This afternoon, one of the students of my “What’s Your Magic – Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts” course, asked me to further elaborate on the “gift of celibacy.” “Who would EVER think of celibacy as a gift?” you might ask. Find out here…..and while you’re at it, ask yourself what your unique spiritual gifts might be…..and if you are still searching, check out my online course What is Your Magic? (33% off the normal price for the remainder of the month of February)
Voluntary Celibacy is listed as one of the spiritual gifts in the 26 traditional charisms of the Judeo-Christian tradition. This is a bit of “magic” that tends to grab the attention (and maybe even raise a few eyebrows) of those raised in a Western culture, especially the American culture where sexuality is so suppressed that it ends up coming out sideways – as evidenced in an overabundance of pornography, sexual violence against women and children and the objectification of women and men – using sex to sell everything from toothpaste to pickup trucks and beer. As our suppressed sexuality is busy coming (no pun intended) out sideways, our culture, especially our politicians, vehemently defend our Puritan/Christian/Victorian roots of sexual conservativism. Hah! I think we protesteth too much!
In an oversexed and sexually suppressed culture, the idea of voluntary celibacy sounds like blasphemy. This is even more true when the culture privileges partnership, especially sexual partnership, effectively condemning those called to a single life – either as a life vocation, or temporarily in support of their own psycho-spiritual or emotional development or wellbeing. This is further compounded when the cultural model of intimate relationship is based in lack, men and women looking for the perfect partner to “complete” them, thereby casting those who are purposefully choosing celibacy, or those who are celibate due to circumstance, as “less than” those who have been lucky enough to find “love.” (note: love based in lack is not love…it is co-dependency).
Beyond our cultural confusion regarding authentically healthy human sexuality, voluntary celibacy is a gift which empowers one to live singly, and absent sexual partnership for the sake of their psycho-spiritual growth and emotional wellbeing, or in support of a larger vocation. For some, it is a conscious choice appropriate to a larger vocational choice, freeing the creative energies (sexual energy is ultimately creativity in action) that might otherwise be engaged sexually for the purposes of their personal mission and life’s purpose. Dorothy Day, for example, chose celibacy so that she could dedicate more of her time, passion and attention to her mission to support and be an advocate for the poor. Some might choose temporary celibacy to support their own healing from an unhealthy, co-dependent or even abusive relationship. Others might not make the choice consciously, but are facing life circumstances where an intimate partnership is not currently in the cards. In this case, the magic of voluntary celibacy gives one the ability to be content (and not terribly bothered) by this time of temporary celibacy. Not everyone has this capacity to be single, celibate and content. This capacity is the ultimate hallmark of those in possession of this gift – the magic of voluntary celibacy.
If you are interested in learning about your unique magic, (whether or not it is voluntary celibacy) check out my online course, What is Your Magic? 33% off the regular price for remainder of the month of February!
Or, if you are interested in moving beyond patterns of co-dependency toward a more rewarding and enduring Beloved Partnership, check out my online course, “Happily Ever After”