Chastity August 17
Following the example of the Lord, we accept a life of . . . chastity. . . in order to . . . provide totally Christian service to others (Const. 10.1).
It should be clear to us as religious that our spouse is Christ, the whole Christ, who includes the head and members of the body, the Church. Our commitment extends even to all the inhabitants of the earth as potential members of Christ. We embrace everyone in him. This is not easy. First of all, we have the human desire for full communion with one other person, that is, a physical, emotional and spiritual union with someone. This desire is at the heart of who we are and we feel its call always. African culture demands a total commitment to life to create it, nourish it, give it growth. It is a challenge to defend a way of life that avoids the exercise of sexual love and, at the same time, professes to be real human life. It is difficult to live celibacy in such a social context. Our response as celibates is to seek vital communion of heart with everyone, without making distinctions between one person and another. Our fecundity is to bring the Spirit to birth in the bodies and souls of the members of Christ so that abundant life might be created, nourished and given growth. May the Spouse to whom we belong give our hearts the vitality of celibate love and the joy of a fertile life in Him!
When the banana tree falls, its sprouts remain. (Yaka)