May 11, 2017
Brothers & sisters,
Ordinations to the priesthood are forthcoming here in the archdiocese of New York, and I’ve been thinking very much about the gifts of the priesthood and celibacy.
The specific nature of celibacy, as a gift, a charism, a vocation, was most concretized for me when I read Deification in Christ: Orthodox Perspectives on the Nature of the Human Person.
The writer, Panayiotis Nellas, analyzes marriage in the Garden of Eden, and this was a mind-blowing concept for me: Adam and Eve were married but lived celibately, as the profundity of their spiritual union, the union of their souls and their hearts with each other’s, in God, was sufficiently dee and intimate for the generation of new life, for fruitfulness; they were fruitful without physical intimacy in a way parallel to that of Our Lady's fruitfulness by the Holy Spirit. The specifics we may not be able to grasp, so dulled are we as a people—by the culture of death, of pornography, of sex—to the fullest power of purity, chastity, celibacy, in all their intertwined, shining dimensions.
So beautiful, so intimate, so intertwined was the state of original innocence; original communion.
This should completely invert the way we see all of reality, starting at this very moment—from the very beginning, the ultimate standard for embodied persons was a life-giving fruitfulness in the order of the spirit. Adam and Eve gave forth life to others because their love of God and of each other in God was so intense that there was no other possible consequence except for new life, more life, for love going out, transcending their duo.
This is prayer, must be prayer—Where are you, Holy Spirit? You, in whom I have been baptized? Where is your power, the power that was promised me and all those who believe in you? Come, and give me life, the life of Jesus, and in giving me his life, let me also be his face, eyes, lips, and hands, so that I may bear you out into the world.
· In NYC, ordinations to the priesthood at St. Patrick’s, 9am, 5/27.
Forgiveness is the garment
Of our courage…
Open up our eyes
To see the wounds that bind
All of humankind
May our shutter hearts
Greet the dawn of life
With charity and love
Brother (Cover) – Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (CFRs)