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Does the 'generic rite' say that the religious are espoused to Christ? lol maybe I just need to look up the rite... ;) does anyone have a link?

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Pax et Bonum, I share your thoughts here. There is definitely spousal language in the Rite of Religious Profession also, and since as Fr. Dubay points out that the individual soul can be called a bride of Christ, it wouldn't be incorrect for a female religious to be referred to as this also (although at the same time I acknowledge that it is not the same as being Consecrated as a Virgin and given that title, as Fr. Dubay also points out)

 

In St. Alphonsus' work, The True Spouse of Jesus Christ, he includes includes both Consecrated Virginity and Religious Life, and especially addresses how religious ought to live out their vows (though this may have been a time when most cloistered religious were CVs, though I don't think he is only addressing cloistered religious here), http://www.scribd.com/doc/4560772/The-True-Spouse-of-Jesus-Christ

 

 

 

I have never heard of any either. I have read many private revelations where Our Lord refers to religious as His brides/spouses for sure (including non-cloistered religious life St. Faustina & Sr. Josefa Menendez) but not specifically their religious Habit being a wedding dress. Personally, I've never really thought of the Habit as a wedding dress, but think that's a beautiful concept for some to have (especially if their Habit is white! :smile3:) 

 

 

As I see, the changes to the 1970 revision of the Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity was really more a matter of style than substance. The central consecratory prayer and most of the major antiphons were retained, but the major elements of the revised Rite were re-arranged in such a way so as to fit into the post-Vatican II order of the Mass.

 

A few non-essential elements were also dropped, like the singing of the “Te Deum” at the end of the ceremony (though I suppose even today you could still work in a “Te Deum” if you used a version of it as a recessional hymn). There also used to be a solemn anathema pronounced against anyone who would dare harm the newly-consecrated virgins!

 

Of course, the “splitting” of the two versions of the Rite was very significant, since it explicitly allowed women who weren’t cloistered nuns to become consecrated virgins. But the two versions of the Rite are still nearly identical to each other. The big difference is that the version for nuns allows for solemn profession of religious vows to be made during the Rite, and the version for women living in the world provides a formula for the candidate to state publicly her resolve to persevere in a life of virginity.

 

I don’t think that the revision of the Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity was intended to change how we understood women’s religious life, although I think it did draw attention to the fact that consecrated virginity per se religious life properly so-called are actually two district—if at times overlapping—vocations.

 

Personally, I don’t think it’s wrong for nuns or Sisters who aren’t consecrated virgins to regard Jesus as their spouse.  And in many cases, I think that the bridal imagery used by some women’s communities (like the Poor Clares) can a beautifully appropriate reflection of their charism. But I think that this “spousal” dimension is more a matter of their personal spirituality rather than it is an identity or title conferred formally by the Church. Canonically, religious life as such is not the exact same thing as the call to be a bride of Christ, even though it can harmonize exceptionally well with a woman’s personal experience of feeling called to give herself to Christ as to a spouse. The upshot of this is that a Sister can still be a very faithful religious even if she doesn’t see her relationship to Christ in spousal terms.

 

On the other hand, the call to be a consecrated virgin is in and of itself a call to be as a bride of Christ, and the Church does officially expect all CV’s to identify themselves this way.

 

Thanks for the replies! :)

 

Yes because of all the imagery and because of the cases with the Saints who were nuns having a 'bridal' relationship with Our Lord - I always took for granted that this is how it is. The discussion made me a bit confused because I don't understand how the Church would only give the CVs the official title of "bride of Christ", but others also have that spirituality: I'm still trying to understand that lol. I don't deny at all that CVs are brides of Christ, they are. But I'm trying to understand about religious life. Hmm... if anyone has any additional thoughts, please do share :)

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Does the 'generic rite' say that the religious are espoused to Christ? lol maybe I just need to look up the rite... ;) does anyone have a link?

 

 

I gave you the text to the most pertinent texts in the first couple of posts.  You won't find much more in the generic Rite of Profession in the Roman Pontifical that will reference espousals.  You will find a lot more in the same Roman Pontifical in the Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity in terms of espousals because that is the essence of the vocation!

