order. I will give my presentation on Economic Justice for All on Thursday.

Last Wednesday the postulants had their most recent conference in occasional series on celibacy. Our formator gave us several articles to read at our leisure about celibate sexuality, its centrality to our identity as religious, its place in the Church, and its value in building intimacy and community. I am treating these articles as spiritual reading, because as one of the authors argues, sexuality is at the heart of our spirituality, and the spiritual life is at the heart of authentic celibate chastity. A good thought for aspiring celibates on Valentine's Day!

The older I get, the more I want to talk about celibacy. I interpret this as a good sign -- I am growing more and more comfortable with my expression of sexuality. At this moment I feel as good as I ever have about this choice, which I make not only for my self-fulfillment, but also for God's sake, and for the sake of being a true brother in Christ to my neighbor. Up to now, I have opted not to speak about sexuality unless asked about it, because it would seem immodest and unseemly to do so. However, in the future, I would like to find ways to start conversations about celibate sexuality. I would like to become less shy about a way of life that, day by day, grows more rich and rewarding, peace-giving and spirit-filling. And, at bottom, creative, intimate, and love-filled.

Maybe writing more about celibacy as spirituality as well as sexuality would be a good start. Maybe I'll be so inspired this week! If not, rest assured this is not the last word I'll give on this subject.

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