Is the single life a vocation
Is the single life a vocation? Before we answer the question, let’s first clarify what we mean by the word “vocation.”
There is the vocation of the laity which we are all called to by the grace of our baptisms. We have the mission of priest, prophet and king.
“By reason of their special vocation it belongs to the laity to seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and directing them according to God’s will. . . . It pertains to them in a special way so to illuminate and order all temporal things with which they are closely associated that these may always be effected and grow according to Christ and maybe to the glory of the Creator and Redeemer” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 898).
Our mission as laity is to go out and offer everything we do to God, and bring everything we have to God. Just like the in the ministerial priesthood, the priest consecrates the bread and wine to become the body and blood of Christ, so in the common priesthood of the faithful laity consecrate the whole world to Christ so that God’s kingdom can be built.
As baptized Christians this is our vocation small ‘v.’ Whatever your state in life, whatever you are doing you are called to do everything for God and bring everything to God.
I bring up this first definition of vocation to remind single Catholics that you are not in a waiting stage. At every stage of life God has a purpose for you. You are called to live fully for him. Everything you do has meaning.
There are two ways of life that involve living out the baptismal call in a way that allows us to manifest God’s love in the world and for the world, but that requires us to make a commitment to the family of God in a particular way. this is vocation big ‘V.’
Either through the gift of marriage, when I am giving myself to one person and we are bringing up the next generation of the children of God, or when I am giving myself in relationship to the entire Church as that universal sacrament of salvation and I am working for the good of the whole Church with my life through the priesthood and through religious life. In one way or the other I am making that committed permanent relationship to the family of God.
When single people ask if the single life is a vocation there is a question behind that initial question. There is that unasked question or worry: “Is God calling me to be alone for the rest of my life?” What if I haven’t met the right person for marriage and I don’t feel called to the priesthood or consecrated life? What if God is asking me to be single?
“The LORD God said: It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suited to him” (Genesis 2:18).
God created in our very being that need for community. We are not meant to be alone. We are called to serve each other and give of our self-gift—where we really discover who we are and what we are made of.
To Catholic singles that are longing for that community and to give of themselves: don’t give up. Keep looking for those resources that can help you to discern better and clarify your own mission so that you can understand where God is leading you. You are made for more.
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