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St. Alphonsus de Liguori is writing to nuns not to virgins.  In his book, The True Spouse of Jesus Christ, he is using the term "consecrated virgin" and "virgin" to mean "chaste nun" and "nun".  This was common in the days when the vow of chastity was all that was necessary for most religious.  Only a small minority of religious received the consecration of virgins in his time and so he was not addressing them nor considering them.

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Remember that for about one thousand years, consecrated virginity per se, particularly lived in the world, was not common.  Phrases that originally designated virgins were used to describe female religious.  Now, we are reclaiming the language and reality. 

 

Note that this process is the same for deacons.  All those books assuming that deacons are on the track to the priesthood... now must be read in light of the fact that we have restored the permanent diaconate and so we do not automatically assume deacons are simply on track for priesthood.

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I don't want to get into a long response. Just a theological quickie...the Church is primarily the spouse of Christ. All members of the Church are therefore spouses of Christ but the different vocations of Marriage, Consecrated Virgin and Religious image this back to the Church in particular ways. The mystery is too big for us to understand it well in one way so we need to have it lived out before us in various ways. That's the really short version.:-)

 

Consecrated Virgins live out their sponsality in a very specific, unique way that images to the Church the total self gift of virginity to Christ.

 

Married people image to the Church the unity of Christ to His Bride, the Church

 

Religious image the total self-gift of Christ, obedient to the Father even unto death. Men religious image it in one way---that of the servant and women religious image it in another way, that of the spouse. And then there is the further specification of the active and contemplative life.

 

As a contemplative nun who has been professed for 20 years I wouldn't like to see anyone on this board saying that I am not espoused to Christ. It is much more than a feeling. It is an ontological reality. The ring on my finger isn't pretty and shiny like it was 20 years ago but the true test of one's self-gift is fidelity and that is much more beautiful!

 

From our Solemn Profession Rite:

Blessing and Giving of the Ring

 

Celebrant:

 

Creator and sustainer of the human race, giver of all spiritual grace, send forth your blessing + upon this ring, so that, sealed with the sign of holy faith, she who wears it may be strengthened  by your power and assisted by your protection to persevere in love and fidelity all the days of her life.

 

All:  Amen.

 

Celebrant: (he places it on the 3rd finger)

 

Receive this ring of divine faith, given in the name of the most Holy Trinity. Be faithful to Jesus, your Spouse, so that you may come to the wedding feast of eternal joy.

 

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On the 'am I or aren't I eligible?' question: I think Cardinal Burke recently confirmed that any woman who had knowingly and deliberately engaged in sexual relations was not eligible for consecrated virginity per se.

 

http://canonicallyspeaking.blogspot.com.au/2011/09/physical-virginity-as-requirement-for.html

 

If you're not eligible, don't panic. There are still private vows of chastity or religious life.

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I don't want to get into a long response. Just a theological quickie...the Church is primarily the spouse of Christ. All members of the Church are therefore spouses of Christ but the different vocations of Marriage, Consecrated Virgin and Religious image this back to the Church in particular ways. The mystery is too big for us to understand it well in one way so we need to have it lived out before us in various ways. That's the really short version.:-)

 

Consecrated Virgins live out their sponsality in a very specific, unique way that images to the Church the total self gift of virginity to Christ.

 

Married people image to the Church the unity of Christ to His Bride, the Church

 

Religious image the total self-gift of Christ, obedient to the Father even unto death. Men religious image it in one way---that of the servant and women religious image it in another way, that of the spouse. And then there is the further specification of the active and contemplative life.

 

As a contemplative nun who has been professed for 20 years I wouldn't like to see anyone on this board saying that I am not espoused to Christ. It is much more than a feeling. It is an ontological reality. The ring on my finger isn't pretty and shiny like it was 20 years ago but the true test of one's self-gift is fidelity and that is much more beautiful!

 

From our Solemn Profession Rite:

Blessing and Giving of the Ring

 

Celebrant:

 

Creator and sustainer of the human race, giver of all spiritual grace, send forth your blessing + upon this ring, so that, sealed with the sign of holy faith, she who wears it may be strengthened  by your power and assisted by your protection to persevere in love and fidelity all the days of her life.

 

All:  Amen.

