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The Celibacy Myth:Loving For Life: Part 4

Continuation of the outline of the book: The Celibacy Myth: Loving for Life; Charles A.Callagher and Thomas L. Vandenberg. St Paul Publications. England. 1987

This is an excellent book written mainly for Catholic priests but it has relevance for all celibates.

 Chapter3: Bachelor or Bridegroom?

A priest or Christian leader should not be described as a ‘man of God’ but a ‘man of God’s people’ and Celibacy is a way of loving for life” …When living in relationship with his people, his (i.e. the priest’s) basic human emotional needs for love, belonging and self-worth will be met.

The more we lose ourselves in love and move in self-giving, the more we find our identity as people. Marriages that are successful are not based on ‘my-need’ but on self-giving.  It is no good getting married for what is ‘in it for me’. ‘Give and it shall be given to you’ is a recipe for successful marriage i.e. you have to be the one who initiates the affirming and loving process. It is all too easy to compensate for lack of relationship by busyness, career etc. – and before you know it the relationship drifts apart.

Priests become leaders in order to express self-giving to the people of God. It is not a job, it is a relationship; the priest is taking a Bride.  As the priest offers himself totally up for his people, his own heart is filled. He does not think in terms of self-fulfilment but in terms of what he can give to the Bride. Celibacy can only be understood in terms of love commitment to the church – not in terms of what has to be sacrificed. A celibate’s needs are fulfilled among the people of God.

When a celibate senses a need in himself to be loved, he must reach out in love to his people. He must take responsibility for meeting his needs, and he does so by giving of himself.” As celibates we need not fear our negative feelings of loneliness and anger. They are God’s call to us – into a deeper relationship with His people. Priests must not compensate for unmet needs by being needlessly busy.

As celibates, we have to fight the independent spirit. It’s easy to withdraw and become aloof – especially when one’s self-esteem becomes low.  At such times, like a married man has to rekindle his love for his wife, a faint-hearted celibate “can choose to refocus his attention on his beloved people by loving beyond his hurts and disappointments. When his sense of self-esteem is wanting, a priest can remember that he is part of something bigger than himself and can choose to affirm, praise, and build up his spouse, the people of the church.”

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Posted by on Fri 22nd Feb 2013 in Books

 

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All The lonely People: Celibates And Christian Community

Malcolm Lisle from Sheffield comments on the UK’s lonely society and the need for Christian community – for everyone, celibates included.

The Beatles wrote a song entitled ‘All The Lonely People’:

 

Eleanor Rigby died in the church

And was buried alone with her name

Nobody came.

 

Father McKenzie wiping the dirt

From his hands as he walks from the grave.

No one was saved.

 

All the lonely people

Where do they all come from?

All the lonely people

Where do they all belong?

When I was a nurse I looked after an old lady who was very distressed because she had no surviving relatives. I said that I felt sorry for her and I would certainly notice when she wasn’t there anymore. But that is as much as a nurse is allowed to feel. We shouldn’t be callous. It is acceptable to feel sadness when a patient has died but running a busy hospital has to carry on and you can’t worry about it too much or you would be unable to do the job. Just imagine what it must feel like to come to the end or your life, and your only friend is a nursing assistant who is trying not to get too emotionally involved.

There are a lot of lonely people in the world today. I was walking down the street in Leeds when a woman asked to borrow my phone to call a taxi. She was a prostitute. I began to realise that the people she was calling weren’t professional taxi drivers. They were customers, who were simply willing to give her a lift in their cars, anywhere she wanted to go. You might move a long way from your family in order to find work. A prostitute might be your only friend.

In Christian community, the members of the church household become your family. I now have lots of children, lots of brothers, lots of sisters and a grandmother, even though my natural grandparents are now dead. It’s good to be with a church family for a long time so that you can watch the children grow up. The celibate needs community, to substitute for not having their own family. But isn’t it a good idea for everybody?

 
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Posted by on Wed 31st Oct 2012 in Snippets

 

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Celibacy – A passion burns within

Celibacy a passion burns within.
A loneliness that also stings
Like barbed wire that grips and rips into your clothes and won’t let go
It leaves its mark
Never the same as God’s tender hand takes you through a land
Of unsurrendered natural man
Each step you take there’s more pain as He crushes you like a rose
To release the beauty deep within, to smell the perfume released through suffering
It was for freedom that Christ set us free.
Stand firm and don’t submit again to that yoke of slavery
Love of Christ drives this gift
A willingness to pay the cost of lifetime singleness
So that others may find that greater gift of life, freedom and home in Christ.
They won’t just survive but learn to live through the sacrifice we give
Don’t get me wrong, tis not all dreary this celibacy
The call still rings clear. Set apart for Christ, His Church
What an honour to die to self and live for this is gain
A joy, a love, a passion burns deep within
Keeps the fire stoked always burning
Laughter, peace, real happiness
To find one’s place in this body of Christ

 
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Posted by on Thu 20th Sep 2012 in Poetry

 

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Celibate Heart: Married to Christ the Lamb

One of a selection of poems written by people in the Jesus Fellowship about celibacy

I have a gift which brings me joy,
Purchase of Jesus’ blood,
My life a sacrifice poured out
To build the church of God.

      A gift the Spirit keeps renewed,
      My soul knows one desire,
      To speak the power of Jesus Christ
      And bring revival fire.

            Always this gift I'll recognise,
            I pledge to Him again,
            My will, my heart, my all is His,
            "Married" to Christ the Lamb.

 New Creation Farm, Northamptonshire. 1994.
 
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Posted by on Fri 24th Aug 2012 in Poetry

 

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