December 3rd, 1980, Serial No. 00367

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Monastic Spirituality Set 1 of 12

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I've got it so complicated that probably it'll take the whole period, and we won't get started with talking. It took a lot of trouble to get it complicated, as you see. Sort of to try to pull things together and leave ourselves with a final view of this. Since it's a complex subject, but it's very central also, we can ask ourselves what should be the final focus in talking about celibacy, in talking about conservative virginity as Robert's topic. We can think about trying to get the whole picture, kind of theology of sexuality and chastity. Or we can take a practical point of view, how to do it, how to live that way. Or you can take a psychological view, too, you know, you can talk about how it works, the psychodynamics of chastity, that kind of transformation that we were talking about.


Or you can take examples of the people who have succeeded the saints, people who have really become transformed. The image of God has been realized. But what I'd like to do is do the first thing, really, and then sort of glance at the other points of view as well. That is, try to get the whole picture, either philosophically or ultimately theologically. In Robert's, and in the treatment that we've had, there are some elements that seem to be missing. You may notice that his treatment is very... when you look at the theology of it, it's very Christocentric, which is right. But there's very little mention of the Holy Spirit, and I think that the Holy Spirit is very important in the whole question of chastity and what happens as the person lives that life. Because we talked about interiorization, and this interiorization of a person's love as


entering into the heart is largely the work of the Holy Spirit. It's a matter of discovering the dimension of the Holy Spirit, or call it the presence of Christ in the Holy Spirit. And if we move from an exterior sexual relationship or attitude to an interiorized relationship, that is the work of the Holy Spirit. It's moving from the visible to the invisible, which means moving into that dimension of the Holy Spirit. But typically, the Western point of view is to consider it only in terms of Christ, the Word, and the Word incarnate. I was thinking of Mary as an example of virginity. That's right. That it is in the Holy Spirit that she lives as Christ. Because of that virginity, she has the Holy Spirit to bear fruit. That's right. Somehow, the mystery is expressed by Mary in a very subtle way.


I think we know that, and then we forget it because we turn our attention to more complex things. But look at St. Luke, Chapter 1. This is a good place to start, actually. Luke 1, the Annunciation scene. I'm just going to read a couple of verses because you're familiar with that whole Gospel. Gabriel predicts the birth of the Messiah to Mary. But Mary said to the angel, How can this be, since I have no husband? And literally, it's, I know not man. Remember? That knowledge being the nuptial knowledge, the knowledge of marriage relations. And the angel said to her, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. Now, Mary has this sort of incompleteness in this puzzle.


How, since I am only half of the whole, is this going to be accomplished? And this is typical of this whole business of chastity and of what we're going to be talking about. You move from the level of incompleteness of being only half of the image of God, and therefore being only half whole, half complete. I don't know how to call it. But anyway, that incompleteness, overcome by what? Overcome by the Holy Spirit. Because the Holy Spirit is the fullness, is the fullness in an invisible form. So from an incompleteness on the exterior level, and on the merely human level, to a completeness which, however, is interior. And in this particular case, becomes manifested exterior by the birth of the child, also in the flesh. But with us, it remains an interior fullness, until gradually it works its way through to the exterior, and then finally in the resurrection. But this halfness, this incompleteness on one level, overcome by the fullness of the


Spirit. I'd just like to leave that, and then we'll come back to it. And of course, virginity being giving, accepting that incompleteness. And incompleteness in many respects. We'll talk about not only the matter of not being able to reproduce, but not being able to be fully a human being, as we've seen, because certain means of development are different. In the chapter on poverty, it says here, virginity is a sign of deep human knowledge, which leads the way to confidence and spiritual replenishment of the rest of the cosmos. That's right, yeah. So we're expressing virginity as poverty, and we say it's incompleteness, it's limitation, it's being only half. And halfness is just symbolic of incompleteness and poverty. Okay. Especially when we think of the image of God as being, and therefore the full human person, as being male and female at once. Another thing that you don't find much in the treatment that we've had is the cosmos,


is the whole world, the universe. How does that fit into this? Because remember that marriage and sexuality deals with the body. The body is a part of the world. And also, somehow, remember way back in Genesis, at the creation, when God said, let's make a helpmate for man. It's not good for man to be alone. Now, celibacy should not be a moving into isolation, but should be relationship, somehow finding deeper relationship. And somehow, the world itself has to come into all of this. Somehow, sexuality is what is supposed to relate man also with his environment, also with the world, the cosmos. Not only with women, not only with another human being. But it's the relational dimension of man. And also, since it concerns his body. But we'll get into that a little bit. And you'll see it, obviously, when we get into the biblical field. You've already seen some of it. And then, of course, Roberts doesn't have time, really, to give us the whole theological


or biblical foundation, biblical context, the subject that he's talking about. And by this, I don't mean to be sniping away at his treatment, because he has to stick to the essentials, and he has to stay pretty close to practical issues. And so he leaves it to somebody else to look into the theological dimensions. It would be nice to be able to present the goal, that is, the finished product, the end point of chastity, in such a way that it would shed light on the road. In other words, that would be the idea. We'd be able to look at the significant, theologically, to look at what the determinist is, in such a way that light falls on the road. But we have to remember that the road is necessarily a dark road, once in a time. Precisely, when St. John of the Cross talks about his deserts or his nights of faith, it's privation of desire. That's the absence of light for him.


