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Married to Jesus: who are the “brides of Christ”?

The phenomenon of “Christ’s bride” is not too common in the modern world. Many have heard this definition, but not everyone knows what it means. Some people mistakenly believe that so-called nuns, but it is not — “sanctified bride” as they are sometimes called, live in peace, among us, but by their rules.

To date, worldwide, there are about 4 thousands of “brides of Christ”. Like the nuns, these women observe the vow of celibacy, to serve God, but live among us, go to work themselves fully provide. Putting on during the Church ceremony, wedding ring, bridesmaid consecrated voluntarily waive sexual or even just romantic relationships with men.

Jessica Hayes (Jessica Hayes) for 42 years, and it is “Christ’s bride”. Before the Bishop at the Church altar stood a woman in a wedding dress and veil, but she did not have the groom. Her betrothed, Jesus Christ, and that he she swears allegiance during a ceremony.

The sanctified bride is a phenomenon peculiar only to the Catholic Church, but even in Catholicism about them, few know. It happened because the Church only 50 years ago, have officially recognized this status, and before “brides of Christ” even existed, but were “outside the law”.

Jessica is frequently asked about her marital status to which she gladly responds.

“People often ask me: “So, are you married?”. Usually I explain that I look like a nun, fully committed to Christ, but live in the world.”

In the American Association of consecrated virgins was 254 the bride of Christ, living in the United States. These women work in various fields — among them are nurses, accountants, firefighters, psychologists, and even representatives of the business. According to a study conducted by the Vatican in 2015, there are about 4000 consecrated brides of Christ, and every year this form of service is becoming increasingly popular.

To distinguish the bride of Christ from ordinary secular women on the street is impossible — they dress in regular clothes, drive a car, socialize with friends, earn money. Interesting analog men consecrated brides do not exist — it is exclusively female ministries.

“I work as a teacher 18 years teaching in the same school where she studied, says Jessica about yourself. — Before becoming a bride of Christ, I realized that the lifestyle of a nun is not suitable for me”.

Time free Jessica conducts in prayer, and also meets with a spiritual mentor and communicates with the Bishop.

“I belong to the parish, which is only two miles from my house, and I can always come to the aid of family, friends and other parishioners. In addition, I also teach, so the whole day surrounded by people, but I always have time for the Lord.”

Prior to devote yourself to Christ, Jessica had a serious relationship with men, but, according to her, the joy she never brought.

“Like most women, I believed that family life is my calling. So I had a relationship, but they were not serious enough. I met good people, but no one wanted to live the rest of your life.”

In Church history, chastity has long played a very important role. A Christian Martyr paid with his life because of the fact that did not want to change his principles and enter into a relationship with men. As example, Agnes the Roman, who preferred death to marriage with the Governor, for which he was murdered.

Need to mention that in the Middle ages the institution of the bride of Christ has almost ceased to exist, as in those days were very popular monasticism. Until 1971, while the Vatican hasn’t officially acknowledged their existence, sanctified bride is not mentioned anywhere.

Jessica’s path to God was not easy. First, the woman met a spiritual mentor, a conversation with whom gave her to understand what she wants from life. In 2013, Hays took a firm decision to become a “bride”, but it took another three years before the ceremony.

“Despite the fact that I have remained the same duties as before the dedication, my life “before” and “after” are completely different. The attitude of the Lord as to the spouse is quite different from the relationship to the Lord as a friend”.

In modern society, where gender relations play a crucial role in such people as Jessica is not easy, but they are firm in their beliefs.

“I think the biggest problem for me is to be correctly understood by others. Our choice can be regarded as countercultural. And besides, many people simply say that I’m lonely. And I explain that to me God and my body belongs only to him.”

A year ago in the camp of the bride of Christ was seen by the turmoil. The Vatican has considered the question — whether there should be a sanctified bride is a virgin. In this respect, to the nuns and consecrated brides requirements are different. Giving the vow of monasticism, the woman rejects all past life and leaves the past behind. From “brides” before demanded of innocence before the ceremony.

Still, the Vatican allowed the Christians, who already lost her virginity, to undergo the rite. For the Association of consecrated virgins it was an unpleasant surprise, since they wanted their ranks to be made exclusively by virgins. And for women like Jessica, who did not find meaning in family life, the decision of the highest ecclesiastical court was allowed to marry Jesus and to devote his life to God, without going to the monastery.

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