My vow of holy chastity within the monastic Order of Julian of Norwich is more about relationship than anything else. When we made our profession to the order at our home church, some people asked if Lisa and I could stay married under this vow. Good question! Well of course we could, because there is a difference between chastity and celibacy. Chastity is a matter of living in right relationships.
I reflect on my relationship with God, my spouse, all people, and all creation. Here are questions I might ask myself in keeping this vow. How am I growing in intimacy with God? How well do I hear and understand Lisa? Do I strive for justice and peace among all people, and how well do I respect the dignity of every human being? I also ask what steps do I take to improve our environment and help keep the earth green?
Of course my marriage vow with Lisa is a big part of my practice of chastity. But my baptismal covenant and my responsibility as a steward of the earth are also part of my chastity vow. It’s a major spiritual challenge for me and I have grown and learned a lot by living a life of chastity in this way. Look inside yourself and see what you find.
Calvin Wulf is a writer, spiritual director, and retreat facilitator who lives in Colorado with his wife Lisa. He has a passion for Christian spiritual formation drawing from the ancient spiritual traditions of the Apostles, and Christian sages through the ages. He is also a vowed oblate of the contemplative monastic Order of Julian of Norwich.
TAGS: Spiritual Formation, Christian Discipleship, Spiritual Growth
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