Chapter Eleven

Our Life in Consecrated Chastity

168

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.

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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.

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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 Mother.
Therefore, let us strive to respond generously to this gift, not relying on our own strength but on God's help.

171

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 of chastity.
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.

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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.

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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

markus@mbox.vol.it