Celibacy steeped in a whole lot of love
Valentine’s Day had author Sister Sarah Hennessey, F.S.P.A. thinking about her commitment to consecrated celibacy. In a world preoccupied with romantic relationships and sexuality, what does it mean to give that part of one’s self to Christ? (Photo: Element5 Digital on Unsplash)
A RECENT Valentine’s Day got me thinking about my own commitment to consecrated celibacy. In a world preoccupied with romantic relationships and sexuality, what does it mean to give that part of myself to Christ? For one thing, I realize my celibacy is steeped in a whole lot of love.
I have been living religious life for 17 years now, and my walk with celibacy has changed. When I was first considering life as a Catholic sister, I met a wise, older sister who told me that I would struggle with each of the vows of poverty, obedience, and consecrated celibacy in their own time. So far she has been right. Just when I thought I was totally comfortable in these vows, life changed and caused me to look at them in a new light. I made vows for a lifetime, but live them out day by day. Consciously or not, every day I choose to be a religious sister; I choose to be celibate.
For me celibacy is about relationship: my relationship with Christ and consequently the shaping of my relationship with everyone else in my life. I love fiercely. I am madly in love with Christ, but I also love like crazy my sisters in community, my friends, and my family. And yes, sometimes I am attracted to someone. Sometimes I find myself riding that wave of emotion on the inside and c