Saturday, December 4, 2010

Fidelity In Chastity

Today "men and women experience their sexuality as a gift which enables them to express intimate love and commitment." There remain, however, questions and doubts "about the meaning and value of priestly or religious chastity." 
Though challenges exist, the Jesuits of GC 34 remain convinced that "fidelity in chastity characterizes the life of the Society today" as it did so in the past by God's goodness. 
For Ignatius, members of the Society are "rooted in a fundamental detachment and a determination to serve God totally" made possible by a deeply personal love for Christ.
Jesuits are called to "embody in his life that singleness of vision and readiness for mission which is the Ignatian understanding of the angels." 
Jesuits are called to this gift of God to a discipleship and renunciation in freedom for the universal charity of God towards all men and women. Consecration to God through chastity witnesses to Christ's comprehensive engagement of human beings. It is a prophetic reminder of our eternal life with God. 
Chastity is, therefore, essentially apostolic. Chastity reinforces the value of marriage. "Both point to a love and fidelity deeper than sexual expression and of which Christian marriage and religious chastity are divergent and sacred realizations." 
Human love freely offered to all is a powerful sign leading others to God. Thus, the Jesuit lives in radical apostolic availability. The vow of chastity "arises from and is based upon a conscious and free decision under grace." 
For the Jesuit, this "vow entails the obligation of complete continence in celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven." 
The loss of conjugal intimacy, denying himself a family and affective bonding are painful choices for the Jesuit. Other joys are possible but cannot remove all of the void. He lives in a solitude that can be both desert and cross. The poverty that flows from the vow of chastity completes and fulfills his life but it comes at a great cost. 
Link (here) to read the full text on Ignatian chastity from the decrees of the GC34

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