 

Celebrant: (he places it on the 3rd finger)

 

Receive this ring of divine faith, given in the name of the most Holy Trinity. Be faithful to Jesus, your Spouse, so that you may come to the wedding feast of eternal joy.

 

With all due respect, I do not see anything you have written that explains your position of being ontologically the bride of Christ after I have actually cited documents that support my position.  Perhaps you have ecclesiastical writings that prove that religious life is spousal on par with the level of consecrated virginity?  Do you have any documents that indicate that the Church gives to religious the title of Bride of Christ specifically in the same way as when she does in the Consecration to a Life of Virginity for Solemnly Professed Nuns or Women Living in the World?  Have you actually picked up the Roman Pontifical and pondered the huge differences in the prayers and homilies?
 

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Sr. Mary Catharine, thank you very much for sharing your thoughts here! I was intending to post some excerpts from Solemn Profession ceremonies similar to that too.

 

The Church herself emphasizes the discipleship part of life lived according to the evangelical counsels, rather than emphasizing any kind of bridal imagery.  I think this was a wise move on the part of the Church because the Church wanted to make the distinction clearer that the vows are the heart of the vocation to religious life, not a bridal spirituality.  Yes, the male religious or female religious reflects the Church as Bride more fully than your average baptized person... but discerning religious life is primarily about whether one is called to take on these specific obligations as a way of following Christ.  This is a lot different than discerning a spousal vocation- vocation to marriage or consecrated virginity.  I encountered this in my own discernment process.  Is a specific way of life, a particular charism my call?  Is being married to a man whom I love tenderly in God my call?  Or is being married to Christ directly my call?  Some active religious communities want you to think that the heart of discerning their way of life is whether you are called to be a bride.  It isn't.  It is whether to follow a charism.

 

ABC

 

Personally, I have always felt the call to be a spouse of Christ was the central and most important aspect of the Lord's call, at least how it has been for me. I knew nothing about the charisms of different religious Orders for a while into my discernment, but rather experienced from the start the call to be a bride of Christ and this has always been the focus. When I learned more about religious life and the different charisms, I saw that rather as a means that will help me towards this end. And as much as I love the charism of Carmel and the Poor Clares, this is secondary to the primary call to be a bride of Christ. Of course I am a lay woman now and do not know where I will end up, but I do not believe my focus on the call to be a spouse of Christ means I am not called to religious life.

 

St. Alphonsus de Liguori is writing to nuns not to virgins.  In his book, The True Spouse of Jesus Christ, he is using the term "consecrated virgin" and "virgin" to mean "chaste nun" and "nun".  This was common in the days when the vow of chastity was all that was necessary for most religious.  Only a small minority of religious received the consecration of virgins in his time and so he was not addressing them nor considering them.

 

If St. Alphonsus de Liguori referred to Nuns (most who did not receive the Rite of CV) as spouses of Jesus Christ, cannot they be referred to as such today then? Does the reintroduction of the Rite of Consecrated Virginity for those living in the world change this? I don't think it should. I am not sure if comparing these two vocations in this way, referring to one as more a bride of Jesus than the other, was the intention of the Church.

 

 

 

 

I don’t think that the revision of the Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity was intended to change how we understood women’s religious life, although I think it did draw attention to the fact that consecrated virginity per se religious life properly so-called are actually two district—if at times overlapping—vocations.

 

Personally, I don’t think it’s wrong for nuns or Sisters who aren’t consecrated virgins to regard Jesus as their spouse.  And in many cases, I think that the bridal imagery used by some women’s communities (like the Poor Clares) can a beautifully appropriate reflection of their charism. But I think that this “spousal” dimension is more a matter of their personal spirituality rather than it is an identity or title conferred formally by the Church. Canonically, religious life as such is not the exact same thing as the call to be a bride of Christ, even though it can harmonize exceptionally well with a woman’s personal experience of feeling called to give herself to Christ as to a spouse.

 

I agree with your thoughts here, although I would say, at least for the Poor Clares and Carmelites I have spoken with, for them being a bride of Christ is really seems to be central to their identity, and not just a part of their spirituality. I remember well when the Prioress at Iron Mountain Carmel gave me a copy of Verbi Sponsa she really spoke of it in this way.