And so it has to be a dark road. It has to be the road of faith, rather than a vision. So we can't hope for a completely satisfying kind of light. That's obvious enough. But the important thing is to get ourselves located, oriented, properly, in a theological way, so that at least we get the light that's coming to us in our predicament, and the power that we need. So we're not ending ourselves in the wrong direction. Now, chastity seems to be a kind of theological axis that is very central in the Christian history. It cuts right through it. It's a way that sexuality is a language in which God has wanted to either express or conceal his secrets, it seems. There's something that links God, the Trinity, Christ, man, spirit, matter, world.


It's kind of a thread, and also a boundary line of decision, of crisis, which offers us a way of relating the whole totality of God's plan, God, man, and the world, to our own particular monastic way of renunciation, and also to our own most intimate experience. Somehow the language of the Song of Songs is that a way in which God has both expressed and concealed his most intimate secrets, the way in which he wants to be united to man, the way in which he wants to bring man into himself, his own reality. I say hidden, because hidden so that a lot of people don't even agree that it talks about that. And secondly, hidden because, as the Fathers say, until one arrives at purity of heart, one isn't able to read it on the level on which it's written. In other words, the erratic imagery of the Song of Songs gets in our way, so that it becomes a temptation, or a problem, rather than a revelation of God's love.


St. Bernard wrote his sermons on the Song of Songs near the end of his life, and he talks about that too. Now, the end is a wedding, or a wedding banquet. That's the language in which the kingdom, the symbolism in which the kingdom of God is given to us in the Gospels, and also in the Old Testament. This morning we had that banquet in Egypt, not the wedding. On this mountain the Lord will make a banquet of rich things and so on. And it's this fact and this anticipation which makes possible the road of solitude and of monasticism, because they're all in one line. There are different ways of looking at this road. A whole bunch of them. Let me mention a few of them, which you'll recall.


First of all, there's the biblical nuptial way. Remember that nuptial mysticism we were talking about? And this Roberts brings in where he says that we're the spouse of the Word, we're the spouse of Christ. Then there's this wisdom mysticism in the Bible, in which wisdom becomes the bride of man. And especially in the Book of Wisdom, chapters 7-9, which we won't read now. But this is a reverse sort of thing, where the communication of God somehow comes in a feminine form to man. And related to that is this mysticism of Judaism, which you find in the Zohar and the Kabbalah, of the Shekinah, of God, the presence of God, the glory of God. In some way, being the feminine dimension of God himself, and being united to God, and then somehow being able to be united also to man, as a kind of spiritual bride, very much like wisdom in the Wisdom books. Another way of looking at it, of course, is what happens.


Now, we're talking about what happens in this process, in this process of movement from one kind of relationship to another, which we generally consider as an interiorizing process, of moving from exterior love to interior, from human love to divine love, whatever's happening along the road of the souls. Luff talks about it, if you remember, as a kind of interior integration of... Well, first of all, a bringing out of the two poles, the masculine and the feminine, and evidently a kind of integration of those two poles, so that they interact properly. And that's following an attack of young people, the anima, the animus, and so on. Asa Jolly, the guy who wrote Psychosynthesis, when he talks about this mystical marriage, this is the way he discusses it, he describes it. I don't know if I read this to you before.


He talks about it as a union between the ego and the self, or the personality and the self. He says, In the mystics one can also observe the different steps leading from human love to love for a higher being, such as Christ or for God himself. This is the emotional aspect. They aspire to union with the Christ within. And some of them speak of it as the mystical marriage. In psychological terms, one would say that the goal of spiritual synthesis is the union of the personality with the spiritual self. For personality, a lot of people would say ego, say the normal, the ordinary level of life, whatever we are, the self, the ordinary self, with the spiritual self, with a capital S, that's Jung's self. The first representing the negative feminine pole, the other the positive masculine pole. So, the self as the bridegroom, the self with a capital S, and the little self as the feminine. That's a psychologized form of this nuptial mysticism we've been talking about.


There's some philosophers who talk about this thing in different ways. Joyce, remember Joyce and Joyce, that couple, I guess we're at Notre Dame now, they write about the interior union of the atom and Eve within the soul. I'll read you a passage from that later on, if we have time. So that we receive our own being as a gift. So that, as it were, the interior Eve receives the interior atom, which is our being. You may or may not accept that kind of thing. Another philosopher, Johann, talks about communion and being, that is, moving from a kind of love where we need things, where we desire things, a love of incompleteness, okay? Like the love ordinarily of man for woman and woman for man, where they're looking for completeness in the other being. But there's always a kind of inadequacy in this relationship because they never really get completed in an ultimate way.


