Missionary and Apostolic Dimension of Religious Celibacy

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As Jesus assumed celibate chastity for the sake of the Kingdom (Mt 19: 12), so must His followers who are gifted with this particular charism. Like any other vows, consecrated chastity has also a missionary dimension.  “For the sake of the Kingdom, Jesus created a community around Him. For the sake of the Kingdom he and His community put themselves at the service of all people, especially that of the neediest. The celibacy for which Jesus opted qualified His style of mission.”[1]

The mission of Jesus was not carried out alone by Himself but in communion with all the members of His mystical body. We are His extended body consecrated for the sake of God’s Kingdom. We adapt His lifestyle and missionary spirit. Like Jesus, religious vowed to Consecrated Celibacy must also bear the marks which Jesus bore in His very flesh; these are the marks of His commitment to love. Love was the sole reason of His birth and the sole reason of His death. Love is a very powerful force that brings everybody into one single family of God. It is love that enables us to become courageous people of our time who announce and proclaim to all humankind the goodness and the Parenthood of God and who denounce the “excessive and discriminatory society and the affective marginalization to millions of human persons are submitted.”[2] Following the chaste and celibate Jesus is a “form of availability to work, in the midst of risks, for justice, love, peace and fraternity: for the great values of the Kingdom. It is a sign and source of deeply committed and universal fraternity.”[3]

Just as life of poverty brought Jesus closer to the poorest of the poor, so celibacy brought Him closer to the lonely of this world. Thus, through the Person of Jesus, one of the unhappy situations of humankind, aloneness could be incorporated into the Kingdom of His Abba. Through His celibacy, Jesus proclaimed that every man and woman, without excluding absolutely anyone, and especially those who were most alone on earth, were called to form the unique family of the children of God.[4] Virginal love for the Kingdom (Lk 1: 38) must inspire religious towards actions and initiatives of a striking generosity on behalf of the lonely and the abandoned. It is manifested in the missionary and diaconal caring of men and women who are not afraid of losing their life for others, who are not overly concerned with preserving it. It is a love, a life totally offered as a holocaust to God for life.[5]

Consecrated Celibacy is a call, a gift and charism, and a task. It is a call initiated by God the Father to follow His Son Jesus Christ, who is chaste, through the power of the Holy Spirit. “Through it the Spirit conforms us to the virginity/chastity of Jesus Christ; it brings us to ‘re-present in the Church’ the virginal/chaste lifestyle of Christ Jesus”.[6] As a charism, “it is a grace/gift given to an individual for the sake of the community. Of its nature, it is a call to service of others in some way”.[7] It is also a gift to be valued since it is not given to all but only to whomever God wills and however, He wills. As a task, it needs the collaboration of the one called. It is an unfinished project, which needs a human cooperation. “It is a gift in germinal stage that does not unfold without the collaboration of freedom. The Spirit, who grants the gift of chastity/virginity without human initiative, does not bring to its fullness without free human collaboration”.[8]


[1] Jose Cristo Rey Garcia Peredes, Celibacy-Virginity for the Kingdom of God, ibid., p. 19.
[2] Ibid., p. 20.
[3] Ibid., p. 20-21.
[4] Ibid., p. 19-20.
[5] Jose Cristo Rey Garcia Peredes, Celibacy -Virginity for the Kingdom of God, ibid., p. 20-23.
[6] Jose Cristo Rey Garcia Paredes, Celibacy – Virginity for the Kingdom of God, (Philippines: ICLA Publications and Claretian Publications, 1995), p. 12.
[7] E. Blais, ET. Al., Consecrated Celibacy, (Canada: Canadian Religious Conference, 1971), p. 50.
[8] Jose Cristo Rey Garcia Paredes, Celibacy-Virginity for the Kingdom of God, ibid., p.12.

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