Saturday, February 7, 2009

"He went off to a lonely place"

Priests and religious men and women also go "off", away from the comfort of the familiar and the common, to the "lonely place" of celibacy and obedience for the sake of communion in love with the Father. Thus they are dedicated to being configured more closely to the Lord in consecration through prayer and action, and to thus lead others to Him.

"All the ordained ministers of the Latin Church, with the exception of permanent deacons, are normally chosen from among men of faith who live a celibate life and who intend to remain celibate 'for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.' (Mt 19:12) Called to consecrate themselves with undivided heart to the Lord and to 'the affairs of the Lord,' (1 Cor 7:32) they give themselves entirely to God and to men. Celibacy is a sign of this new life to the service of which the Church's minister is consecrated; accepted with a joyous heart celibacy radiantly proclaims the Reign of God." (CCC 1579)

Meeting Christ in the Liturgy offers a reflection for the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

(Photo: Trinity Church, Saugerties, NY. William Morris and Ford Madox Brown: Detail from Agony in the Garden.)