ayc-p I’ve been reading this wonderful book for a couple weeks now, a couple of paragraphs at a time, thinking, meditating, praying… Is this what You want of me, Lord? It seems as if I’ve reached a time where I must ask that question. It’s not what I want, it’s not what I’ve ever wanted, it still seems a bizarre and upside-down sort of life.

But I felt I had to ask. I felt I owe God that much, to be willing to look at it, examine it, consider it.

What I’ve learned is that the celibate life, deliberately chosen as a vocation, in response to a call from God, is an incredibly rich and even an extravagant love for Christ. The energy of self-donation that we practice in marriage and family life all goes to Him – we pour ourselves out for God as iberally as the woman who poured perfume on His feet and wiped them with her hair – that sort of extravagant.

I almost envy people who have the celibate vocation – for their ability to love God wholly, without needing human spousal love, family – who can see Him in all those capacities and give themselves wholly over to live only for Him. It is such a noble and heroic vocation…

But I still feel as if I’m on the outside looking in. I no longer feel condemned to be single, as I’ve felt in the past. Nor do I feel excluded from the blessings and consolations I’ve always associated with the married vocation. I feel rather suspended in time and space just now – not vocationally single, but not married either – wondering what God has for me, and how I can live so that my character, my heart, my life, are more fully conformed to Him.

5 thoughts on “Celibacy?

  1. Sounds like a good read Laura. Thank you for sharing about yourself so openly, what a gift to be able to share so freely, I really struggle with that and hope to overcome it and put my feelings in words. God bless you

  2. I might give that book a look. As a 56 year old perpetually single woman I have been told more times than I care to think, that God chose to keep me single so I could work more fully for God.
    (I work for a parish) sort of like a vocation of being single.

    Well, thats nice but I don’t feel that way at all. Nor do I think our church knows what to do with single people who are not married nor consecrated. I

    Thank you for sharing.

  3. Connie,
    I haven’t had time to blog about it, but on Friday I was privileged to witness my friend Melonie’s first, temporary vows as a professed eremitic. I had not idea! until we met, that there is even a contemporary hermit tradition. I’m seriously inquiring of God whether this is also my own Vocation –

    We’ll have to help one another, yes? Oh, I’m glad you posted!

  4. Hello! I am that eremitic Melonie Laura mentions in her post above, and I’m stopping by to drop off links to some highly informational reading for anyone who is interested in learning more about vocations to religious life (in general, in the document Vita Consecrata http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_jp-ii_exh_25031996_vita-consecrata_en.html ) and more specifically the vocation to eremitic life as a consecrated hermit http://eremiticsofstaugustine.com/

    I recommend a thorough reading of Vita Consecrata — but for anyone who wishes to scroll immediately to the salient points, find the subheading entitled “The Order of Virgins; hermits and widows

    The Eremitics of St Augustine site is that of my spiritual mother, Sister Sheila Richardson, ESA. She is a lawyer and canon Judge, and is working in the Diocese of Charlotte to help establish diocesan norms for life as a consecrated eremitic.

    Let us prefer nothing to the love of Christ!
    Pax Christi,

  5. Laura, I have this book. In fact I recently picked it up in order to have some words of wisdom for a friend and some things they are going through. It is a wonderful help in discerning vocation. My favorite part is the chapter that discusses holy friendships between men and women Saints, and how everyone of us need intimacy and close friendship in our lives.

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