and lift up all the needs of the worldon our hearts. We make popcorn onthe stove and maybe watch a showtogether and unwind a bit.
A prior claim
Though not always obvious, mylove for Christ is woven into therhythm of my day. Through the vowof celibacy, I am freed to live outmany types of intimacy. I am ableto be present to those with whom Iminister and my sisters in community, to my friends and family. I amable to listen to the stirrings of myown heart. I enjoy having Christ atthe center of my life, which makesme more fully myself.
The words of Sister Sandra M.
Schneiders, I.H.M. also speak to my
Sometimes people ask reli-
gious how they persevere in
a state of life within a church
whose institutional corrup-
tion is so clear to them, and
in which they may even be
the objects of unjust persecu-
tion. Whatever answer they
give, often the real reason is
religious life is not, for them,
a commitment to an institu-
tion, but a relationship with
Christ that, in the final analy-
sis, no authority can touch.
—Selling All: Commitment,Consecrated Celibacy, andCommunity in Catholic Religious Life
I love the church and the people of
God, but when people wonder how
I can choose the lifelong discipline
of celibacy within a church that
often is so flawed, this is my reason.
I am in love with Christ and Christ’speople, with my whole self. I haveexperienced a prior claim that Icannot ignore, a claim that gives melife to the fullest. I firmly believethere will always be women andmen called to celibacy because, likeme, others find that their hearts arctoward Christ, our love. And life asa celibate in a religious community,for me—for others who continue toenter this vocation—is steeped in awhole lot of love. =
A version of this article originallyappeared on messyjesusbusiness.com.
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