Reflection on the Consecrated Life ‘This is Year of’ Chastity for the sake of the Kingdom ‘Soul Institute’

John Paul II in ‘Vita Consecrata’ writes, “The chastity of celibates and virgins, as a manifestation of dedication to God with an undivided heart (1 Cor 7:32-34) is a reflection of the infinite love which links the three Divine Persons in the mysterious depths of the life of the Trinity, the love to which the Incarnate Word bears witness even to the point of giving his life, the love ‘poured into hearts through the Holy Spirit’ (Rom 5:5) which evokes a response of total love for God and the brethren.
Poverty proclaims that God is man’s only real treasure. When poverty is lived according to the example of Christ who, ‘though he was rich…became poor’ (2 Cor 8:9) it becomes an expression of that total gift which the three Divine Persons make to one another. This Gift overflows into creation and is fully revealed in the Incarnation of the Word and His redemptive death.
Obedience, practiced in imitation of Christ, whose food was to do the Father’s will (Jn 4:34) shows the liberating beauty of a dependence which is not servile but filial, marked by a deep sense of responsibility and animated by mutual trust, which is a reflection in history if the loving harmony between the three Divine Persons.” (21)

Raniero Cantalamessa in his book ‘Virginity’ writes, ” A manifestation of the Spirit. If therefore virginity is essentially a charism, then it is a particular ‘manifestation of the Spirit’ because that is how a charism in defined in the New Testament. (1 Cor 12:7) If it is a charism, then it is more a gift received from God than a gift given to God. Jesus’ words: ‘You haven’t chosen Me; on the contrary, I have chosen you’ (Jn 15:16) apply to virgins in an altogether way. You do not choose celibacy and virginity in order to enter the Kingdom, but because the Kingdom has entered you. In other words, you do not remain a virgin to save your soul more easily, but because the Kingdom, or rather the Lord, has taken possession of you, chosen you, and you feel the need to remain free to respond fully to that choice…Now let us take a step forward. If virginity or celibacy is a charism, then it must be lived charismatically, and to live it charismatically means quite simply, living it as one usually lives a gift. First all all, with humility. The great martyr Ignatius of Antioch, living very close to the apostolic era, wrote: ‘If a person manages to live in chastity in honor of the Lord’s flesh, let him live it with humility, because if he boasts of it he is lost, and if he considers himself greater than a bishop he is ruined.” Some Fathers, such as St Jerome, St Augustine and St Bernard even said, ‘better an unchaste, humble person than a proud virgin.'” There was a famous convent in the high middle ages. It was said that the nuns were as pure an angels, but as proud as devils.

In Rome and Siena there are many painting of the mystical marriage of Jesus and St Catherine of Siena. Jesus placed a wedding ring on the finger of St Catherine. The Blessed Virgin assists at the mystical marriage.

The prophet Isaiah writes, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, and my soul shall be joyful in my God: for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation: and with the robe of justice he hath covered me, as a bridegroom decked with a crown and as a bride adorned with her jewels.” (Is 61:10 )

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