Where there is no love pour love in and you will draw love out – St John Of The Cross
Category Archives: Quotes
“By their purity of purpose, these women have overcome their vain, empty unpredictable desires. Through their passionate love for the true Son, they have ascended to that level beyond the confines of prescribed laws and now they breathe a new air, an air pure beyond the clarity of the purest water; and they shine with radiance beyond the radiant glory of the sun. In the green life of their virginity and in the blossoming of body and spirit, these women have revealed their sweetest longings. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, they have been filled with the fragrance and power of many virtues. And now they feel the breath of a new air, air that breathes the fresh green force of all the herbs and flowers of earth and paradise; air that is filled with the fragrance of life-giving power, just as the summer is filled with the perfume of green plants and flowers.” (The Wisdom of Hildegard of Bingen)
It’s easy to be cynical of words like this: the medieval way of thinking is certainly quite distant from our own. But aren’t they positive, reaching upwards and not inwards, revealing the need to live supernaturally, in touch with God? Don’t they paint a picture of celibates fulfilled in their union with God and satiated by the life He brings?
Hildegard thought green … abundant, verdant, well-watered, God-breathed life … O to feel the breath of a new, pure air, air that breathes the fresh green force .. air filled with life-giving power ... the Holy Spirit. How we need Him and the abundant life He brings!
A celibate’s love is freed from commitment to one or a few people and so is opened to all. Not only can he better love the Lord; he can also better love and serve all whom God loves. With greater ease he prays for all and gives himself to the apostolic work that the Lord Himself would want to do for them.
Paul Conner. Celibate Love. Sheed & Ward, London 1979.
Paul Conner is currently Associate Professor of Theology at Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island, USA.
‘The fact that some feel called to remain single for the sake of Jesus points to a special act of love and is a sign of an undivided heart … The undividedness with which a person gives up everything for Jesus brings about a special relationship to Him. Such a person suffers for the sake of Jesus because the soul wants to be like Him in all things …’
Heini Arnold, 1977
In the Image of God – Marriage and Chastity in Christian Life
‘I cannot, in conscience, love a creature with the love of a woman for a man. I no longer have the right to give that affection to any other creature but God.’
Mother Teresa 1910-1997
‘The root and flower of celibacy is a crucified life.’
John Chrysostom 344? – 407