And there's always a tension in the relationship. And the relationship somehow terminates with the death of one part, even though it's not ultimate. There's one kind of love which is that kind of needy love, that desire love, that tense love, that hungry love. And there's another kind of love which he calls communion, and which moves through the self, moves in a vertical direction, as it were, and communion with being, so that, as we could be united with all other beings in their centers, as we move more deeply into our own self. This reminds me very much of Merton, Merton's notion of the true self, very close to this. And then some of the psychologists talk about the sublimation and the transformation of energy. Freud already talked about sublimation, and Jung, in a way which is much more open to the spiritual. You can talk about the movement from the image to the reality, in this sense.


That woman is in some way the image of man, also part of the image of God. It's as if man is the image of God, woman in some way. In woman, man finds his own image, projected outside of himself. He finds himself, he finds his own interior, as it were, projected outside of himself. And so he seeks that other part of himself. But moving from seeking the image, or the completion of the image of God, which is yourself, or your own image, outside of yourself, which is the other person, the woman and the man, to seeking the archetype of the image of God, which is God himself. So, moving from just seeking the other half, or just seeking your own reflection, your own projection, your own image, to seeking that of which you are the image. Now this is a pretty far-reaching way of looking at the whole thing. And it involves also moving from the level of sacrament, or simple, to the level of reality.


Instead of staying on the level of the surface, or the symbol of the image, of that which is visible, tangible, and so on, palpable, in this world, that which is matter, you move to the reality of which you yourself are the symbol, which you yourself are the sacrament. And so becoming filled with that reality, once again, if you think of the Holy Spirit, you become then fully the sacrament of what we're talking about, of God, of the archetype. So talking about self as a completeness, a complete self, we can't find our complete self alone. Okay, so then, in community, we begin to find our complete self as we begin to see our self through others? Okay, now community, I haven't brought up community, but in community, a lot of things happen. One of them is you begin to be able to accept yourself, okay? A community is supposed to help a person to do that. Now, not everybody needs that. Some people have already experienced it.


But for many, they have to learn to accept themselves, and until they do that, they can't love anybody else, and they can't really love God. So community, for them, can be an image of the love of God. Acceptance by others can be sort of the manifestation, the symbol, the sacrament of acceptance by God, which is the ultimate thing. Does community help us to complete ourself? It does, but not in too obvious a way. Community helps you to complete yourself, something in the way that marriage or a family would help you to complete yourself, on one level, okay? But it's as if we've got to talk about two levels here. On one level, community helps you to complete yourself. Why? Because it teaches you, it helps you to absorb from others, and teaches you to grow by interaction with those around you. And also because the others in the community compliment you in some way.


They compliment you, and they also bring to birth that which is in you, which corresponds to what they have now, and you don't have yet, okay? So it completes you in that way. We learn from our brothers and sisters, okay? They bring us to maturity, and that's on one level. That's still on the human level. Then there's this other level of communion. When you really arrive, you go through community, and arrive at communion, then something else happens, and you move, once again, from that level of incompleteness, and one of us helps the other, one fills in for the lacks of the other, one brings another to completion. You move from, one educates another, and so on. You move from that into this level of being, of fullness, in which we participate in a fullness together, where we find everything, completion, no more duality, no more dualism, no more need of that same kind. And it's a different direction, you see? Which is what the New Testament is talking about, when it talks about communion, koinonia in the early church. It's that level just of participation in this fullness,


which is different from becoming fulfilled, or educated, or completed by my brother, and by my brothers on this other level. Even though the two are related, and I'll tell you the second one in a pose. But one is much deeper and further reaching than the other. One is the Eucharist, the Eucharistic experience. It's already a foretaste of heaven. Whereas the other remains a marginal reality. But in a religious community they're interconnecting. So in one we participate in the other, too. In completing one another, and helping one another, sharing with one another, we're expressing that community, we're experiencing that community, too. It's not as if they're totally distinct. Just like helping one another with material goods, that sharing of goods, completing the others, filling up the others' need, like St. Paul says, this is a visible expression, on the level of human life, of that invisible community. So the two levels are the same.


So it says, love thy neighbor as thyself, because in a way your neighbor is yourself. You are one. That's right. Your neighbor is yourself, because you both are growing out of the same ground. And because you are really one in your source. You're one and yet distinct in the way that the persons of the Holy Trinity are one and yet distinct. And ultimately, the source of all this, the ultimate source of everything that we're talking about is the Trinity, which is communion. We can call that a wedding, if you want. If you want to talk about it in terms of sexuality, so that we can relate it to celibacy, then you speak of it as a wedding, the alternate wedding. Whether you choose to talk about that in terms of the union between the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit, or in another way. Another way of looking at this is the way in which


Martin, remember, in The New Man, he recapitulates St. Augustine, talking about how we go back and reverse the consequences of original sin. So, through original sin, we have been gathered within ourselves and somehow united, held together by the love of God, by the presence of God. Then we fell outside of ourselves and below ourselves, and so he talks about the process of return as a process of introversion and some kind of sublimation to it, so that we come back within ourselves and then from there go to God. But I'm including the original one. And then another way of talking about this whole thing is moving from desire, and this is St. John of Crossman, moving from desire to faith and to pure love. Desire for that which is visible, for that which is sensible, especially that which we can sense, we can experience, perceive, to the emptiness of faith and ultimately to pure love.


