July 9, 2010

The Original Blessing

Yesterday I spent some time with a couple of friends whom I've known since elementary school. Both have families now. The one whose home we were visiting has two children: the older one is a rambunctious toddler and the younger is only five months old. Almost every space in their home is overtaken with child related stuff and the atmosphere is generally chaotic. They are very happy. It's interesting to see people with whom you grew up, both friends and family, as parents themselves. They are the same people, of course, but are somehow transformed. They are renovated by the original blessing God pronounced on our first parents: "Be fruitful." The original blessing is on all of us, because we all derive from the compound marriage of the will of God and the bodies of Adam and Eve.

Perhaps it's when we forget about all this that we celibates get ourselves into trouble. Marriage is an option, but generativity is not. If we do not care for our spiritual lives and cultivate our own re-creation in God, we will be sterile, unable to conceive spiritual children. If we lose our missionary edge, the command of the Lord to make disciples of all nations, we can easily turn in on ourselves in eccentricity, comfort-seeking, and entitlement. All of these are disaster for the celibate soul, which is why we always need to remember that our vocations are not given to us for ourselves, but for the sake of those to whom God wishes to give us as spiritual mothers and fathers. Here the chaotic house filled with toys and childcare equipment is a good reflection for the celibate. Am I willing to surrender every space in my life to God, or do I hold back certain areas for myself?


ben in denver said...

I had no idea there was a temptation towards spiritual contraception among the religious.

Thank you for this enlightening post.

Sara said...

Thanks very much for this. It sounds like my house. I joke with my friends that other people may look forward to the kids growing up so that they'll have more sleep, time to spend with spouse, etc... but all I really dream of is a clean floor for 12 hours.

Brother Charles said...


Wow. You make what is surely an important analogy. I have to think on this. More later.

precious cup said...

Hello Brother Charles, I am a mother of 2 grown children, today is my oldest's 23 birthday, at the moment our house is empty. I say this because we have an open door and our children are young enough to take advantage of this.
I want to be the child at this moment. I was just thinking about this before morning mass. I need spiritual parenting. My husband and I are Secular Franciscan's and try to Give God our whole selves as a married couple. I feel cheated of that spiritual parenting. I want to love the priests in our lives as family members. I would love to spend more time socially with our catholic friends along with our priest. Some how I feel that has been robbed from us. They have this big wall built up around them. Probably for their own protection, but I wish It were more easy to speak with them and maybe learn from them how to live the faith life I strive for, we strive for. I dream of living in a religious community as a married person. I really don't know of one. I guess I just wish our church family was closer. Some how the scandals have made it more difficult for priests to embrace their parish families. That fact makes me very sad. I pray for a change.

Brother Charles said...

Thank you for your prayers; we must all follow the Lord's command to send our laborers for the abundant harvest.

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

Even more interesting is seeing your own children become parents. A friend once told me that the best thing about being a grandparent is because you get to enjoy the children without being responsible for them. I disagree. The best thing about being a grandparent is watching your son be a good father.