Wednesday 27 May 2015

Vocation to Single Life Denied!

Just saw this.

I shall now go all trad on you all, and say that the solution to the problem is to stop thinking of anything but religious life and the celibate priesthood as a vocation.

My friend Aelianus once went on at great length about how being single and then being married (and presumably single again when your spouse dies, I would add, and then maybe getting  married again) is just ordinary human life. A vocation, he says, is a call OUT of ordinary human life.

If you're single, or if you're married, don't get all twittery about your "vocation." You've got a state in life. If you're single, you have a harder row to hoe, I think, although parents of young or violent children might argue with that. My own life is way happier now that I'm married, but nobody is drooling formula down my shirt and I don't have a son in jail.

If we just go back to the idea that the only vocation-vocations are religious life and the priesthood we can all calm down and get on with life. Singles won't feel like they are being shamed when people argue there is "no such thing as a vocation to the Single life" and marrieds won't think our state in life is just as noble and as worthy and as much a sign of the Kingdom of Heaven as that of vowed religious. It isn't. Come on. I am still scratching my heads at the fury of married old ladies in theology school at the idea nuns and priests might secretly think they have chosen the better part. They did. What's the deal?

Monastics--especially virgins--are in first place; they have dedicated their entire lives to God. They get first prize. The rest of us get super-happy-fun-romantic-time, or faint copies of it, instead. There is actually no mention of super-happy-fun-romantic-time in the Gospel, so it is a good thing for marriage that Our Lord went to the wedding at Cana, otherwise St. Augustine would have lost the early Christian marriage-is-worldly-and-obsolete-we-should-all-never-have-sex-and-thus-bring-about-the-end-of-humanity-and-usher-in-the-Kingdom wars.

Well, squabble in the combox if you like.  Frankly I think we're called to all kinds of things. I feel called to write for Single Catholic women, even though I gave up my Single Catholic women blog.


  1. I totally agree. Vocations are priesthood and religious. And they are definitely higher callings. If you have children and one of them becomes a priest or religious then special blessings there too.
    I always felt a calling to work with children. As a single I followed my calling by teaching and nannying. Now I have my own children. When they are grown I imagine I'll do teaching again, or something like that.
    There are some things that were better when I was single, and some that is better now I'm married. I guess you can never predict how life would turn out. I always thought my life would be so much better/easier once I married and had kids. I never could have predicted that pregnancy would bring on an autoimmune disease that would make caring for my own children very, very difficult. I could also never have predicted that one of my own children would have a rare genetic disorder that I had never even heard of! On the other hand I also didn't predict what beautiful personalities my boys would have. It's all just ordinary life in the end.

    Aussie girl in NZ

  2. Vocations. SNOOZE.

    Over it. Who cares anyway?

  3. I am sure it is still a thing!

    Five years ago, thousands of American and Canadian Catholic university students were still discerning madly away. Worrying about it can be a real burden. I got a lot of clicks on my "Vocation Discernment Partner" story. (Which I never finished, I know, but the villainess was scaring me.)

    If I were still part of a university chaplaincy team, I would nip it all in the bud by sending all the guys to a men's monastery for a retreat, and all the girls to a women's monastery for a retreat, and then when they got back, organized married couples to come in and talk about marriage. I would then farm out the boys to rectories and the girls to convents/apartments of sisters living the apostolic life. And finally I would take the all to a L'Arche community, so they could see at least one really beautiful way of living Single life as an adult.

    I would do this every year: frog-marching my charges through the REALITY of states-in-life, so as to blow away the dreamy cobwebs in their mind, but let them see all the beautiful possibilities.

    1. FANTASTIC idea! Because dreamy cobwebs most. definitely. exist.


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