And so one has to go through these deserts of purification, the purification of desire through these deserts, these nights that he talks about. Okay, that's all kind of confusing because there are so many ways of looking at it, and we can't expect really to get them together. This is sort of the puzzle of life in the end. But let's look at several aspects of, at least of the end point of the goal. First of all, the union of man with Christ or with God, ultimately with God. God is the bridegroom, man or Israel or whatever it is, is the bride. Secondly, the union of man with... Wait a minute, is that it? Yeah. With Christ or God as bridegroom.


Secondly, the union of man with wisdom as bride. Thirdly, the interior union of the two poles of man's nature, bringing together the masculine and the feminine, the animus and the animand. Or simply the unity of the self within itself. But then there's another joining, another unity, which is man with the cosmos. This is part of it too. In some way we've become separated from the world, or our relationship with the world has become messed up. So there's... These are four dimensions, as it were, of this wedding that has to take place. Then there's another one, which is the union, of course, of man with man, with mankind. And this is what the Church is. The union of man with man in God. And those other ways of talking about the process or the end point, the goal can be really subsumed under these five, I think. At least insofar as they concern man. We're talking about man's... My tendency at first was to look at the whole thing


as being a process of moving from the outside to the inside, moving from an external kind of relationship, a marriage, in other words, or that kind of relationship between man and woman, to an interiorized relationship. That's the way that you seem to get it in the mystical literature and also in Scripture, in part. But that's not complete enough, is it? Because the end point is not an interiorization, but the end point is somehow a return to the outside. The end point has to bring in the whole of the world. The end point is a cosmic reality. So even though the monastic life leads in the direction of this interiorization, and celibacy has that meaning and leads and helps in that way, yet that's not the whole of it. And if we only look at it in that way, we can be in danger of having too narrow a point of view. And we can get very isolated also. We can get the whole thing introverted, just the way the Jungian point of view tends to look at man,


tends to look at psychology, but everything inside of it tends to tempt you to forget the world around you as well as it hurts you. It's difficult to have a concept of interiority and say this is what it is and then try to actualize it, rather than having the Holy Spirit teach you what it is. Yeah, yeah. A lot of those pictures just don't... They help us in a way, they seem to explain something, but in the end we realize that it has to be God's action within us. But it can't be a human... Like we have moving parts inside of us, and in some way of looking at those parts, we're going to figure out how it has to get integrated. But that can't be it. Somehow God's Spirit has to come and be itself the principle of union, the principle of integration, rather than some particular joining, some particular chemistry of our insides.


Even like that national covenant within us, that's probably only scratching the surface, maybe pretty deeply, but the core of it has to be somehow God himself, the key to our inner reintegration. I wanted to read, just to get this notion of totality, a page from Clement in his book Questions About Man. And excuse my clumsy translation, I may have written it down somewhere, but I haven't got it translated yet. He's talking about the end point. This is the last page in his book, as a matter of fact. And his last chapter was entitled The Feast or the Celebration. Now, the Paschal Feast, like the Eucharistic Feast or Celebration, which actualizes it, are themselves only an anticipation, but a real and nourishing anticipation of the definitive feast, the definitive celebration, that of the New Jerusalem. Then God himself will dry the tears from our eyes.


That's Revelation 21. And the ecclesial symbolism of the feast will be at one time abolished, done away with, and universalized. The feast, the celebration, will reveal itself as being the essence of things. So far he's only talking about the feast, but it turns out to be a wedding feast. There will be no more temple, for the lamb irradiated will directly illuminate all things. And even the cooking pots will be holy, one of the prophets says. The feast, the banquet, will reveal itself, the essence itself of human nature, fully assumed in the love between persons, in the image and in the magnetism of the Trinity. The feast, the celebration, will reveal itself, in particular, the essence of eros, of human love, and especially of interpersonal love, sexual love, and of nourishment. Double Eucharistic rapport to the other person and to the world. I thought that was particularly deep.


In the wedding banquet idea, he draws together nourishment and the sexual thing. Rapport of man to the other person and to the world itself, symbolized by the feast, the bread, the wine, whatever. The feast will reveal itself, in particular, the essence of eros and of nourishment. These are two symbols that work for this ultimate, this last reality. And so the sacramental importance, both of marriage and of food and drink, the Eucharist. St. Paul says, this Mysterium Magnum, this great sacrament, great mystery, when he talks about marriage. For the kingdom will be a wedding banquet, as at Cana. And then his final words are a quotation from the Brothers Jeremiah. Behold the bride and the bridegroom. Behold our Son. Capital, our Son is the bridegroom. Ages of ages. And behold, that new wine is being brought.


