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Seven Silver Rings: Seven Celibates Tell Their Story

seven silver ringsIn ‘Seven Silver Rings’ seven celibates from the Jesus Fellowship tell their very varied stories – why and how they chose celibacy, the trials and joys, the vision and outworking of the gift. The stories are interspersed with chapters on  topics such as the biblical foundation of celibacy, celibacy in history, celibacy today and some FAQ.

Here are some quotes from three of the contributors:

‘Celibacy is reckless in its devotion to God! It’s giving up the best and the first for stuartGod – not the leftovers.’ Stuart

‘Celibacy is an amazing gift of love that has the power to enhance all you do in living for Jesus. I have many heroines who have trod this way before me who have really inspired me – Mother Teresa, Basilea Schlink and St Teresa of AvilaVanessa amongst others. Their greatest influence upon me has been to show me the need for a consistent contemplative and prayer life that matches my service for God. This, for me, has been one of the real secrets of how I keep going and how I keep discovering more of Jesus. Prayer is the oxygen for my celibacy. If I stop communing with God, I die spiritually.’ Vanessa.

selina‘In my gifting as an evangelist I’ve found celibacy to be central, especially with messed-up young people. In many young people’s lives there has never been love without a price tag of some kind. I’m aware that when you’re a celibate there’s a quality to your love for people. This love is unconditional, centred upon them and shows respect, rather than fulfilling some need in yourself. Celibacy is not for yourself – it’s for others! Pouring out the love that is within is what fuels the celibate gifting. If you stop loving and being among people, the gift dies!’ Selina

A review of this book can be found on the Single Consecrated Life (SCL) website (Anglican).

http://singleconsecratedlife-anglican.org.uk/silver_rings_20.html

Partial copies of Seven Silver Rings are available on google books; full copies are available via Jesus Army website:http://www.jesus.org.uk/books

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Posted by on Fri 3rd May 2013 in Books

 

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The Mystery of Love For The Single: Fr.Dominic J. Unger

Lisa Gee Book review by Lisa Gee

“The Mystery Of Love For The Single.” Fr. Dominic J. Unger, O.F.M. Cap.

The sub-title is “A Guide for Those Who Follow The Single Vocation in the World.”

 First published in 1958. Republished by TAN BOOKS in 2005.

This book is unique because it speaks to singles that plan on living their lives in the world but remaining single for the kingdom. Some of the topics covered include:

  • The mystery of man’s love for God
  • The single vocation in the world
  • Spiritual nuptials through perfect chastity (one of my favourites)
  • The manner of dedication
  • Careers and home life
  • Some basic helps in safeguarding purity

Fr. Dominic writes of a joyful life for those choosing a celibate lifestyle: one that blesses the church, the world at large and the person living this call to the utmost. He writes, “One does great honour to God and, besides, such a vow to live chastely brings stability to one’s life and adds strength, psychologically”.  (P60)

mystery of loveIn most books about celibacy the bent is toward those in religious orders; this is not so with “The mystery of the love for the single”. From the first chapter to the end it speaks to modern people who come to this call in a variety of ways.  It gives practical advice such as for careers, housing and social life. The chapter on ‘manner of dedication’ is full of wisdom in taking this call step by step, recommending a temporary promise for the first year then evaluating one’s own heart before making a final promise. It supplies different prayers and ideas for the dedication.

The chapter on ‘safeguarding purity’ is most helpful.  A quote worth remembering is “moderation always”

Here are a few more quotes

 “The Heavenly Spouse cares with special solicitude for those who follow Him in virginal and perfect chastity, He protects them, consoles them, helps them, rejoices their hearts.” (P81)

  “Single people in the world are ..freer than priests and religious. They do not have to wait for the counsel or command of superiors before taking care of urgent works of mercy.” (P68)

“Precisely because such single men and women are so beneficial to the Church and are such a power for the church’s apostate do the heretics oppose them and persecute them.” (P39)

“All this excellence and reward of virginal and perfect chastity adds up to one thing: a life of genuine peace and joy already in this world, and of hope for even better things in the next.” (P94)

I am unsure if I am doing this book justice.  For me I was struggling in this calling, like walking in the dark, often feeling out of step with the world around me. Then I found this book which I almost didn’t buy because I didn’t like the cover!

