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Aug 152018
 

Celibacy and marriage are two different but not opposed vocations.

The sixth commandment of God’s Law is to keep chastity in words and deeds. Its scope also includes the discovery of the meaning and value of consecrated celibacy, and it implies living by those who have received such a divine gift. 

There is, however, another phenomenon in our society that makes it difficult to recognize the value of consecrated celibacy: the growing number of people, men and women living unmarried for reasons of personal independence or dedication to a cause for which they are passionate and it absords them. Disinterest in marriage may also be motivated by a lack of attraction to the other sex, not believing in marriage, some immaturity, or fear of making definite commitments. In these motivations comes the increasing difficulty of establishing mature and stable affective relationships on the part of many people.

What difference is there between the Christian life in celibacy and these human situations, chosen or involuntary? The outer form of life may be similar, but the motivation, the spirit, and the purpose are very different.

The vocation to celibacy is an option of Christ-oriented love

Illustrative photo: Paula Dizaró / cancaonova.com

We can distinguish three ways of living celibacy by Christian believers:

When the Christian faithful discover in their status as a celibate a vocation to God and accept it of their own free will, their celibate life can become an assumed and valued vocation. One can then, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) says,live “his situation in the spirit of the beatitudes, serving God and his neighbor in an exemplary way” (no. 1658). This form of life may not be definitive, and the person can be called to marriage at any age.

They definitively assume celibacy for the Kingdom of Heaven, those who consecrate their lives totally to God and, therefore, renounce marriage. This choice results from the perception of the love of Christ and his call, positively reciprocated in a growing relationship of love for him. In this case, the motivation for celibacy is theological and charismatic, it is a divine grace that the person has received and which freely corresponds with the total surrender of oneself to God.

Another form is priestly celibacy. This, in a sense, unites the two previous forms: on the one hand, it results from the fact that the person feels the vocation for the sacred ministry; on the other hand, corresponds to a surrender of oneself to the service of the Kingdom of God. The motivation is markedly apostolic, but based on theological and charismatic reasons. The Catechism says: sacred ministers “Called to consecrate themselves with undivided heart to the Lord and to “the affairs of the Lord,” they give themselves entirely to God and to men. Celibacy is a sign of this new life to the service of which the Church’s minister is consecrated; accepted with a joyous heart celibacy radiantly proclaims the Reign of God “(No. 1579, cf. 1599).

Vocation to love and communion

Like marriage, celibate life is also the fulfillment of the vocation to love and the communion to which all are called. Responding to such a vocation inscribed in his own being, the human person realizes his condition and dignity of image and likeness of God, that “it is love and lives in itself a mystery of personal communion of love” (CCC, 2331). There can be no celibate option that is not motivated by love of God and neighbor. Even in the first way outlined above, if a person assumes his condition as God’s will, he can not but direct his life by love, opening himself to an ever deeper relationship of communion and service.

Being a response to the vocation to love, celibate life does not mean disdain or a negative view of sexuality. This, as the Catechism states, “affects all aspects of the human person, in the unity of his body and his soul. It concerns, in particular, affection, the capacity to love and to procreate, and, more generally, the ability to create bonds of communion with others “(CCC, 2332). By choosing celibacy, one renounces a way of living sexuality , to surrender to God “with an undivided heart” (CCC, 2349). It redirects the sexual drive and energy, giving it another meaning and purpose, for a spiritual fecundity. Like Christ, the celibate also delivers his body, and his whole being, out of love for God and for humanity. In this total gift, through an oblative love, he lives the chastity proper to his condition.