That's the maximum picture, sort of, the whole picture, the whole thing. And everything that we're talking about when we talk about celibacy fits into that picture somehow. There are some philosophical views of this whole thing before finishing with the theological view, but I won't spend very long on them because they're hard to get a hold of. There have been several Catholic philosophers who have written about marriage and celibacy on the basis of St. Thomas. It's kind of hard to, it's kind of hard to grab. One book in this line is Pieper, about love. Have any of you read Joseph Pieper? I have his other book. He's a Thomist, and he presents St. Thomas very clearly in love. And here his whole problem is how to get together, how to get from eros to agape, you know? There was this Protestant theologian, Nigren, a Scandinavian, who wrote a classical book now called Eros and Agape,


in which he says the two are completely separate, the two are completely distinct. That is, the human love of desire, the human need love, the self-centered human love, has nothing in common with the love which is the expression of the Holy Spirit, which is the love which comes from God, which is agape, a generous, overflowing love, which you find in the New Testament, especially in St. John, but also in St. Paul, agape. So he says agape has nothing to do with eros, with the ordinary human love. And Pieper is trying to explain how you get the two together, and also, of course, in doing that, how you move from one to the other, because it's taken for granted that we start out with a needy human love, with a love of desire, and our end point, as expressed in the Gospel, in the New Testament, is this agape, is our participation in this overwhelming, overflowing and unselfish love of God,


which is given to us. So he asks, well, how do you get there? Because his thesis is, of course, quite absolutely opposed to Nigren, that the two are not that distinct, and that somehow they're joined together by nature, or potentially by nature. And he says, surprisingly, that the basic love, following St. Thomas, that our basic love is our love for ourselves, because it's built right into us. And our first love is self-love, really. It's a self-love which we don't have to feel guilty about, because we're not responsible for it. It's built into us so that we cannot not have it. And it's the desire for happiness. And if we think we can do without it, we're mistaken. We can't. And he even said, we're supposed to say, we are that impulse. We're like an arrow that's been shot from above, so that we are that movement towards happiness. So where does our choice come in? Our choice comes in where to seek that happiness,


whether to seek it in the ultimate way itself, or in something else. And also, whether to seek it in, somehow, the happiness of other beings, or only in our own happiness. So ultimately, he finds a way of making the transition from eros, from this needy love, this desire love, to agape, through the principle of self-love being built into our nature, and our participation in the very act of love by which God loves us. And the fact that, I'm really not making this very logical, the fact that in this love, there is necessarily joy, there is necessarily satisfaction, there is necessarily delight. This is also true of the love of adaptive. That love essentially contains joy,


essentially contains delight. And here again, once again, you see the connection with self-love. Because of nature, this is true. But it's also true in God's way. And that in fact, love itself, ultimately, is delight. And that the satisfaction, ultimately, which we have in the happiness which we seek, ultimately, is to be found in love itself. Because to love is to rejoice, and to love is to be happy. So that's what makes the bridge between self-love and unselfish love, agape. Ultimately, beyond nature, something else has to come into it, that is this gift from God, this gift from the Holy Spirit, which raises it to another level. But even though it raises it to another level, it's still completely in harmony, as it were, with nature, with the way that we've been created, but we have no other way to convey it. The principle which seems to help you


and get you across, first of all, is this principle of participating in the act by which God loves. So that just as we participate in the act by which God loves us, we can participate in the act by which God loves somebody else. And he defines love as being approval. It's the feeling or the expression that it's good that you exist, that I want you to exist, I want you to be. So that's just kind of a suggestion. It's a sloppy way of presenting this thing, we don't have time to go into it in full. But St. Thomas has very rich insights to offer on this whole question. And we're not talking about St. Thomas' treatment of celibacy here, nor does Peter talk very much about celibacy, but we're talking about this process of moving from one kind of love, one level of love to another, which we thought of sometimes as interiorization. It's interior, but it tends to move


towards the outside normally, because it'll tend to move towards another object, towards another person, towards something else. Yeah, it can be, once it seizes on God as a possible object, then it can move towards you. That's right. The first problem, though, is to be able, is to have God present himself to you in such a way that you can love him. Because you can't love him until you know him, that's the thing. Arrows can't be drawn until it seizes on you. We don't see God without senses, that's the problem. Another philosopher who builds on St. Thomas is Johann, who's a Jesuit, and I'm going to be unfair to him too, but just try to sketch very briefly what he's talking about. He talks about movement from a desire kind of love, a love of something because it perfects you, because it completes you,


because it fulfills you, to another kind of love, which he calls direct love. St. Thomas calls it the love of friendship, amor amatuer, which is the love for another person because of the good that he is in himself. Okay? So one of these is on the level of sort of qualities that you need to fulfill yourself or that you admire and desire in another person. The other is on the level of real appreciation of that other person and somehow communion with the other person in the being that you share. Those two kinds of love. Now I'll read you a bit from his concluding pages. This is still a philosophical treatment before we get to the level of theology, but you'll find that the philosophical treatment can go pretty deep, actually, and complements what we get, for instance, from the Scriptures. Since it comes from a knowledge of man's own experience.