 

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The CV doesn't just reflect the virginity of the Church, she embodies her spousal relationship to Christ.  I have already highlighted the fact that the Church continued to have this Rite despite the existence of solemn religious profession for women and said it was for a complete and perpetual spousal self gift.  IF religious profession is per se spousal, then this would be redundant.  Therefore, one must conclude it is NOT spousal.

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I agree with your thoughts here, although I would say, at least for the Poor Clares and Carmelites I have spoken with, for them being a bride of Christ is really seems to be central to their identity, and not just a part of their spirituality. I remember well when the Prioress at Iron Mountain Carmel gave me a copy of Verbi Sponsa she really spoke of it in this way.

 

 

 

That's the problem.  It's like the old school pastor who does not want a permanent deacon around.  Wait!  You mean the Church really expects a deacon to give the homily now and then?  Seriously? 

 

The convents have been so used to bridal spirituality that they resist the idea that maybe this is something that they do not have a proper claim to, and that the CVs do.  This will probably bring forth better discernment among women in the future when they can separate the call to a spousal relationship with Christ vs. a discipleship relationship. 

 

Hopefully, this will lead to an interest in communities that do provide for the Consecration.  This is similar to priests.  Men can distinguish the difference between being a secular priest vs. a religious priest but to the uninitiated, the distinction is blurred and people think secular priests have the same obligations as religious ones.  Not all religious males are priests.  Not all religious women are consecrated virgins.  Some priests are secular.  Some CVs are secular.  But people have to start realizing that the formal ontological relationship of Bride of Christ belongs to CVs just as the formal ontological reality of holy orders belongs to priests.  Yes, we are all priests.  But only men with holy orders are ordained priests.  Yes, we are all brides of Christ.  But only virgins  consecrated are brides of Christ who share the title and charism of the Church.

 

Edited by abrideofChrist
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I gave you the text to the most pertinent texts in the first couple of posts.  You won't find much more in the generic Rite of Profession in the Roman Pontifical that will reference espousals.  You will find a lot more in the same Roman Pontifical in the Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity in terms of espousals because that is the essence of the vocation!

 

My bad.  I meant the Roman Ritual for priests contains the Religious Profession and the Roman Pontifical contains the Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity.  Only a bishop can consecrate a woman into a bride of Christ.

Edited by abrideofChrist
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The CV doesn't just reflect the virginity of the Church, she embodies her spousal relationship to Christ.  I have already highlighted the fact that the Church continued to have this Rite despite the existence of solemn religious profession for women and said it was for a complete and perpetual spousal self gift.  IF religious profession is per se spousal, then this would be redundant.  Therefore, one must conclude it is NOT spousal.

 

I don't know how one could say the Rite of Religious Profession isn't spousal though. I am not trying to say this is the same as Consecrated Virginity. But I am trying to understand this. 

 

 

Solemn Blessing or Consecration of the Professed
 
Father in heaven,
the desire to serve you is itself your gift,
and to sustain it is your care.
For this and all your gifts we give you thanks and praise.
With love no words can tell
you created the human family
through your Word in the Holy Spirit.
You took our human nature into communion with yourself.
You make it your bride,
radiant with your own likeness,
and adorned with the gifts of everlasting life.
Even though your bride was deceived by the devil,
and broke faith
you did not abandoned her.
Love for your servant Noah
moved you to renew the Covenant
you first made with Adam.
(Then from the race of Abraham, the man of faith,
you chose a people destined to outnumber
the stars of heaven.
By the hand of Moses
you sealed a Covenant with them in the tables of the Law.
From age to age
there arose from this favoured people,
holy women renowned for devotion and courage,
sanctity and faith.)
In the fullness of time
you raised up a holy virgin from the stock of Jesse:
the Holy Spirit was to come upon her,
and your power overshadowed her,
making her the Immaculate Mother
of the world’s Redeemer.
He became poor, humble, and obedient
the source and pattern of all holiness.
he formed the Church into his bride,
loving it with love so great
that he gave himself up for it
and sanctified it in his blood.
In your loving wisdom
you have led countless daughters of yours
to follow him as disciples
and be honored as brides (or disciples espoused to Christ, I have seen both translations, what is the original Latin?)
(With their rich variety
the Holy Church is a garden of many splendors,
a bride adorned with jewels,
a queen robed in grace,
a mother rejoicing in her children.)
Father, we earnestly pray you:
send the fire of the Holy Spirit
to warm into flame
the resolve he has kindled in the hearts of your daughters.
Lord, may the glory of their baptism shine again
with the innocence of newborn life.
Strengthened by the vows of their consecration,
may they be always one with you in fervent love,
faithful to Christ, their only Bridegroom.
May they cherish the Church as their mother
and love the whole world as God’s creation,
teaching it to look forward in joy and hope
to the good things of heaven.
Lord, holy Father,
guide the steps of your servants
and guard them on their pilgrimage.
At the judgment seat of the King of heaven
let them not fear him as their judge,
but hear the voice of their Bridegroom
inviting them to the wedding feast of heaven.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
 