I have re-read this book often and learn something new each time. I will end with what I wrote on the inside cover when I first finished it “A great book! A gift from God, the author of all that is good”

 
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Posted by on Tue 23rd Apr 2013 in Books

 

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The Celibacy Myth: Loving for Life: Book Outline: Part 2

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.

Chapter 1: Privation or Privilege

Christian celibates do not concentrate on what is to be  given up but on what is to be received and moved into. Celibacy is not a privation but a privilege.When people talk about celibacy they seem to view it as something negative e.g. abstaining from marriage, not having sex etc. but this is not a definition of what celibacy is.

Celibacy is about relationship – the relationship of a priest with his people. He is especially given over to his people in the way a married man is particularly given over to his wife and children.

Celibacy is nothing to do with ‘a job’ or even having more time for ‘the job’. It is far more than that. There must be a real quality and depth of relationship between a priest and his people – a relationship that is far more than doing the job. It is about commitment and a deep bonding with a people.

“Rather than being the operator of a spiritual filling station, a priest is more like the conductor of an orchestra who enables the talents of his people to emerge for the glory of God.”

 A priest does this because he is in communion with his people. A priest is not above his people, but is in the centre with them. He is like a father in a family; there is value in what he does for his people, but it cannot replace who he is with his people.

Celibacy must facilitate this relationship (between priest and people) and from that the Bocelibacy mythdy of Christ (the church) is built up.

This series, outline of ‘The Celibacy Myth’, to be continued.

 
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Posted by on Fri 8th Feb 2013 in Books

 

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Priceless Jewel in Soho: Mother Teresa exhibition

Nirmal Hriday, the home Mother Teresa established in 1952 to care for the poor of Calcutta

‘Celibacy’

Inspired by a visit to the Mother Teresa Exhibition in Soho Aug 2012

 by Sue Withers

Soho: place of flaunted sin and hidden shame; a strange setting, in your seedy streets, for a priceless jewel.

A gift bestowed on single-hearted lovers of their God and of the poor who stood out from the crowd.

Their selfless service a resplendent light from Heaven irradiating the darkness.

For these the celibate life enabled their devotion, and fuelled their passion.

They became the mothers and fathers who adopted the unwanted, unloved and untouchable of their generation.

Dare we aspire to follow them ?

 

 
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Posted by on Fri 28th Sep 2012 in Poetry

 

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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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Is celibacy for anyone or just a select few?

Gift of CelibacyAnyone, certainly, but not necessarily everyone.

The New Testament says that spiritual gifts are determined and given by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:11).

And yet we are also told to ‘eagerly desire the greater gifts’ (1 Cor. 12:31).

So gifts are given by God, but they are also to be desired and received by us. It’s a two-way operation.

So in that case, all spiritual gifts – healing, prophecy, tongues, intercession … and other gifts too – must surely be for anyone. They’re available to us all, if we so desire them.

I have found myself desiring particular spiritual gifts at different times throughout my Christian life; and then, some when down the line, I’ve been surprised to find that I’m using them! I’m sure God awakes in us the desire for certain gifts and that process is all part of him giving them to us.

It’s similar with the gift of celibacy.

Perhaps we find ourselves longing to give everything for the kingdom of God, longing for a close walk with God, longing to be like some of the celibates that we see around us, longing to be more fruitful. God awakes a longing in our heart for the things which celibacy embodies and – for those that dare – this is all part of receiving the gift. So in that sense, celibacy is for anyone. Although many will not choose it or receive it, it is available, even offered, to all.

Jesus said that only those to whom it had been given could accept that it’s better not to marry; but then he also said in the same breath that some would make themselves eunuchs (choose to stay single) for the sake of the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 19:10-12). So there’s a receiving of a gift in celibacy, but there’s also a very definite making of oneself celibate.

It would be wrong to say that celibacy is supposed to be for everyone – the Apostle Paul himself says that it is wrong to forbid people to marry (1 Tim. 4:1-4). However, I think it is right to say that it can be for anyone, whatever their age, race, sexual orientation, abilities or background.

The gift of celibacy is not for some kind of gifted, higher-class elite, but it’s open to be received, and enjoyed, by all.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

 
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Posted by on Wed 29th Aug 2012 in FAQ

 

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Quote – John Chrysostom: the gift

‘God does not refuse it [the gift of celibacy] to anyone who asks Him for it with fervour … this gift is granted to all those who wish for it and who ask for it.’

John Chrysostom 344? – 407

 
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Posted by on Tue 28th Aug 2012 in Quotes

 

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