The dynamism in man has two dimensions. One of them looks to the outside. It is a dimension of exteriority, a teleology, that means a purposefulness, situated on the plane of the relative and based on a passive synthesis of act with potency. That's Aristotelian language, domestic language, scholastic. It consists in the quest of the potential for what it lacks, of nature for its completion. In virtue of this drive, man looks out upon the world that surrounds him and seeks to appropriate what he needs. First of all, what he needs for survival, but also, and hardly with less urgency, whatever may contribute to his natural perfection. Then he goes on, concretely. Now that's the first dimension. There is nevertheless another dimension, more profound. It is the dimension of interiority, based on man's participation in the eternal presence of being to itself. Now he capitalizes being. So this is man's participation in God's own presence to himself. Now here we get into those merging, fusing kinds of words


that confuse us a bit, that begin to blur. It's all right. Based on man's participation, participation is an important word there, which we'll talk about in another time, and the eternal presence of being to itself and achieved to the inwardness of consciousness. So you can see, when we talk about celibacy, that this is the direction in which we move in the monastic life, in the celibate life. It looks to the progressive fathoming by the finite self of the unique value of the unique self, capitalized, in whom he actually participates. That's God himself. It's a structure of finality situated on the plane of the absolute, a drive not to possession or the appropriation of impersonal goods, but to communion, a key word. The communion of act with act, capitalized, of a person with the source of all personality, of being with itself. In each case, the second word is capitalized. Thus man's destiny,


this is his conclusion, is ultimately not a pursuit but an unfolding. His goal is not a fragment on the horizon, but a God on whose fullness he draws. His basic choice is not what good to acquire, looking around for this or that, but what orientation to assume. Will he be attentive to the presence of being, capitalized, once again, means God. Will he respond to the invitation of the infinite? Only by answering the gift of self, capitalized, the gift of God, with the gift of himself, can he ever fully and consciously be what he is. Only by animating the torrential multiplicity of his desires with the fire of a single love, a love whose term is ultimately more himself than he is himself, can he realize fully and consciously in his own life that interiority and adhesion to being in which he participates. And that communion with being is capitalized every time, to which he is called. Only by digging deep into the value of self will he break through to paradise. But he doesn't mean giving up one of those kinds of love just to give oneself


completely to the other. He's talking about a convergence of the two, a merging of the two. Anyway, you can read this out if you're interested. I just want to point it as a possible way of dealing with it, which is very much in the direction of Merton. Even though Merton doesn't talk philosophy much toward the end of his life, he talks in the language of Zen, in the language of his own experience. But that's the direction he goes into. He goes into a sort of metaphysical direction, it seems, toward the end of his life rather than the theological end, in our Christian terms. This book of Joyce and Joyce is a very rich one. And I'm just going to read a couple of passages for a sample of it. We'll be finished with this philosophical thing because we've got to finish this one. And I'm not tying


these things together properly. I'm not synthesizing. That would be quite a job. I'm just giving you a few hints. This is in chapter four of their book. The name of the book is New Dynamics in Sexual Life. The meaning of celibacy is this chapter. Each person is profoundly called to receive the gift and grace of his own being. As he receives the gift he becomes himself. His very existence becomes dynamic in his life. But one who fails to receive his being into the depths of his personality remains passive and estranged from his power for the joy of being himself. Estranged from his power for the joy of being himself. She's talking about... This is the wife that's writing this book. She's talking about self-acceptance, really, and receiving oneself. And it's related also to that integration of sexuality that Robert was talking about a moment ago, of recognizing and then accepting, integrating your being.


To be or not to be, that is the question. These words of Hamlet voice the deepest of human freedoms, the power of the person to receive or to reject his very existence. Usually we think we're free to do something or not to do it. We associate freedom with action rather than with attitudes. But our most original freedom is the ability to choose an attitude toward being. This is our first decision and it influences every one of our choices in what to do or not to do. Simply whether we say yes or no to life, to being. One who deeply receives his being into his awareness, into consciousness only, begins to understand something about the inner life of God, the relation of the divine persons as a continuous act of giving to and receiving from one another the grace of being. Creation is a unique result of this infinite celebration. God says to be as if the creation were to say to be. Only man says to be or not to be. Man is on the razor's edge of decision. But man is called to become more like God in the joy of being himself, the joy of saying


nothing but yes, and participating in this creative act by which God says be. And which is a loving act by which God brings us into existence. This gets us back to Pieper's point of view. The attitude of receiving one's being as a gift is the most authentic way of loving oneself. Unless the person receives his own being as a gift, he cannot receive the gift of others. Erich Fromm says of persons who love, they are one with each other by being one with themselves rather than by fleeing from themselves. On the other hand, where true selffulness is lacking, self-acceptance, selfishness, instead of love and charity appears. The person who can receive himself and actively be himself in his aloneness and singularity, and here we're talking about celibacy and solitude, discovers his power for being his sexuality and freedom. He discovers his capacity for actively being loved without necessarily engaging his sexual functions.


