"The longer I live, the more I am aware of a reaching out for the
intimacy of a man-woman relationship. I am not thinking simply or
primarily of physical loving, but of the more wide-ranging trust or
intimacy which is at the heart of companionship, which involves
our affective sexuality, but which is distinct from physical intimacy."
[Dominic Gaisford, OSB, "Cast Your Bread on the Waters," in
A TOUCH OF GOD: EIGHT MONASTIC JOURNEYS, St. Bede;s
Publications, 1982, p. 164.]
Comment: "Love" is a word bandied about at so many levels of
human experience. Most of us love, fall in love, love in so many
expressed ways that such is hardly countable. On the other hand,
I have noticed in religious writings these tiers or categories of
Love as expressed by theologians, religious, and monastics.
And Fr. Dominic had the courage to write about his need for a
certain kind of love. At the time he wrote this article, he had been
long a monk at Worth Abbey, in England, as well as having had
served in Peru for a time. In other words, he was a seasoned
monk who had worked in a number of monastic capacities.
However, reading his sentences about his need for intimacy, it
was as if he were attaining towards a different kind of maturity,
not just going up the service ranks of being a monk. But because
he had declared living the celibate life, he needed to *qualify*
the terms of any love relationship he might hope to encounter.
Being outside the walls, though I can never count myself "wise"
when it comes to love, I rather imagine that it would be difficult
for a man and a woman to love one another without some sort
of physical intimacy. It's accomplished, of course, but it's far
from complete. Underneath any qualified love between the sexes
there's the glow burning away.
This *glow* stokes love, but under special circumstances I can
only presume that it's burn is controlled by a certain behavior
towards one another. No doubt it's do-able, but surely there
must be some sort of understanding between the two parties.
And maybe it's enough, though I suspect one side of the bond
will suffer more from the relationship than the other.
But one thing for sure, Love is a need whether a monk or not.