So, how’s your love life these days? Mine’s AWESOME.
But, um… sister? You’re celibate. What do you mean, your love life?
Glad you asked. As it turns out, “Religious chastity is rooted in the commandment to love given to us by Jesus: ‘Love one another. Such as my love has been for you, so must your love be for each other (John 13:34). By vowing total chastity… We seek to make ourselves available to others in non-exclusive love and hope to give witness to the unconditional love of God.”
Although these lines are from the constitution of the Sinsinawa congregation, I’d be willing to bet the other CDN novices and directors have near-identical passages in their constitutions. It’s really a beautiful part of the document, and one that I’m coming to embrace in a deeper way. There's much more to celibacy than sacrifice, but that seems to be all many people can see at first.
Sure, celibacy does entail sacrifice. In discerning this life, I’m discerning saying no to a certain kind of intimacy, to having a life partner and children of my own, and even to a certain amount of autonomy. But is it all about “no?” NO!
Consecrated celibacy is mostly about yes. It is, first and foremost, a yes to God’s incomprehensible love for me. It’s a yes to responding to the needs of God’s beautiful and broken world, wherever that may take me. It’s a yes to the myriad relationships this life has to offer: friendship and sisterhood and community and…
|Sometimes celibacy is even a yes to looking ridiculous |
as you "Just Dance" with other young sistas.
The past few weeks have provided me with ample opportunity to reflect upon and experience the beauty of this yes. We attended a multi-day workshop on sexuality and celibacy, celebrated Valentine’s Day with some serious young nun fun, and celebrated Tet (Vietnamese New Year) in our community.
As I reflect on the richness of all these experiences, and I’m realizing more deeply just how freeing this life is for me. This doesn't hold true for everyone (which is cause for celebration, because life would be super boring without a variety of vocations), but in my case, I believe that religious life really does free me to love more abundantly and fruitfully. And in the end, isn't that all God asks of us?
|Speaking of abundant and fruitful… |
our Tet tree of blessings.