His sexuality becomes dynamic without the need for becoming genitally dramatic. Thus the act of receiving the gift of being overflows into the gift of true sexual freedom. I'm going to skip a part and then read that part about the interior marriage. Purity of heart is the very being of love. It's on page 53. It is the beatitude of true sexual freedom, and this joyful gift is prophetic of the fullness of resurrection that begins in this life. Here she begins to go beyond philosophy. As a way of being, celibacy is also a kind of marriage. The person who deeply receives the gift of his reality enters into a union with himself that becomes an interior marriage, a union of the Adam and Eve within himself. The inner Adam is the being of the person that is given to him. The inner Eve, emerging within the being of the person or coming from Adam, is the power for receiving the being that is given. The failure of the inner Eve


to receive the inner Adam is the original failure of the person in the face of being, a fall from which he is in need of resurrection. This is extremely deep. I don't quite understand it. The marriage within each person is the original union to which he is called. This inner union is the consummation of his aloneness. It is also the fulfillment of his openness to the existence of all that is. In some way, in accepting himself, receiving himself, in this way, he becomes open also to the rest of being, to the world, the cosmos. In receiving the open aloneness of his being, the person receives his being within the world. It's all hyphenated. It sounds like Heidegger. Being within the world. Another kind of union. Thus, the celibacy of being is the most basic meaning of marriage. As a single way of life, then, celibacy is an affirmation of the positive celibacy of being and not a negation of any kind. This is the end of the chapter.


The new creation is slowly being born out of the old and our new bodies are gradually being born in us as we receive our being. And then she quotes Romans 8, 22 and 23 about the old universe being in childbirth. Such is our resurrection into freedom including true sexual freedom. The life of the new creation is conceived and growing in this world and this time. Though the resurrection of the whole person is not completed in this life, it's meant to begin and to grow, advancing more and more toward the ultimate human maturity. Many are now called to the celibacy of being and true sexual freedom, revealing the light-giving and warmth-giving sun in the center of our sexual nature. It's like talking about that power, that energy that Roberts calls eros, which is the energy that's the source of all of our life and which is somehow subject to our freedom so it can be turned in one direction or another and somehow is capable of being a sun that warms the whole of our personality rather than sort of being


drained out or short-circuited or one thing or another or dispersed. The resurrection of genitality into the freedom of being loved without necessarily engaging in genital functions is essential to this revelation. Being loved? What was that? Of being loved. Being loved is a one expression. I think she means being as an adjective. What do you call it? Open love. Yeah, being loved. Okay. Oh no, she means it as the freedom of being loved without necessarily engaging in genital functions. So it's a participle. The freedom to be loved without necessarily acting. Okay? Sexually. The new earth that is latent in the old creation groaning in one great act of giving birth calls upon the creative powers of deeply intensive people


who are growing in the freedom of their own resurrection. Now, just a final short quote on the relationship of this interior integration with our insertion into the world, with our integration with the world around us. The relation of sexuality with the cosmos. The act of union that is most significant for engaging the deepest energies of human existence is union with the world, an environment that is wide open and cosmic in its impact. This act of union is more a dynamic state of being than a manner of behavior. Each person exists in a state of being in the world. Being in the world is hyphenated, too. The total energy of his existence in its bodily, emotional, and spiritual aspects witnesses to his union with the world. We don't think about this very much. We think about ourselves as being detached. And then, a little later, each person's relation with the world


while being the matrix of his daily experiences is also his deepest sexual union. In terms of our relationship with the world this is a sexual relationship in some way. His being in the world is toned from within by the sexual mystery. A woman's depth relation with the world is sexually different from that of a man because her being is sexually different and so on. And so, you can see at least a relationship which makes it possible for this inner integration to extend to an integration and a different relationship, a new relationship with the world around us, not just with people but with the material world. I'm sorry to leave that so incomplete and to throw so much stuff at you so quickly. In the few minutes that we have I'd like to get to the more distinctly theological dimension. In reading Mrs. Joyce's thing we've already got into that because she's talking about the new creation, the resurrection. Does she capitalise


the word being? Does she talk about receiving being? No, no. She doesn't care. Would it be better if she didn't? No, because when you capitalise it it usually means God. In other words, to capitalise means to demonise in that case and she's not talking about receiving God, she's talking about receiving our own being, our created being. But don't we get that from God? We get it from God but it's not God. Sounds as if she's sort of separating and making it too separate. Well, she is keeping them separated, yes. Is she? Yes, very much so. She's talking about receiving our own being, call it on the psychological level. She's a philosopher. This is on the created level, quite distinct from our receiving God. Now, another person might come along and say, we normally do that as you receive God or as God is in you receiving your being but she doesn't say that. The theological views, first of all, remember Knight's view, David Knight, where he talks about


