Thursday, August 31, 2023

Parable and Conscience Meditation August 31

Chastity  August 31

But if the offense is detected and he is found guilty, he must be more severely chastised according to the judgment of the priest or superior (Rule of St. Augustine 29).

The great masters of moral theology have taught that sexual morality admits of no light matter.  The least fall is already a grave sin.  But if that is true, then the sexual struggle in life merits a tremendous compassion.  We have a tendency to easily excuse other weaknesses, but when it come to sexual weakness, we quickly become hard in judgment and severe in sanction.  We easily leave room for moral evolution with regard to other sins, but a person's sexual sins receive an immediate and complete condemnation.  Certainly we cannot weaken the demands of chastity in the name of some false psychology.  But ministry toward those who fall needs to take into account all the dimensions of the personality that can play a role in sin.  Is it always just a question of bad will?  Perhaps there was some significant crisis or heavy stress, perhaps an unfortunate imprudence or a psychological vulnerability, perhaps seduction or fatigue.  We do not propose these as excuses, but only as aspects that can the affect the freedom of the individual and influence decisions.  Aren’t compassion and patience as appropriate in these cases as in others?  Surely in writing his Rule, Augustine did not forget the sexual chaos of his entire life as a youth!

The child doesn’t become an adult in a single day.  (Mongo)

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Parable and Conscience Meditation August 30

Chastity  August 30

(The Crosier) lives the joy of paternity through the chaste gift of himself to everyone (Profile of the Congolese Crosier).

There is a law of human nature that demands an obedience without exception.  It is the law of “engendering.”  Every human being is given this desire and the energies to fulfill it.  Normally, this dynamic of life is understood in terms of procreation, implying sexual relations.  But there are persons who are not capable of this because of some unhappy circumstances.  There are others who choose not to have sexual relations for other reasons.  But both those who are incapable of sexual relations and those who renounce them do not have the right to abdicate the responsibility for giving life.   They must at least engender at another level.  Sterility is not respectable in human life.  Religious, consecrated to chastity, are among those who decide not to participate in sex.  They do not ignore or deny the most profound desires of their being.  Renunciation of sexual life is an act of freedom in service of a greater engendering.  Inspired by Christ and the coming of the Kingdom and supported by their fellow religious and other soul friends, their generative energies are channeled toward other vital projects.  This sublimation gives life and makes religious fertile.  The confrere becomes a joyful father in the classroom, at preaching, in development projects, in the confessional, at deathbeds, as a counselor of souls.  The life that he engenders support all other engendering of life because it inspires hope, without which human life loses all its sense.

What one keeps spoils; it's what one gives that flourishes.  (Ivory Coast)

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Parable and Conscience Meditation August 29

Chastity  August 29

In the area of sexuality, (the Crosier) is well informed and realistic (Profile of the Congolese Crosier).

I am created a sexual being by God.  Every aspect of my personality is marked by this wonder.  Biologically I am made to unite with another to give life.  I respect all the functions of my own and others’ bodies that permit the creation of new human life.  My heart is created full of desires, dreams, feelings, needs and impulses to make vital contact with another.  I desire love and affection, to be cherished and to cherish.  I dream of a human intimacy that is realized by closeness, by the caress of another, to complete my personality.  I am amazed at the generative power within me and all the desires which push me to collaborate with the Creator to create.  I rejoice in my paternal feelings through which God calls me to be a father.  I am always aware of the agitation in my person that rises and falls and that seeks satisfaction.  I accept it in peace as a clarion of my vitality.  I recognize that the joy of life is intimately related to my sexuality.  I recognize also that sexuality participates in the weakness of human life, that dreams remain often unrealized, that wishes can be exaggerated, that desires are from time to time poorly managed and that feelings can be inappropriately expressed.  Fully conscious of who I am, I make the gift of my sexuality to God in order to give birth to the Kingdom.  I make the gift of my generative power to the world so that it can have life and life in abundance.

Sweet and sour walk together.  (Efik)

Monday, August 28, 2023

Parable and Conscience Meditation August 28

Chastity  August 28

In accepting chastity as our way towards love, we wish to strive for a spontaneous, cheerful forgetfulness of self and a willingness to bear the suffering and burdens without which love cannot come to fulfillment (Const. 11.3).

There is not another human experience more formative for learning the dynamics of relationship than friendship.  Happy is the person who is and who has a friend!  Friendship was the desire of St. Augustine for his community.  Friendship can happen between people of different ages and social status, between men and women.  A saint and a sinner can be friends, as well as a rich person and a poor person, a smart person and someone less gifted, a married person and a celibate, a student and a teacher, a religious and a lay person.  Friendship is inevitable because every human being searches to not be alone and is concerned about that the other thinks of him or her.  Friendship, then, is indispensable.  True friendship promises quality human existence.  In the experience of friendship, a person feels well and lives with optimism about life and other people.  In friendship, self-esteem is affirmed, people know their potential and limitations better, people are inspired to grow and become open and welcoming to others.  Friendship leads to a new awareness of God.  It is senseless to stop friendship from happening in religious life.

Left alone, iron rusts.  (Madagascar)