Through our vow of celibacy we offer ourselves as members of a community to be completely available to Christ. We commit ourselves to remaining single forever, instead of united to another in marriage or partnership. We pledge to forgo the expression of love through sex, which God has blessed as the means for human partners to become one.
It is our desire to make a vow of celibacy that is the deepest possible expression of trust in Christ who has chosen us to follow this path. Christ is the creative Wisdom through whom the Father created all things; he is the light who lightens all who come into the world. Our sexuality, our power to love, our creative energy for relationship and union are of his making. They reflect the mystery of the triune life and mirror God’s passionate love for all creation. In our vow we offer these gifts that belong to the heart of our humanity to Christ, trusting that he will bless, shape and use them. Our faith in Christ as creator also expresses itself by revering our manhood itself as sacred. If we foster a climate of celibacy in which this faith and reverence flourish, each brother, whatever his sexual orientation, can come to accept fully the particular way the mystery of sexuality has been woven into the texture of his humanity.
Our vow is also a response to Jesus’ own way of life. His own freedom from ties of family and home, in order to be completely available in the Spirit for the proclamation of the good news, attracted others to choose the same path. They trusted in his promise that their choice, though full of painful losses and risks, would bring the reward of an abundance of new relationships among those who were awakening to the joy of the Kingdom: “a hundredfold now in this age – houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children . . . and in the age to come eternal life.” When we make our vow we affirm our own confidence in this promise.
We make our vow also trusting in the healing power of Christ, the redeemer of human brokenness. Our capacity for intimacy, our sexual desires, our readiness to be faithful, are all damaged by the confusions and wounds of our fallen human condition. For us celibacy is a path of healing and redemption, as the vocation of marriage and partnership is for others. As we make our vow we acknowledge humbly our need for grace to give us that unity and integrity of heart which we can never attain by our own power. We set out on the celibate way as a path of salvation that gives us the hope of attaining maturity as loving, disciplined and free men.
Our vow flows also from the experience of Christ ascended and glorified dwelling in our own hearts. Though we have surrendered the fulfillment we may have found in marriage or partnership, the mystery of union and mutual love is truly given to us. In the emptiness and absence that celibacy opens up in our hearts, Christ waits to make known to us the infinite strength and tenderness of his love. The exploration of our sexual solitude through prayer will reveal the depth of Christ’s desire to be the one joy of our hearts. We can find the joy of celibacy only by entering into the mystery of our union with him and returning his love.