“What is the secret of perseverance? Love. Fall in love, and you will not leave him.”
- St. Josemaría Escrivá
The New Testament introduces us to apostolic celibacy. In Matthew 19:12, Jesus praises those who choose not to get married "for the sake of the kingdom of heaven." In addition, in the first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul also speaks about apostolic celibacy. He states that celibacy and marriage are divine gifts and vocations, and that the former has special values (1 Corinthians 7:3-7, 25, 35).
From apostolic times, men and women have accepted this invitation of Jesus to be committed to a life of celibacy. The men were called ascetics and the women virgins. They usually made their commitment with a consecration in a public liturgical rite. However, some chose to make private vows. The life of apostolic celibacy still continues to this day, for example, by some members of Opus Dei.
“How is that heart of yours getting along? Don’t worry: the saints - who were perfectly ordinary, normal beings like you and me - also felt those ‘natural’ inclinations. And if they had not felt them, their ‘supernatural’ reaction of keeping their heart - soul and body - for God, instead of giving it to creatures, would have had little merit. That’s why, once the way is seen, I think that the heart’s weaknesses need be no obstacle for a determined soul, for a soul in love...to give body and soul to the Lord, to offer him an undivided heart, without the mediation of earthly love.”
- St. Josemaría Escrivá
Those who embrace apostolic celibacy do not receive titles and live under the direction of the Archbishop. They do not receive any financial support during their life from the Archdiocese and remain in the secular state witnessing subtly yet powerfully. They are free to choose their profession and the ways to serve the Church. Once a virgin makes vows, her consecration is irrevocable; she is forever bound to Jesus in a particular state of holiness.
Anne Duell -
Anne first received a sense of calling to be a consecrated virgin at the age of 13. Later, she followed on that call to work in Birmingham as a nurse, and to give her whole life to God and his Church.
Click the image to read the article from The Sower.
The book And You are Christ's: The Charism of Virginity and the Celibate Life by Fr. Thomas Dubay emphasises that evangelical virginity is rooted in both the Old Testament and New Testaments. Buy here.
The book How We Love: A Formation for the Celibate Life by Br. John Mark Falkenhain OSB, provides a well-researched and thorough guide for celibacy formation. Buy here.