 
 

The convents have been so used to bridal spirituality that they resist the idea that maybe this is something that they do not have a proper claim to, and that the CVs do.  This will probably bring forth better discernment among women in the future when they can separate the call to a spousal relationship with Christ vs. a discipleship relationship. 

 
Cannot Nuns and CVs share this though? Perhaps some Orders do view the Rite of CV as redundant to Solemn Profession, while others do not that have kept it like Benedictines and Carthusians. Maybe others decided to not continue its use in fear that it could hurt those in the community that could not receive it and cause disunity, which would be a greater factor in our current broken culture. Sponsa Christi encouraged Nuns to receive this Rite. This might be one of the reasons at least that many of them did not continue with it long after that Apostolic Constitution.
 
Regardless though, the Rite of Religious Profession looks to be very spousal indeed and this is their heritage taken from the original Nuns who were CVs. I think because of this that they can still be called brides of Christ.
 
Something else is that, in your original posts here, http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/topic/122838-bride-of-christ/ you were comparing the Rite of Religious Profession to the homily to be given at the Rite of Consecration of a Virgin, rather than the Consecratory Prayer itself, which does not have more spousal language than the Rite of Religious Profession, http://consecratedvirgins.org/usacv/sites/default/files/documents/VocRes/rite.pdf (posting link for others to refer to)
 
Still I do still see that the Rite of Consecrated Virginity is something unique to Solemn Profession, for instance in its permanent character, with the possibility that the Pope could dispense someone from the obligations of religious vows (& they could validly enter marriage after this) while this would not be possible for a CV, right? also the requirement for a CV to be a physical virgin is unique to that Rite. 
 
Anyway, sorry I am thinking out loud here in much of this post. I am still trying to understand this. 
Edited by Chiquitunga
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With all due respect, I do not see anything you have written that explains your position of being ontologically the bride of Christ after I have actually cited documents that support my position.  Perhaps you have ecclesiastical writings that prove that religious life is spousal on par with the level of consecrated virginity?  Do you have any documents that indicate that the Church gives to religious the title of Bride of Christ specifically in the same way as when she does in the Consecration to a Life of Virginity for Solemnly Professed Nuns or Women Living in the World?  Have you actually picked up the Roman Pontifical and pondered the huge differences in the prayers and homilies?

 

abrideofChrist:

 

Forgive me for singling out a post of yours, but one challenge of having a conversation in writing, rather than in person, is that we don’t have non-verbal cues like facial expression and tone of voice. So you might not have meant it this way, but this sounds kind of like you were trying to be sarcastic and wanted to put Sr. Mary Catharine down.

 

As a very general observation not directed to any one person, a lot of times here, when a post sounds like it’s a personal attack as much as it is a criticism of someone’s argument, it becomes difficult to consider the ideas objectively. Even when someone makes a good point, if they do so in a way that comes across as snarky (even if they weren't originally intending to be so), the merits of that point can become obscured by the emotions which are stirred up by the snark.

 

When I was studying theology, I recall one of my professors pointing out that St. Thomas Aquinas (who regularly wrote in a rather argumentative format!) used to represent his opponents’ arguments even more convincingly that his opponent themselves did. And obviously, this generosity and graciousness didn’t hinder St. Thomas in getting his points across.

