Religious Celibacy and Community Life


Religious Celibacy is better lived in the community. “Because religious community is a school of love (Schola Amoris) which helps one grow in love for God and for one’s brothers and sisters, it is also a place for human growth.”[1] Community life must be fostered and deepened to allow space and growth for each member and to develop to its fullest their capacity to become fecund for the sake of the Kingdom of God.[2]

Religious community becomes a concrete place and a training ground where a celibate can better incarnate, express, and live God’s commandment of love,[3] “Love God with all your heart…and love your neighbour as you love yourself,” (Mat. 22: 37- 39). “Love one another as I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another” (Jn. 13: 34-35). It is where the value of religious chastity as a sign becomes very expressive dynamic, and alive. Religious community as a gift/charism is a sign of a Trinitarian communion, an ecclesial communion, a place for becoming brothers and sisters. It also becomes the place and subject of mission. Religious community invites the religious to be a sign of unity. Our highest vocation is “to enter into communion with God and with our brothers and sisters.”[4] Through a common life, celibates share in Trinitarian communion, which can change human relationship and create a new type of solidarity. This unity gives them a new identity of being one and multiple at the same time like the mystery of the Triune God. Christianity has always believed that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Trinity is three distinct Persons who are One God in communion, relation, and love. “Consecrated person’s life is for God and from God, and precisely for this reason they are able to bear witness to the reconciling power of grace, which overcomes the division tendencies present in the human heart and society.”[5] Hence, the vow of Celibacy also calls for an integrity of behaviour.[6]

[1] Fraternal Life in Community, 35.
[2] The Rule & The Constitution of the “Missionaries of Jesus”, Constitution of Missionaries of Jesus: ‘Our Inner Spirit,’ Chapter III, Article 8.
[3] The Rule & The Constitution of the “Missionaries of Jesus”, Constitution of Missionaries of Jesus: ‘Our Inner Spirit’ – A burning Love, Chapter III, Article 9, i & ii.
[4] Fraternal Life In Community.
[5] Vita Consecrata, 41 b.
[6] E. Blais, Consecrated Celibacy, ibid., p. 150.

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