In this volume, Br. John Mark Falkenhain, OSB, a Benedictine monk and clinical psychologist, provides a well-researched and thorough program for celibacy formation for men and women, adaptable to both religious and seminary settings. Attending to the theological and the psycho-sexual dimensions of what it means to pursue a life of chaste celibacy, Br. John Mark identifies and expands on four major content areas, including motives for chaste celibacy, theological aspects of celibate chastity, sexual identity, and skills for celibate living. Formation goals and benchmarks for discernment are discussed for each content area, and implications and suggestions for ongoing formation are offered.
A monk of Saint Meinrad Archabbey, Br. John Mark Falkenhain is a licensed psychologist with several years of experience in research, writing, and teaching in the areas of celibacy formation, formation for the priestly and religious life, and clergy child sexual abuse. Br. John Mark lectures nationally and internationally, and he is a Fellow in Human Formation with Saint Luke Institute in Silver Spring, Maryland. He has also served his community as vocations director, assistant formation director, and faculty member of Saint Meinrad Seminary.
"With his book, How We Love, Brother John Mark infuses the choice of a life of celibacy with new understanding and motivation. In addition to a welcome approach to how celibates can—and must—live an emotionally stable life in witness to the Gospel, he also provides the necessary framework for formators in religious communities and in seminaries to put their programs on a firm and measurable foundation. This book is a real service to the Church in time of need."
Justin DuVall, OSB, Vice-Rector of Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary
"Br. John Mark's treatment is timely and grounded in his experience of doing celibacy formation. It is theologically-balanced, psychologically up-to-date, and practical. A comprehensive guide for those involved in the ministry of formation as well as for those preparing to live a celibate life. Each chapter contains gems of wisdom."
Donald Goergen, OP, Author of The Sexual Celibate
"Brother John Mark has created a model of formation that pulls together all the varied pieces needed to prepare someone for a life of celibacy. From his experience in working with numerous religious communities and in the seminary, he gives practical advice for addressing the full gamut of challenges to celibate living. His material is equally useful for both men and women celibates."
Sr. Jane Becker, OSB, PhD, Monastery Immaculate Conception, Ferdinand, Indiana
"Celibate chastity, like any other virtue, requires careful formation. How We Love offers young men and women a guide for pursuing this desire and is an excellent resource for formators, vocation directors, and spiritual directors to ensure the quality of Catholic vocations today."
David Songy, OFM Cap, President of Saint Luke Institute
"How We Love provides significant insights for vocation and formation directors responsible for assessing candidates to religious life as well as readers who want to enhance their understanding of living vowed celibacy with integrity. Written with incredible depth, this essential resource focuses on answering two fundamental questions: `How well-formed do we expect someone to be before entering our programs?' and `Where do we expect them to be just before final profession or ordination?' Because vocation directors assess the personal characteristics of applicants for the capacity to learn the skills needed for vowed communal life, I highly recommend this book. It provides helpful and concise information for identifying the skills needed for cultivating healthy vowed celibacy."
Deborah Marie Borneman, SSCM, Director of Member Relations and Services, National Religious Vocation Conference
"With How We Love
, John Mark Falkenhain provides both the community of formators and the diocesan seminarian with a comprehensive approach to celibacy formation which is at once theologically rich, spiritually nourishing, intellectually coherent, humanly insightful and pastorally sensitive. Having experienced his Christ-centered approach firsthand during a formation workshop with our seminarians this year, I can confidently assert that this timely work will prove to be an invaluable resource for human formation directors and for the seminarians with whom they work.
"I wholeheartedly recommend How We Love as a methodologically-precise, well-researched, faith-filled and profoundly helpful process that maps the journey from self-knowledge to self-acceptance and into that inner freedom in Christ which alone allows the celibate to live dynamically and joyfully as self-gift for the sake of the Kingdom. A must-have for every seminary and house of formation."
Tomás Surlis, Pro-Rector of Saint Patrick's College, Maynooth, Ireland
"I am delighted to recommend How We Love as a comprehensive guide for formation in celibate chastity. I believe this lucid and practical guide will be extremely useful in both seminaries and formation programs of religious men and women. Academicians as well as directors of initial and ongoing formation will appreciate the breadth of research Brother John Mark Falkenhain, OSB, and his clear-eyed response to the contemporary challenges of preparing those called by the Lord to the commitment of celibacy. This book will help priests and religious continue to offer a joyful and mature witness to a life of celibacy as a free and generous self-gift to God and others."
Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, CSsR, Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey