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Giving the best

You know the saying “saving your best till last?”

Well I’m not the kind of girl to keep the my favourite part of the meal until the end, oh no not me. More the “guzzle it just as soon as possible” (in a polite manner of course)’ kind of girl. However, occasionally I have given my last Rollo away.
the lake

Recently when wandering along the shores of Lady Bower Reservoir at some early bird time in the morning, I was aware of many of my lacks and needs. The need for a bigger heart of love, more energy to do and give, more patience, the list goes on.

Surely though, God, our Heavenly Father, just wants our love? Our childlike, trusting, faith filled, delighted, grateful love?

In deciding to remain single for Jesus, to invest who I am and what I have in serving Him and His church, I realise that I have given him the cream of the milk, the best in my heart. My most intimate and secret love in my heart is wasted on Him. It may be a little strained at times, it may feel like it is falling short or not making the grade, but it is all I have.

God spoke back to me in the fullness of my heart. I know complete fulfillment and contentment deep inside. He has my best, I have His love and smile.

 
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Posted by on Fri 10th May 2013 in Snippets, Uncategorized

 

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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 Celibacy Myth: Loving For Life: Part 5

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.

Chapter 5: Contract or Covenant?celibacy myth

Callagher and Vandenberg tell us that it is not the job a priest does that is important so much as who he is and how much he loves. It is not a contract that unites the priest with his congregation but rather a covenant of love (in the same way that marriage is a covenant of love and not just a contract).

We must look at the way Jesus treated His disciples and follow Him.

“I am in your midst as one who serves you (Luke 22:28).

“I call you friends (John 15:15).

Relationships were of great importance to the apostle Paul. It is love that must be central to the life of a priest.

Being faithful in marriage is not just about abstaining from sex with another person. It is something positive, a real giving of one’s self to one’s partner with enjoyment. Celibacy is the same – it is something positive, a gift lived out with joy.  It is delight in one’s people. It, like a faithful marriage, goes far beyond duty. Celibacy should not be a burden.

Chapter 6: Fellowship or Communion

We can have intimacy in relationships without sex. “Intimacy involves … the willingness to disclose oneself to others, to become somewhat vulnerable by being honest about one’s self … and a willingness to let others become a part of and an influence on one’s own life.” Joseph Bernardin: Towards a Spirituality of Marital Intimacy. Origins 10/18 (16 Oct 1980).

Living celibacy, then, like living marriage, requires constant effort. There is nothing automatic about it.”

 Sometimes it is easier to pour out love than to receive love: “When he is loving, it is on his terms; he is in control. But when he is receiving love, he must give up control and allow his people to love him on their terms.” We must receive love in order to live out our celibate gifting and be there for the people. Jesus said to Peter, ‘Do you love Me?’ It was important for Him to feel loved. We too, must allow ourselves to be loved.

The role of leadership in the Church is to love purely and to bring about a greater brotherhood amongst the people of God. It is from the love-communion between God’s people that the mission of the Church must flow. Celibacy must be a catalyst for a stronger church-brotherhood, a living communion of people that love.

Just as a married man must evaluate his success as a husband in terms of how happy his wife is, a celibate priest must evaluate his success as a celibate in terms of how happy his people are.” A priest who loves will bring out both goodness and joy in his people. Celibacy is not about heroism and self-sacrifice so much as about belonging to a people, a belonging that is characterized by warmth and tenderness. Those who are full of love will always make others feel good about themselves.

Celibates need a love relationship – with the people of God. Celibacy is all about loving a people and that takes self-giving and hard work. The people must sustain a priest’s celibacy by loving him too.

“In a very real way, their (God’s people) priest’s ability to live celibacy is in their hands.”

 
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Posted by on Fri 29th Mar 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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A Celibate’s Love – Love and Serve All Whom God Loves

connerpaul_2006tnA 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.

 
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Posted by on Thu 6th Dec 2012 in Quotes

 

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Flexible, Outpoured Life: Let God Choose

Let God choose …

Ruth Dowling made a commitment to celibacy when she was 24 and is now 53. She lives at ‘Spreading Flame,’ a Jesus Fellowship community house in London. For the last twenty five years Ruth has suffered from ME and has been unable to work for most of the time. However, she has fulfilled a somewhat hidden but vital ministry of prayer, befriending and encouragement. Let God choose …

Here are some of her thoughts:

“The fruit of a commitment to celibacy must be a flexible, outpoured life – let God choose what that means. As GD Watson writes: “It is a flexible spirit with no plans of its own” (The Inner Spirit of the Cross).

“It isn’t a good idea to become celibate only in order to fulfil a specific ministry because your ministry may well change with time.

“Most importantly, celibacy is about loving, about being devoted to the Lord and the brethren and those we seek to serve.”

 
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Posted by on Thu 22nd Nov 2012 in Interviews

 

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Living life to love

A friend of mine suggested I post some words to a song I wrote recently.  The first bits that came were a few chords, a rhythm and some wo o o o o’s, but a few days later I got thinking…  Both my parents are in their 70s now and before long I’ll be hitting 40. I suddenly started to grasp just how short our life on Planet Earth is and felt so grateful for knowing God in my life.  It also made me want to give my best for the next 40 years or so, as it’s the only chance I’ve got and there’s the whole of eternity to enjoy.  So, here they are…(without the wo o o o o’s)

Flowers fade, but Your love remains; we’re growing older, but You stay the same.

Time’s passing by like the blink of an eye; want to give us my life for others God.

We’ve only got one life to live and there’s and endless stream of love to give.

When I die, my life has passed me by, I want to say that I walked with You my Lord.

Each passing day, help me to live Your way, so I’m storing some treasure up above.

We’ve only got one life to live and there’s an endless stream of love to give.

When we stand there, New Earth’s breezes in our hair, a perfect bride at Your side;

Round us there’ll be those we helped to be free.  They’ll be weaving together worship harmonies.

We’ve only got one life to live and there’s an endless stream of love to give.

So let’s give it!

 
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Posted by on Tue 30th Oct 2012 in Snippets

 

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