Celebrating intimacy in solitude
The longing for connectedness and desire for solitude form part of our human existence. Both aspects can become exaggerated to form affective dependency or rigid autonomy especially when you are not anchored in your inner self. Capacity for intimacy and closeness as well as capacity to be alone when needed are essential traits of affective maturity. How do you handle your desire for intimacy and how do you live moments of loneliness?
Celibacy, sexuality and the search for Love
Having lived many years as a Claretian, do you experience that your consecrated celibacy is against your “nature”, as it is often depicted in a secular world? Contrary to the expectations of the world, perhaps, you may be enjoying the tremendous opportunity and possibility which your consecrated life is opening up for you to be in communion with God and others and to serve them more freely. Does your vocational life attest to a “hundredfold” (Mt 19.29) in terms of fraternal love, friendships, relationships and fruitfulness in ministry, as promised by Jesus?
Formation Centers as HOLDING ENVIRONEMENTS
Formation centers are to become “holding environments,” places where young men and women are “held” while they work their way to a new stage of their psychological, religious and spiritual growth. A holding environment, for example, is what a family is for a teenager working his or her way to a new identity as a member of, but distinct from the family. Formation centers are holding environments that help young adults grow into the self-chosen identity of celibate priests and religious who can function on their own in a complex world.
Practical Suggestions With Regard To Heterosexual Friendships Among Celibates
1. First, in actual practice many people involved in deep friendship have found that there is great strength in the deliberate effort of both to regard the other’s primary commitment to priesthood, religious life or marriage, as primary to both. To talk together about one’s own commitment and the friend’s commitment is mutually confirming and helps to keep active and productive in the friendship the real identity of both people.
SIGNS OF PSYCHOSEXUAL MATURITY
There is no magic moment at which we can proclaim to ourselves or to the world that we have “arrived at psychosexual integration or maturity.
In the area of sexuality, on-going integration may frequently take the form of doing “back up” work in areas of our lives that were either skipped over, neglected, or simply not dealt with. There may be some days when we feel permanently fixated at some primordial form of immaturity. We feel uneasy with our bodies, disappointed with our ability to communicate our feelings, overanxious about our health.
The Process of Psychosexual Development
Psychosexual development is a critically important area of human growth, whether a person enters priesthood or religious life, marries or remains single. “Both research and everyday observation indicate that a large percentage of problems in religious life and in marriage can be traced to faulty psychosexual growth.” So we can say that psychosexual development is another word for “growing up” in our relational lives. It is our personal journey toward integration as embodied human persons.