Posted in codependency

The Gift of Celibacy?

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)

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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! 

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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” 

Register HERE
Register HERE

 

Posted in creativity, Discernment, Empowerment

What is Your Magic? Part I

Each and every one of us has been uniquely and creatively gifted to be a vessel through which LOVE is made manifest in our world.   In service to this unique giftedness, we have also been blessed with a certain kind of magic which allows these gifts to be used in service to the betterment of the world and in ways that are no less than miraculous.  In the Catholic tradition in which I was raised, this magic is referred to as charisms, known in other traditions as spiritual gifts or in the yogic tradition as siddhis.

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From the perspective of the Catholic tradition, The Catherine of Siena Institute has identified twenty-six charisms or spiritual gifts:

  • Administration
  • Celibacy
  • Craftsmanship
  • Discernment of Spirits
  • Encouragement
  • Evangelism
  • Faith
  • Giving
  • Healing
  • Helps
  • Hospitality
  • Intercessory Prayer
  • Knowledge
  • Leadership
  • Mercy
  • Missionary
  • Music
  • Pastoring
  • Prophecy
  • Service
  • Teaching
  • Voluntary Poverty
  • Wisdom
  • Writing
  • Speaking in Tongues
  • Interpretation of Tongues

A charism is not, however, to be confused with a gift or a talent.  Talents are something we learn.  Charisms are something with which we are endowed.  The mark of a true charism is in its effortless accomplishment and in its miraculous fruits.  When we are engaged in our charism, we find that the work of doing it is effortless and the results are far beyond what we know ourselves to be humanly capable of.  The reason for this is that when engaged in our charism, it is not ourselves who are doing the work, but God doing it through us.

In the coming days, we will explore all twenty-six charisms with the goal of helping you to discern your own special brand of magic and how God might be calling you to be a vessel of God’s love in the world.

Today…..we will start with administration, celibacy and craftsmanship.

The Magic of Administration:

If we do not personally possess the magic of administration, we know someone who does.  In my pre-entrepreneurial days, I witnessed the greatest examples of the magic of administration in church secretaries.  Not limited to those in secretarial roles, the magic of administration is present in those who are gifted to make and execute the logistical plans that make the overall vision happen.  Administrators specialize in problem solving and in seeing the forest through the trees.  They are detailed, organized and thorough.  They have the uncanny ability to see the unmet needs and organizational gaps in a project and are strongly motivated to meet these needs themselves and to assign tasks to those best able to accomplish these tasks while expertly coordinating all the various components in accomplishing the task.

The Magic of Celibacy:

Celibacy is a challenging topic in our Western culture.  The most familiar image of celibacy in our Western culture is the vow taken by some men and women as they enter into religious life. Choosing celibacy as part of a religious vow and possessing the charism of celibacy are not necessarily one and the same.  Celibacy is also not to be confused with chastity.  Celibacy, as a charism, is the ability to live a life without sexual intimacy and marital commitment and to live this lifestyle joyfully.  Celibacy as a charism is embraced with the knowledge that absent relational commitments, one is being freed up to focus their attention on another calling, most likely reflected in an additional charism.

The Magic of Craftsmanship:

The charism of craftsmanship is about creative expression that results in the material.  Painting, sculpture, cooking, sewing, construction, etc,  In craftsmanship, we distinguish a charism from a gift or talent in the way that engaging in this activity deepens our relationship with God (love, peace, joy, contentment) and is a means through which we express that relationship.  Is performing our art an outpouring of the love we have come to know in God or as a celebration of that love?  Do we find that engaging in our art feels meditative, even prayerful?  Is the outcome of engaging in this charism beyond what we believe we are humanly capable of?  Does the sharing of our art inspire others to know love, peace or joy?  If so, our artistic and creative expressions might be the mark of a charism.

Stay tuned in the coming days for more on charisms and on the invitation for you to discover your own special magic.