Our Life in Consecrated Chastity
Chastity must be esteemed among the gospel counsels as an extraordinary
gift of God that is willingly embraced for Christ and His Kingdom through
an impulse of the Holy Spirit.
The reason for leading our life in chastity is the preferential love of
God and of all peoples; in a unique way, in fact, it confers a greater freedom
of heart through which we are able to cling to God with an undivided love
and to become all things to all peoples.
By always guarding and cultivating this gift, our fraternity becomes a splendid
sign of the mystery through which the Church is united to her only Spouse.
The charism of celibacy, which not everyone is capable of grasping, is an
option for the Kingdom of God, prophetically proclaims that kingdom in our
midst, and offers a witness to the future life in which those who have risen
are brothers to one another before God Who will be all in all for them.
One of the noted characteristics of Saint Francis is the richness of
his affections and his capacity for expressing them.
Francis, captivated by a love of God and all peoples, indeed of all created
beings, is a brother and a friend of all.
Thoroughly courteous and refined, sensitive to everything beautiful and
good, he wishes that his brothers sing joyful songs of penance-conversion,
immersed in peace and in a universal, even cosmic, brotherhood.
While we are on the way to the Kingdom of God, chastity always involves
a certain privation that must be recognized and accepted. Diligent recourse
to supernatural and natural means makes it possible to maintain equilibrium
and to avoid the dangers that threaten a celibate brother such as boredom,
loneliness of the heart, love of comforts, excessive gratification, or,
on the other hand, morbid aversion to displaying affection.
Chastity consecrated to God, a gift given to human beings, is nourished,
supported and increased by participation in a sacramental life, especially
in the Eucharistic Banquet and in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and by
persevering in diligent prayer and intimate union with Christ and His Virgin
Therefore, let us strive to respond generously to this gift, not relying
on our own strength but on God's help.
Affective and sexual maturity gradually travels a path of conversion
from a self-centered and possessive love to one that is self-sacrificing
and capable of giving itself to others.
Let all the brothers, especially superiors, remember that love for one another
in familiar companionship and fraternal service is an excellent support
A fraternity that is genuine, serene and open to others makes the natural
development of each one's affectivity easier. Fraternal commitment demands
a continual renunciation of self-love and requires a dedication that favors
authentic and profound friendships that greatly contribute to the fulfillment
of an affective life.
Besides a discipline of the senses and of the heart, let us joyfully dedicate
ourselves to diligent work, living in humility and penance, and use other
means that foster health of mind and body.
Let the brothers love all people in Christ and, through a brotherly
and friendly rapport, seek to lead them to share in the Kingdom of God.
Following the example of the noble affection Brother Francis had for Sister
Clare, our attitude toward women should be conspicuous by its courtesy,
respect, and sense of justice.
Friendship is a great gift that fosters human and spiritual growth. In virtue
of our consecration and because of the respect due to the vocation of those
with whom we associate, we should avoid binding others to ourselves; rather
let us give ourselves to them. In this way a friendship is established that
is liberating and not destructive of fraternity.
The relations of the brothers with their own family further affective growth;
but let us not forget that the fraternity is our new family.
We should frequently reflect upon the words of Saint Francis in which
he encourages his brothers that, after they have put aside all anxiety,
they love and adore the Lord God in all creatures with a clean heart, a
chaste body and a holy activity.
Therefore let nothing hinder us, nothing separate us that the Spirit of
the Lord may act and be manifested in us and in our fraternity.
For information contact
P. MARCO TARCISIO MASCIA