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Celibate Chastity - an Affair of the Heart

 

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New Article by Brother Seán Sammon, Superior General

02/01/2009: General House

Brother Seán Sammon, Superior General of the Marist Brothers, has written an article for the November issue of the periodical, Vie Religieuse, published by the Claretian Missionaries. The title of the article is “Celibate Chastity – an Affair of the Heart.” With an expert’s insight on the topic of sexuality and religious life, Brother Seán once again approaches the topic of chastity in the lives of male and female religious, and he does so in a simple and practical manner that stays close to life.

For the Marist Brothers, treating the topic is a way of emphasizing an aspect of Institute leadership related to a theme developed over the past year, which was called the “Year of Marist Spirituality.” Brother Seán writes, “Spirituality …, is, without excep-tion, the most important” characteristic that marks a life of celibate chastity, because, “to be well lived, a person’s celibate chastity must be rooted deeply in the spiritual life.” The rest of the article is devoted to discussing spirituality and its central place in the lives of those who aspire to a life of celibate chastity.

When Brother Seán states that “spirituality lies at the heart of any life of celibate chastity,” he is suggesting - drawing upon ideas of Ronald Rolheiser and Timothy Radcliffe - that spirituality has more to do “with the unquenchable fire that burns within each of us than with pious practices. Growth in the spiritual life is, more than anything else, a process of creatively disciplining the fiery energy – or passion – that flows through us. And what gives us the courage to undertake this task? The fact that our hunger and thirst for God far exceed our selfishness and greed.” Chastity is, therefore, a passionate heart at work.

Continuing his theme, Brother Seán then reviews the various roads that people have traveled in the process of becoming spiritual persons in an authentic way. He comments that “we need to remain open to the spiritual awakenings that take place in our lives” and to pay the price of making a personal commitment to the Lord. “Our Christian life, at its heart, is all about a relationship with Jesus. That relationship is the solution to our restlessness. It is also the place that must be at the centre of my life of celibate chastity.”

In concluding his reflections, Brother Seán claims that “some people who choose a life of celibate chastity are judged as being somewhat naïve and foolish. If truth be told, embracing a life of celibate chastity is both naïve and foolish. Naïve, because the choice defies social convention; foolish because to embrace and life well a life of celibate chastity leads inevitably to a revolution of the heart.”

(To receive the periodical, Vie Religieuse, contact pcl@planalfa.es.)
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Text in French - Word 80 kb

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