Ever wonder why all the superheroes—Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Spiderman—are never married? If Spiderman had a wife and children at home, he would have to think twice before placing himself in such danger for the sake of others.
Celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom is not just about an economy of time and energy, but it is literally about the freedom to die for others.
From How We Love: A Formation for the Celibate Life, John Mark Falkenhain, OSB
In today’s society, self-identity is connected with to educational options and a career path. In the past, one’s identity was more a matter of measuring yourself against something greater than yourself. We still see this dynamic at work when someone describes his or her life in terms of a calling, particularly in fields related to physical risks. For them, “Who am I?” becomes, “What do I have to offer?” In place of pondering, “What will bring fulfillment?,” the phrase, “I’m all in!” becomes life’s bellwether phrase.
Romantic heroism? Perhaps, but only to a degree. Consider a parent who witnesses an accident that results in serious injury to someone else’s son or daughter. Upon arriving home, the parent/bystander immediately gathers his or her own children and holds them close. At such a moment, the power of their calling becomes vivid in light of its vulnerability.
Now, place a celibate in a similar circumstance. To whom do priests or nuns extend their arms upon arriving home from the scene of a highway accident or the death of a child at a hospital? There exists no spouse or children to embrace. There exists only the jagged memory of a body on the gurney, a troubled teenager on the bridge, a comatose father on life-support or a battered woman in the ER.
To whom do they turn, these “celibate first responders?”
They turn to the One to whom they always turn. And, together, they weep. They weep as one weeps over an only child (Zechariah 12:10).
As a priest, celibacy is nothing less than a lifelong Search and Rescue mission. With no family at home, there is nothing to hold me back. So, I give my all.
God’s children are my children. They are all I have. They are everything I got.
What good is celibacy? It makes me “All in!”