Love option

Celibacy, like marriage, implies a life of relationship with others and not of solitude, it is a path to maturity and not deprivation. It is the expression of a freely given self-giving and not the result of any frustration or disappointment in the affective relationship. It also implies a certain experience of sexuality: not in physical union, nor in narcissistic self-satisfaction or in the search for reciprocal pleasure and expression of mutual affection, but in its spiritual sublimation through self-control. This personal liberty is a condition for making a total and definitive gift to God, raised by the grace received from Him. The celibate renounces: “to physical intimacy in order to a more perfect availability”; “To the human warmth of a family , to become the father or mother of humanity”; “To the continuation of life in their own children for a life that has no end, the life of God in people” (E. Pepe).

Life in celibacy is an option of love.

Life in celibacy is therefore also an option of love, but Christ-oriented. The person gives to himself, not to a person of the other sex with whom he has established bonds of affection, but to the Christ in whom he believes and for whom he believes to be loved. His surrender means taking over a life that is renewed by Christ and pierced by the power of the Spirit. The person donates himself in all his being, also in the physical dimension, but he does it in a different way from the one that is lived in the matrimony.

There is a text by Chiara Lubich that speaks of chastity as “to dilate the heart according to the measure of the heart of Jesus”. By doing so, one strives to love each brother ‘as Jesus loves him’. The author calls this the “chastity of God.” By choosing celibacy for having felt the great love of Christ for him, the faithful Christian strives to live the love according to the measure and measure of Christ. For him, love for Christ and for his brothers is one and the same love. And it is always about loving for Jesus, for a grace that comes from Him. It is a love to all, universal, but lived in the bestowal one by one, that is, to the one I meet, who passes through my life. Here is the originality of love in the celibate person, which is different, therefore, from conjugal love. This always passes through the human expressions of sexuality and tenderness.

Read more: 
:: How can parents help their children discover their vocation? 
:: Young doctor confirms professional vocation at Canção Nova 
:: God calls every man to holiness 
:: What can I do to become a member of the Canção Nova Community?

Links above are translated from Portuguese through Google translate

Generate life in the spiritual dimension

Giving freely of oneself to the other, faithfully, as Jesus loves, is what makes love pure and chaste, both in married and celibate life. In the first, the physical expressions of love do not degrade it; in the second, you do not have to choke your heart or repress love, for you will always find beautiful expressions to love your neighbor in a concrete and sensitive way. In the first case, love always unites those who live it and narrows the bonds between people. It is lived in mutual giving and welcoming. In the celibate, love does not hold, but it liberates, it is lived in generosity and detachment, it makes the person gift to others without waiting for compensation.

The love of the celibate is also to be fruitful, to generate life not in the physical sense, but in the spiritual dimension. Through love, celibacy generates the life of Jesus in the souls he meets, creates spiritual bonds with people and can even exercise a spiritual fatherhood, making them feel regenerated, receiving a new life: that of God. In this way, it also enriches humanity , contributes to its qualitative and spiritual growth.

Whoever is called to celibacy, consecrating his life to God, renounces married life. It almost fulfills the word of Jesus: “Whosoever shall not forsake all that he has, can not be my disciple” (Lk. 14:33). He renounces genital sexuality, the relation of affection with another person, to fatherhood or biological maternity, to constituting his family, to detach himself from everything and from every person, to follow Christ more closely and to live a special communion with him. From this relationship, in the Holy Spirit, through love, a new family, the Christian fraternity, which can take on multiple forms and which translates into the life of the Christian community and its variety, will emerge. If you do not generate the community of the sons and daughters of God, celibacy becomes unhealthy. Without paternity or spiritual motherhood, the celibate runs the risk of becoming sterile and experiencing the sense of loss, frustration, incompleteness, failure to reach fullness.

Personal freedom

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Mt 5, 8). The celibate, who assumes his vocation freely and lives it faithfully in an unconditional gift to God, in love and generous service to his brothers, truly experiences happiness and truly “sees” God in his life. He left everything for the Lord and nothing is lacking. He renounced constituting a family and lives surrounded by brothers and brothers, of sons and daughters, in a great spiritual family reunited in the love of Christ.

