Dear friends and family,
In this issue of our newsletter we will introduce to you our alumni from around the world: by that I mean the men who, out of their desire to pursue the Lord, have investigated the life of the Servants of the Word but, through their investigation and discernment, decided that their path of discipleship lay in a calling other than the brotherhood.
Some of you might ask why a young man would even consider living the life of the Servants of the Word. In the traditions of the ancient churches – the Catholic and Orthodox – It has been common for men to live celibate lives as priests, monks, and members of religious congregations. This expression of Christian life has been far, far less common in the churches of the Reformation, and it has been almost unheard of in the newer churches.
In the Servants of the Word, we have had men from all of these traditions who choose, or at least investigate, living consecrated celibacy. But why? Why would a young man consider giving up marriage, family life, a normal career, and all the things that go with those things and choose the life of the Servants of the Word?
In the first paragraph of our Covenant, our written rule of life, we state:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has not withheld any spiritual blessing from us, but has generously lavished upon us the riches of his grace (Eph. 1:3–4, 7–8) . . . In response to the exceeding greatness of the gift of God (John 4:10), we give our lives to him.
Those who investigate or choose the life of the Servants of the Word have come to recognize that all has started with God. Theirs is simply a response to God’s grace-filled initiative.
A little further on in our Covenant we state why this response would lead a man to consider consecrated celibacy:
For the sake of the kingdom of heaven (Matt 19:12), we will not marry. We give up a wife, a sexual relationship, and children, even though they are good things that a disciple may have. We do so as a response to God’s invitation to consecrate ourselves to him. We want to use the freedom that comes from our decision not to marry to glorify the Lord and advance his kingdom.
Those who investigate or choose the life of our brotherhood do so “for the sake of the kingdom of God,” and the decision to live as a Servant of the Word or to choose some other way of discipleship is “to glorify the Lord and advance his kingdom.” Whichever state of life a man chooses after discernment, he does so as “a response to God’s invitation.” We are blessed by our brothers in the Servants of the Word and equally blessed by our “alumni.”
We remain brothers in Christ in our desire to live “for the sake of the kingdom of heaven” and to “glorify the Lord and to advance his kingdom.”
Enjoy your reading!
Your brother in Christ,