Very often, in fact I would say inevitably, a priest is often presented with this particular question by a curious individual – “Father, just what exactly do you do when a beautiful woman walks up to you and says ‘Hello’?” In such a case, I honestly have to say to the woman, ‘Hello’, in reply. Now such a question does not deal with manners, but rather is asked in reply to difficulties a celibate man or woman faces in his or her life.
While it certainly is tempting to reply, “Go and take a cold shower,” it would not address the issue. In all seriousness, God created us as human beings with real wants and desires. Part of that package includes our very real human sexuality that is hard-wired in each and every one of us. A celibate religious person would be a fool to try and remove their feelings from their lives. To do so would be to deny your very humanity and would eventually lead to big problems that would eventually destroy him or her.
You see, we cannot deny the humanity that God has given us. Yet, with God, all things are possible, and when we open our hearts wholly to God, Our Lord can fill us with His Divine Light and Grace that fills us with an overpowering joy that overcomes all obstacles and all passions. God’s loving grace and energy can fill us, so that when we do see beauty, instead of gorging ourselves on pleasurable passions, we lift each other to God in faith and love. The trick is to truly understand what we are called to be in Christ; only then do we recognize the dignity that is inherent in the beauty of each person, a dignity and beauty that comes from our being created in the
image and likeness of God.
Rev. Paul J. Makar writes for the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Pittsburgh.