CHAPTER IIICHASTITY: CELIBATE LOVE
"Our Savior showed clearly how highly he rated chastity, and how anxioushe was to get people to accept it, by the fact that he wanted to be born of an Immaculate Virgin through the intervention of the Holy Spirit, outsidethe normal course of nature."
(CR IV, 1)
Charity is the heart of the gospel: love of God and love of neighbor.Therefore affective and effective love is the center of the Vincentianmissionary vocation: "God has raised up this little Company, like all others,for his love and good pleasure. All aim at loving him, but they love him indifferent ways .... But we, my brothers, if we have this love, are bound toshow it by leading the people to love God and their neighbor, to love theneighbor for God and God for the neighbor. We have been chosen by God asinstruments of his immense and paternal charity" (SV XII, 262). The life ofchastity, confirmed by our vow, has to be understood in the context of love,as a call from God to love more, to love better, to love universally.
2. THE PRESENT SITUATION
Chastity is an opportunity and a challenge. We live it within thecontext of our own personal and cultural realities. Human maturity andpersonal growth in chastity involve balance and the ability to integratevarious dimensions of our lives. Work, rest and recreation, community andsocial responsibilities, friendship, sexuality, the need to love and be lovedare all elements that must be incorporated into a coherent pattern of living.Besides our talents and strengths, we must also take into accountpersonal weakness, which displays itself in: the tendency towardselfishness, a divided heart, the lack of consistency in one's life, the seekingof comfortableness, self-centered or immature manifestations of sexuality.The various situations in which the Congregation tries to inculturatethe gospel and the charism of the community give rise to new and difficultquestions regarding celibate commitment. These same questions, however,invite us to promote a dialogue between culture and the gospel, in order todiscover new riches in the gift of chastity.In today's society there are positive signs which can support ourcelibate life: the commitment of chaste celibate lay people; the witness ofcouples whose homes are centers of Christian values and who live the gospel