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Q & A with Father Anthony



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What type of expression of love is allowed among consecrated persons?

Andy asks:

What type of expression of love is allowed among consecrated persons who are friends, I mean friends who are the opposite sex?

Dear Andy,

 When you consecrate your life to God, your whole pattern of relationships with other people changes, especially with those of the opposite sex. If a prudent Christian is always respectful and circumspect in his dealings with a person of the opposite sex, a prudent married Christian is even more so with all those who are not his or her spouse. And therefore a prudent consecrated person is very prudent and protective of his relationship with Christ and the reality of his consecration.

The principal concern of consecrated people is to deepen in the true love we have for others, but as what we are – consecrated people. This is not a self-centered "love" (using such friendship for one's emotional gratification) or the exclusive love for one person, nor is it a love that is too human in its motives and expressions, or one that is nurtured on the affection I receive from the other. It is a love first of all for those who are less-lovable, the sinner, the suffering, the poor, the struggling; a love like Jesus’, who saw them like sheep without a shepherd and began to teach them. A love that is prepared to give itself even for one’s enemy.

More than anything else, this true love for others is a fruit of our exclusive love for Christ, and must always flow from it. Our love for others is a reality because we love Christ totally and above all, to the point of opting for him above married love. Once that love is solidly and sincerely founded, we will have the discretion to be prudent, knowing our own weakness, in the way we deal with persons of the opposite sex. However, precisely as well because we recognize our weakness, we will also make sure to be accountable to a spiritual director so he can guide us in the various circumstances that arise and help us to be honest with ourselves and honest with God.

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