celibacy as self-expression. Now this is moving out from the grace that you have received and trying to manifest it in your whole life. Okay, so that's not interiorization but it seems to be the opposite. He's just expressing the other side of it. Celibacy has a response to that grace that you receive. He's not talking about how celibacy works in you but he's talking about how celibacy comes out of you once you receive the vocation, say the monastic vocation. And he says it moves through the whole of your being because man's nature is to express himself and to manifest what he receives interiorly, spiritually in the whole of his life and especially and ultimately in his bodily life and that is the thing that is said, it's the statement that's made by celibacy. Okay, now I'm abbreviating very much. That's in his book, remember, by A Fire by Night


in that long chapter on spousal love. On celibacy is expression. For instance, pages 59 and 60 and 66 and 67 and so on. But finally, I want to put the whole thing in a biblical context as much as I can. Okay. Remember Robert's statement. Just as conversion of life is the heart of the monastic life, consecrated virginity is the very heart of conversion of life. Okay. So he's putting it at the center of monastic life and kind of significantly using the word heart because it has to do with the heart. It's a transformation somehow in the heart moving from a certain rooting of the heart in one kind of relationship in a sexual kind of view


of life to a freedom and purity of the heart by which it somehow becomes taken up in the Holy Spirit taken up in this other dimension. So the emphasis that I was trying to make in leaving a final picture of celibacy is centering on the heart and centering on the Holy Spirit and on the way that the Spirit picks up the body as the Spirit comes into the heart creates a new heart begins to pick up the body to assume it to take it up into God on the way to the resurrection on the way to this spiritual body that Saint Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians 15. Okay. Now we only arrive to a limited extent along that road in this life. It needs to be finished in the next life. But celibacy in other words is related directly to eschatology


to the resurrection of the spiritual body that thing that's got to take place. It's trying to get there a little earlier or something like that. Trying to realize that that event already in this life The scripture passages that I would that I would quote would be such ones as from Galatians on the flesh and the spirit. But there the flesh is is something that's under the under the domination of evil and the spirit is purely good. We don't want to see it in two black and white terms but there is that movement from the level of the flesh to the level of the spirit. In another place he talks about the war between the spirit and the flesh. Remember in Galatians 5 it's a question of the works of the flesh and the fruit of the spirit. In Romans 8


it says this He says There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus for the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death. Oh, I'm skipping something. For those who For God has done what the law weakened by the flesh could not do sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh and poor sin he condemned sin in the flesh in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh but according to the spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh but those who live according to the spirit set their minds on the things of the spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death. It is dualism once again of life and death on the level of the flesh and on the level of the body. To set the mind on the spirit is life and peace and it goes beyond the dualism. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God


and does not submit to God's will. But you are not in the flesh you are in the spirit if the spirit of God really dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you although your bodies are dead because of sin your spirits are alive because of righteousness. If the spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through the spirit who dwells in you. And so on. So it's this movement from the level of the flesh to the level of the spirit. There we're talking about a level moving from a level of sin to a level of godliness. We've got to remember that don't look at marriage as being on the level of the flesh and the level of sin because that's not so. There's a danger when we take those categories of St. Paul of looking at the difference between celibacy and married life as prejudicial to marriage and all that. It's not so. But that's more like moving from the present


to the future. Moving from the sacramental to an attempt to reach the direct relationship or the fuller or complete relationship with God. You can think of the Holy Spirit as advocate as presence as companion. This choice which a person makes when he takes up the celibate life of what's going to be present to him who's going to be present to him is it going to be another human person or is it going to be God? In a way, it's as simple as that. Do you live in the warmth of a whole human presence or do you live in the warmth the inner fullness of the presence of God? Yeah. Yes. That's the problem because God's presence can be very elusive and prejudicial. I'm going to quote


one last passage from St. John 17 which might not immediately seem to be relevant but it is. It's the final prayer of Jesus. When Jesus had spoken these words he lifted up his eyes to heaven and said Father the hour has come glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you since you have given him power over all flesh to give you glory and to give eternal life to all whom you have given him and this is eternal life that they know you as the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. Now it sounds like he's praying for about twelve different things during this prayer but I think he's praying for one thing and that one thing can be called either the glory that the Father is to give him and is to radiate out from Christ to those who belong to him or it can be called the Holy Spirit. I glorified you on earth having accomplished the work which you gave me to do and now Father glorify me in your own presence with the glory which I had with you before the world was made. Now


categorically we would want to say well he's talking about the Holy Spirit that would be too that would be too simple it would be too crude but it certainly comes close to that and this is related to that presence in that reality beyond dualism which we're talking about when we're talking about celibacy. When we talk about what is to be given to us in exchange for that which we give up in exchange for that which we abstain from. Let me continue going on. I do not pray for these only but also for those who believe in me through their word that they may all be one even as you Father are in me, I in you that they also may be one in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory which you have given me I have given to them that they may be one even as you Father