His life is very different from that of many fashionable singles, centering on themselves and their pleasures, generating and managing solitude, which produces a void of soul and boredom. Living in celibacy, preserving the chastity of the heart, requires effort to correspond to the grace of one’s own vocation. First and foremost, care must be taken to maintain and consolidate personal liberty, to love ever more, and to maintain vigilance over all situations that may call into question. And, in the face of limits and failures, the celibate will embrace the cross and begin again in the commitment for fidelity in love. The relationship with God, ever deeper, cultivated in prayer, and a healthy fraternal communion, helps us to remain faithful in the very giving of love.

Celibacy and marriage are two different but uncontested vocations. Celibate and married, happy in their vocation, should be a stimulus and help to each other, sharing their own gift, recognizing and cherishing that of others, in an ecclesial communion operated by the Holy Spirit .

Father Jorge Manuel Faria Guarda

Jul 232018
 

The Lord is speaking, but we do not want to hear Him
Today, young peopleare like sheep without a shepherd . But this is not because of lack of pastors in the Church, because we have many bishops and priests.

When we think of a flock of sheep, we soon imagine a beautiful field, where the sheep graze, and a shepherd is sitting in the shade of the trees tending them.

In the time of Christ, He presented Himself as the “Good Shepherd”, because He had compassion on the people, since the ones the Jews considered shepherds, the chief priests and the lawyers, were not caring for the flock. Thus the flock suffered attacks from the wolves and, Jesus, was willing to lay down His life for His “sheep.”

Listen to the Good Shepherd
My brethren, if we do not hear the voice of the Good Shepherd, we will be carried by the wolf, that is, by Satan.

The failure to listen to the Good Shepherd began from the lie told to Eve in Paradise. One fine day, Eve talked to the serpent in the Garden of Eden. The serpent advised Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, but God had already instructed her not to eat it. Eve believed the serpent’s lie and this was because she would not listen to the Lord.

Disobedience to God
According to Sacred Scripture, Satan is the father of lies. Therefore, when we listen to Him and fail to hear the Word of God, out of pure rebelliousness, we fall into the serpent’s lie. This lie leads us from death to death, from disgrace to disgrace.

The herd without a shepherd
God is speaking, but the servants do not want to listen to Him. They prefer to listen to wolves and therefore become sheep without a shepherd. Often, it is only with the experience of bad situations that we come to hear the Lord.

Jesus the Good Shepherd
To hear the voice of Christ, we must stop running from the voice that sounds in our heart.

Just as the Father is love, we must love and be loved. Only really loves those who do not give up on each other.

We need to help each other to go to Heaven.

Fr. Paulo Ricardo Azevedo

Jul 042018
 

 

A Blessed US Independence Day

In celebration of our Catholic Faith in the Americas

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

Pictured Top: The Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, patroness of the United States, Washington, D.C.

Basílica Aparecida

Pictured Bottom: The Basilica Shrine of Nossa Senhora de Aparecida, patroness of Brazil, Aparecida, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

 

Oct 022017
 

Daniela Miranda. Photo: Paula Dizaró

Be brave, do not be afraid.
Daniela Miranda. Photo: Paula Dizaró
How is the Lord’s Mercy in our lives? It is carried from generation to generation. Let us repeat these words described in the diary of St. Faustina number 449: “I am your mother by the infinite mercy of God. The soul that faithfully fulfills the will of God is the one that pleases me the most. Be brave, do not be afraid of illusory difficulties, but set your eyes on my son’s passion and you will conquer.

What does courage mean? Courage does not mean absence of fear, but rather, to act even in the face of fear because trusting in the Lord we will move forward. The deeper we delve into the Lord’s Mercy, the closer we come to the Merciful Jesus.

In I Samuel 17, the episode of Goliath is told. Every day we face many Goliaths in our lives. What is our Goliath? What are we facing that is too big? Are we struggling to win?

