“Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.” (Mt 5:8)
“Chastity frees the human heart in a remarkable manner (1 Cor 7:32-35), so it burns with a love for God and for all people.”
As Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth – consecrated women – we make efforts to live in chastity for the sake of the Kingdom of God. We desire to make particularly visible in our life the primacy of God, our longing for Him and a passionate searching for His face. Christ Himself and His mission to preach the Kingdom of God is the rationale for such an approach. Chastity is the sign of an undivided heart in order to love more: it is a sign of the eschatological reality in order to see further; it is a means of asceticism in order to follow more closely; it is an apostolic means in order to act more effectively. Consecrated chastity opens us to God and ”is an invitation to a profound relationship with Christ.” Living the life of consecrated chastity, each day we have before our very eyes Jesus as our model. During His earthly life, Jesus “lived his life as a virgin… He thus reveals the sublime excellence and mysterious spiritual fruitfulness of virginity.” Consecrated chastity expresses that we chose Christ as our bridegroom. Such a choice stems from our love for Him and “we freely choose to follow Christ’s call to live in celibate love by the profession of the vow of consecrated chastity which is a prophetic sign of the Kingdom of God in its fullness.” Hence, we treat our body as a theological reality, a place of Christ’s presence by grace, also as a temple of the Holy Spirit (see 1 Cor 6:19) and as a place of spiritual marriage. In our body, we espouse our beloved God and surrender ourselves to Him as His possession. Through our religious consecration we are enabled to receive every needed grace that flows from the charism of virginity.
In our life of faithfulness to consecrated chastity, we are invited to love God and all creatures as He does – after the example of His Son, with the heart of the Father, through the gift of the Holy Spirit. ”The chastity of celibates and virgins, as a manifestation of dedication to God, with an undivided heart (see 1 Cor 7:32-34), is a reflection of the infinite love which links the three Divine Persons in the mysterious depths of the life of the Trinity, the love to which the Incarnate Word bears witness even to the point of giving His life, the love “poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit” (Rom 5:5), which evokes a response of total love for God and the brethren.”
The community of sisters is a great help in living out a life of consecrated chastity. Creating an atmosphere of openness and kindness, sincere and mature friendships and mutual acceptance strengthen our unity and consecrated chastity. We look at Mary and Saint Joseph, who remained in deep union with Jesus. Like them, we want to become like the pure heart of Jesus. Immaculate Mary and Saint Joseph are for us examples of spousal love and both maternal and paternal love. We call upon their help and intercession so that our commitment to Christ through this vow would become ever deeper and more authentic.
Way of Love, Ratio Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth