Here I am at Basti's Brew - my favorite coffee shop - enjoying my capuccino. I see lovers around me celebrating Valentine's Day.
I am all alone this time. The last time I was here was over two weeks ago - with Yna, Lucy and Kristine. We had just finished our farewell dinner for Yna in a nearby restaurant and crossed over here for our usual capuccino and dessert. This is where we usually meet regularly for the last 3 years to enjoy each other's company and talk about each other's problems, hopes and dreams. With Evelyn and Yna in their respective convents in Manila now, and in the absence of a quorum, we won't be able to hold our regular "meetings."
So meanwhile, I am enjoying my capuccino alone facing my computer, oblivious to the lovers around me. Strange, I don't really feel lonely.
"I am not really celebrating Valentine's "(I tell myself). This is a day for lovers, not for celibates like me.
It is best celebrated with someone very special -- with someone you really love deeply and with whom you really want to commit yourself to. I have given up that kind of love when I committed myself totally to God and his Kingdom. But I have not given up the capacity to love people - although it may be a different way of loving.
The vow of celibacy and chastity is vow to love God and people passionately -- with all my heart, my mind, my soul. This love is expressed in deeds of charity, service, compassion and care for people -especially the poor and needy. The Greek word for this kind of love is Agape. It is different from Eros.
It would be inappropriate for a celibate like me to be involved romatically and sexually with another person. Yes, I may have close friends but there are boundaries that I will never violate.
It is difficult but it has be done - I have to maintain a safe distance, especially from women I am attracted to. Here's a poem I wrote a long time ago.
From a distance I gaze at you
How I long
to touch you
and to be touched by you.
But I'm afraid
I might have amnesia.
I might forget
who and what I am
and the promises that I have made
I'm more afraid
that I might remember
that I am human
and I have needs
that cannot be ignored.
I cannot move any closer
to bridge this formidable gap.
You will remain
a distant figure
a face and a name
that will haunt my imagination.
What a fool I am
a fool for Christ's sake.