The Vow of Chastity
Prayer in silence
I ask God’s help
to relive my own history of living
in accordance with the vow of chastity
and to recall the helps of grace
that have come my way
through prayer and through community life.
The Vow of Chastity
“What pertains to the vow of chastity
requires no interpretation, since it is
evident how perfectly it should be
preserved, by endeavoring to imitate
therein the purity of the angels in
cleanness of body and mind”.
[ Constitutions n. 547]
1. Chastity in the Constitutions
• Why did Ignatius say almost nothing in the
Constitutions about chastity?
• Was he as some have attributed to him:
• to naïve?
• luck of practical experience?
• to a disembodied idealistic?
2. Possible reasons
• The Constitutions describe the genesis of
the Society as a body – the vow of chastity
is not properly formative or distinctive
element of the group…
• This topic was rarely raised in the culture
of the time (Benedictine, Dominican, and
Franciscan rules mention it only briefly).
3. The meaning of the expression
angelic purity
• It is used by the Fathers of the Church
when they speak of the consecrated life.
• Jesuit is “a man who will run in the path
of Christ our Lord” (582), shaped
progressively by his vows in the image
of the paschal Christ…
4. Chastity as a witness of a total
gift of oneself.
It express the love of a man “dead to
himself, surrendering his self-love, his
will, and his owns interests” (SpEx 189),
determined to serve God alone (53), and
“keeping God our Lord always before
his eyes” (547).
5. Life proper to the angel
Angelic purity is at the service (in the
mission) of “the love which descends
from on high (672; SpEx 237, 338); and
the companion is to be committed to a
total gift of himself, with the lord and
for him, to every other person.
6. Angelic purity; concrete meaning
• It indicates that it cannot be achieved right
• Process that involves a certain
orientation and an explicit decision to
be made, a path and a history to
traverse, a task to accomplish, training
and maturing to be undergone regarding
sexuality and affectivity.
• No disembodied or emasculated
angelism, no absence or ignoring of sex;
• But meaning of fullness, of the perfection
of all the human vital forces, new life,
resurrected, and received in Jesus Christ.
• Can be done only with the grace of
friendship and intimacy with Christ.
For reflection and discussion
• What has been my experience of living the
vow of chastity?
• Have I experienced the vow of chastity as
a gift of God to me?
• Have I experienced the help of my
brothers in the living of this vow?
• How do I regard superiors; do I have a
problem to entrust to them the intimate
details of my struggles with chastity?
In the Complementary Norms
In the Complementary Norms
CN 144-148 give a summary of
GC 31 decree 16,
GC 34 decree 8.
Just read them!
(And live them of course)
Traditional fundaments
Imitate Christ
Obey Christ
Trust Christ
Sacrifice to him the best
Enter the mystery of Lamb’s Weeding
Traditional fundaments
• A powerful testimony
• A sign of hope
• If our chastity is real, joyful, humble…
Is my chastity really
a ‘good news’?
- for me?
- for others?
Apostolic fundaments
Apostolic fundaments
• Availability and mobility
Do celibacy and chastity
help me to love
more, or less?
Better, or worse?
Apostolic fundaments
• Poor with the poor
Job and his friends
Apostolic fundaments
• Angelic healing role
Archangel Raphael healing Tobit…
When have I experienced that
chastity was really
a help for mission?
In what cases have I seen
the apostolic dimension
of this vow?
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