Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Parable and Conscience Meditation August 9

Chastity  August 9

As we live in this world of ours . . . (Const. 11.4).

The fact that Christ is fully human, except for sin, is a constant challenge to the Church who, in her devotional life, often places the accent on his divinity.  The contemplation of Christ as a man with an affective life can help us balance our popular Christology.  Without citing every pertinent New Testament reference, we see that Jesus experienced feelings of surprise (Mk 6:6), irritation (Mk 8:33), anger (Jn 2:13), sadness (Lk 19:41), humor (Mt 15:21), compassion (Lk 7:11), terror (Lk. 22:24), joy (Jn 17:13), betrayal (Lk 22:48) and loneliness (Mt 26:40).  There are three references to his affection that are striking.  They are instructive about the place of human love in the life of a celibate person.  Jesus, the celibate, had a friendship with Lazarus so close that at his death, “he became perturbed and deeply troubled” (Jn 11:33) and “Jesus cried” (Jn 11:35).  Was it not a defective celibacy to have cultivated such a human intimacy?  Jesus, the celibate, permitted an amazing physical closeness to one of his disciples in the Upper Room, “the one Jesus loved” (Jn 13:23).  This disciple “was reclining on the chest of Jesus” (Jn 13:23)!  Was this not sentimental exaggeration?  Jesus, the celibate, had an interesting conversation with a rich young man and “looking at him, loved him” (Mk 20:21).  Certainly a lack of affective discipline, no?  Not at all!  The incarnation of the Son of God does not suppress his humanity.  To enter into the Kingdom of God does not mean alienating oneself from the human world.  To feel affection for a friend does not betray chastity, according to Jesus, human and celibate.

Good harmony makes for an excellent royal court.  (Baoule)

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