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My bad.  I meant the Roman Ritual for priests contains the Religious Profession and the Roman Pontifical contains the Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity.  Only a bishop can consecrate a woman into a bride of Christ.

 

I don't see it in the Roman Ritual searching online, but it's in this separate set of books, http://www.amazon.com/Rites-Catholic-Church-Vol/dp/0814660371

 

There is another unique aspect of the Consecration of Virgins - its requiring a Bishop, like the Consecration of a church building. 

 

What I'm confused about now though is how is a CV specifically consecrated as a bride of Christ, to a greater extent than a Nun who hasn't receive the CV)? I can understand how she is specifically giving her virginity to Christ in this Rite, which is unique to Religious Profession, but I am still wondering about the term bride of Christ. I do not see this specifically in the Prayer of Consecration itself. It is in the homily yes and I see it in one of the questions before the Prayer. 

 

Bishop: 

Are you resolved to accept solemn consecration as a bride of our Lord Jesus 

Christ, the Son of God? 

Candidates: I am. 

 

 

 
But not specifically in the Prayer of Consecration itself. I was thinking before that it must be something like "I consecrate you as a bride of Christ" However, maybe that is not necessary. For sure I believe CVs are brides of Christ 100%  But what I am trying to understand is how they could be considered brides of Christ to a greater extent than Nuns. You mentioned Fr. Dubay said this in his book on Virginity though... so I must go read that.

 

Loving Father, 

chaste bodies are your temple; 

you delight in sinless hearts. 

Our nature was corrupted 

when the devil deceived our first parents, 

but you have restored it in Christ. 

He is your Word, through whom all things were made. 

He has made out nature whole again, 

and made it possible for mortal people to reflect the life of angels. 

Lord, 

look with favor an your handmaids. 

They place in your hands their resolve to live in chastity, 

You inspire them to take this vow; 

now they give you their hearts. 

[Only you can kindle this flame of love, and feed its brightness, 

giving strength and perseverance to our will. 

Without you our flesh is weak, 

bound by the law of nature, 

free with false freedom, 

imprisoned by habit, 

softened by the spirit of the age.] 

You have poured out your grace upon all peoples. 

You have adopted as heirs of the new covenant 

sons and daughters from every nation under heaven, 

countless as the stars. 

Your children are born, not of human birth, 

nor of man’s desire, but of your Spirit. 

Among your many gifts 

you give to some the grace of virginity. 

Yet the honor of marriage is in no way lessened. 

As it was in the beginning, 

your first blessing still remains upon this holy union. 

Yet your loving wisdom chooses those 

who make sacrifice of marriage 

for the sake of the love of which it is the sign. 

They renounce the joys of human marriage, 

but cherish all that it foreshadows. 

[Those who choose chastity have looked upon the face of Christ, 

its origin and inspiration. 

They give themselves wholly to Christ, 

the Son of the ever-virgin Mary, 

and the heavenly Bridegroom of those 

who in his honor dedicate themselves to lasting virginity.] 

Lord, 

protect those who seek your help.

They desire to be strengthened by your blessing and consecration. 

Defend them from the cunning and deceit of the enemy. 

Keep them vigilant and on their guard; 

may nothing tarnish the glory of perfect virginity, 

or the vocation of purity which is shared by those who are married. 

Through the gift of your Spirit, Lord, 

give them modesty with right judgment, 

kindness with true wisdom, 

gentleness with strength of character, 

freedom with the grace of chastity. 

Give them the warmth of love, 

to love you above all others. 

Make their lives deserve our praise, 

without seeking to be praised. 

May they give you glory 

by holiness of action and purity of heart. 

May they love you and fear you; 

may they love you and serve you. 

Be yourself their glory, their joy, their whole desire. 

Be their comfort in sorrow, their wisdom in perplexity, 

their protection in the midst of injustice, 

their patience in adversity, 

their riches in poverty, 

their food in fasting, 

their remedy in time of sickness. 

They have chosen you above all things; 

may they find all things in possessing you. 

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, 

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, 

one God, for ever and ever. 

All: Amen. 

 

 

 
The part I highlighted does not seem especially different than the language used in the Rite of Religious Profession.
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