On the other side we have David who was very small but had the courage to face the challenges. To be brave we must assume who we are and the qualities that God has given us. This is how we will serve the Lord, so let us enter confidently in combat with the gift that God has given us.

Often people will tell us words that discourage us, but we can not be discouraged and we must have the courage to say and do everything with humility and trust in God.

Most of the time we want to win battles using weapons, but we need to overcome them by proclaiming trust in Jesus.

Courage is linked to trust, because when we are with a confident heart we have the courage to face the daily challenges. In the face of  difficulties, the enemy wants to deceive us, but when we face obstacles with confidence in Jesus, a stone is enough to overcome.

Our confidence grows as we move forward in prayer, so it is important to have a life of prayer.

Daniela Miranda

Missionary of the Canção Nova Community

Sep 262017
 

Missa com Frei Josué no Acampamento Fé e MilagresIn the sacrament of Penance, there is peace

Who remembers the times when, in seeking the sacrament of penance, after confessing, you heard this sentence: “Your sins are forgiven!”?

In important situations in my life, in faith seeking a priest to confess me, I experienced the Lord speaking to me as he said to the woman: “And Jesus said unto the woman, Thy sins are forgiven!” What a peace, my God gives to the repentant sinner !

“Then the guests began to think, ‘Who is this that even forgives sins?’ But Jesus said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you. Go in peace! “(Lk 7, 47-50) The effect of God’s forgiveness on the penitent’s heart is so great, that he has the life-transforming power of a lifetime. He who seeks forgiveness of sins frequently in Christ not only receives a new life, but gains divine strength to overcome sin. Jesus shows this power through love and mercy achieved: “the many sins that she has committed are forgiven , because she showed much love. He who is forgiven,  little shows little love “(Luke 7:47).

Jesus, I trust in you!

Luzia Santiago
Co-founder of the Canção Nova Community

Sep 202017
 

God seeks true worshipers

Being a worshiper is something that requires so much fidelity, so much dedication, so much consecration that, sadly, there are few worshipers and even less true worshipers. “The spirit of the Lord rests upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me; he sent me to carry the glad tidings to the humble, to heal the sorrowful hearts, to proclaim redemption to the captives , and to the prisoners to liberty “(Isaiah 61: 1). The Spirit of the Lord rests upon us to do the same thing as the Holy Spirit did there at the beginning of creation, where everything was chaos; and as he landed there, He broughtpeace, and beauty. Where death was, life reigned. Creation emerged from there.

Photo: Daniel Mafra / cancaonova.com
Often, we are in chaos and we live in this chaos, because we are human creatures made of clay. We are not yet the image and likeness of God. We are all being made still in the image and likeness of God, we are coming out of chaos to become God’s image and likeness. Our life is a time of transformation, and this brings suffering. Each of us has a part, and even in God’s design, each one of us is part of it.

You are unique and God is acting just for this, to make you unique, because only He knows how you are. We are so foolish, we want to be what we think we are, and worse, we want to be equal to everyone. God wants to make us the part he needs, it is no use to want to be like the others, we have to be the one that God wants us to be. For this piece to be formed, much suffering is needed.

The great truth is that as the Spirit hovered over that chaos, in the beginning, now also He hovers over us, for our work is not finished. We ask God to walk with us, but we are so ignorant that we do not even know which is the way. God is so merciful that He invites us to walk with Him, because He is the way. Faced with what the Word is telling us, the Lord requires, within us, an unconditional surrender. His will is not like our will, God’s will is the best for us. It was he who created us, it was not us who created us. It was He who loved us, and because He loved us, He chose us, He made us come to life and He made us unique. The Lord knows who we are and where we should go, where we will be placed. So, the smartest thing is to surrender unconditionally to Him. As Mary said, let’s also say, “Let Me be made according to Your word.” So that the Word may become flesh in us and from there, the Word may dwell among us.

God bless you!

Your brother,

Monsignor Jonas Abib
Founder of the Canção Nova Community

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