Sunday, May 8, 2016

Discussion: Is "the single life" a true vocation?







In the first decade or so after my reversion, I heard and accepted the idea that there are four vocations, or "callings" from God:  Marriage (to which most are called), ordained life (deacons, priests, bishops), consecrated life (non-ordained religious who consecrate their lives to God, i.e., sisters, nuns, brothers, lay consecrated), and the single life.

In the past few years, though, I have heard many contend that "the single life" is not and has never been a Catholic vocation. I myself have begun to question if it's merely an idea we've devised to help ease the pain of those who have not found a spouse or discerned a religious vocation. You know what I mean: "I haven't found a husband yet, so I wonder if I am called to the single life?"

Perhaps those who stay single have simply never discerned their vocation (or maybe they keep discerning with no end in sight) or have been kept from living out their true vocation by the conditions of their particular culture or circumstances? I'm not entirely sure.

Two things I do know for sure:

1) There is a primary vocation to holiness, and we all have that vocation.

2) It is possible to miss one's specific calling or vocation.**



I'd like your thoughts. Let's talk this through.



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**Even if a soul should "miss" his vocational calling, that person still has not committed a sin if his intentions were good. This is so important for people to know, especially the scrupulous. God will work with whatever path we have put ourselves on. He is not a puppet master pulling our strings. He is a loving Father who makes all things work for good for those who love Him.




127 comments:

  1. I will toss a question back atcha. Knowing me and my circumstances, what do you think? Since finding my faith, going through a divorce, the 100 year annulment, I have always thought myself called to marriage, but voilĂ , here I am quite simply staring at single life, getting older by the minute I might add...

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  2. I'll be following because I've been wondering this, too!

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  3. I'm growing more cynical about this by the day. Maybe the single life is not necessarily a vocation, but what are those of us supposed to think who 99% sure that God is not calling us to religious life but have also been unable to find a spouse? Maybe if I had the $$$ to afford to travel long distance and could increase my search parameters for a future husband......Idk....

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  4. Hmmmm, since you asked, my hunch, Cari, is that you have always had a calling to the married life. IMHO, there are a number of reasons/circumstances why that has been missed.

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  5. But I'm truly interested if you think there is a "single life" vocation?

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    1. Dear, Little Catholic Bubble. Your blog name is cute but on this point it correct. Being single and it being a calling and vocation and life. Is correct it a calling from God. It not a mess calling. And I the living proof of it working. Like all calling from God it not easy it hard but full of blessing. So you see. I, Robert, I'm a single man. And I answered Jesus call with GAINT YES. I wont look back. Im 42 years old and never got married. I pray and praise all that do. Because it also a calling from Jesus. Im also a Member of the Dominican Order in the Laity Branch of that wonder family. Im also the Formation Director for my chapter. And been a profesed member also. By saying I have mess up my vocation is hurtful but not true. There are many men and women that are single and loving serveing Jesus' Church. Who also said there are no single Adult saints. Again study. There is one I can name you to read about. Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. Young man that was a Lay Dominican; like me, that never married, died young but like our Founder Saint Dominic, was a joyful frair. And serve God with Joy and Love. Between the two great wars, in Italy.
      "Truth"
      Robert

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  6. Margo, you are young still, with many years ahead. I know it's been frustrating.

    You don't need money to write and text. ;) Or to call with cell phones. How proactive have you been in pursuing your vocation? You know my opinion on being proactive!!

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  7. Fr. Bolding gave a great Homily on this last year, stating that the single life of holiness is in fact the primary vocation. Jesus, the Apostles, many saints were all single people devoted to Christ and His Church. There is nothing wrong with the single life, except when we don't accept it. But we don't all accept married life either, it turns out. :)

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  8. Meaning, Jesus and the Apostles were priests. Some of the Apostles (at least Peter) were also married. And most of the saints have been priests or religious. I am not sure that's what I meant by "single". I meant unconsecrated, unvowed.

    Someone like Maria Goretti, for example, died before there was a chance to live out a vocation. Her vocation was simply holiness and martyrdom. Might she have been called to marriage or the religious life? Probably so.

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  9. My struggle in this thought experiment is what to make of people with attraction to the same sex or people without sexual inclinations at all (perhaps due to a therapeutic drug cocktail). Are we to assume they should all be consecrated or avowed? Or would these count among the "missed vocations"?

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  10. You said: "or have been kept from living out their true vocation by the conditions of their particular culture or circumstances."

    The problem with this statement is that it gives off the idea that whatever our "calling" may be, it could be that it is not within the very circumstances or culture within which we live, or have lived our life. I think this is a problem because the logical consequence of this is that someone could say, "if the culture were more Catholic, I'd be a nun." Or think of any variation on that. I can understand the desire to put it this way because of the common experience of women and men both in failing to find a spouse. "If society wasn't so sex-crazed, or wasn't so damaging to masculinity[/femininity], I'd be married by now!" That latter statement is attractive, because society and our entertainments (social media) have driven a wedge between people and frustrated the ability to have real interactions; and modern society has dramatically confused our ability to understand and fulfill our unique natures as men and women. Society, and even Catholic Church communities, have failed the youth in dramatic ways. But, that doesn't mean they've been kept from living out their vocation by these problems.

    1) After all, marriage is a vocation insofar as one is actually married. No one is called to marry a particular individual, nor to get married. Thinking of it that way is a sort of modern romanticism. I could be wrong on this (please show me the tradition in the Church that proves me wrong if I am), but I don't think I am. Anything that makes you think that you are called to marriage is probably just feeling (maybe helped by the activity of grace because God wants to be super sure you don't enter a convent). We can marry someone and we can end up having a great marriage with them, or an OK marriage with them, or a terrible marriage with them. But if we have this idea that we are (a) called to marriage, and (b) called to marry someone in particular, then it makes it easy to think when we are unhappy that we "married the wrong person." This is ridiculous, and not particularly a Catholic way of thinking (redemptive suffering?). Even in abusive relationships, it wasn't that you married the wrong person because you missed "the one," it was that you married the wrong person insofar as they were not good marriage material (assuming you are validly married).

    2) Men and women are called to the priesthood and religious life. In fact, a man has to be "officially" called by a Bishop (generally speaking), to the priesthood before he can proceed to his ordination. Nothing really similar happens in marriage, which though a sacrament, is still at base a contract between two consenting individuals. By extension, no one is called to the single life, they just haven't gotten married yet, or haven't heeded or haven't actually been called to the priesthood or religious life. When you look at it this way, it avoids some of the romanticism that, I think, can lead to and "justify" wandering hearts in people who are not in the happiest of marriage situations.

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  11. Another way to put my above point more clearly is that there are basically three ways of approaching "vocation":

    1) Vocation as a call to holiness, a call all baptized persons share.

    2) Vocation as a call to the priesthood or religious life.

    3) "Vocation" as an expression of what our current state in life is, and the duties attendant to that station. For example, if you are married, you must live out and fulfill the duties of the married life, which you can at that point call your vocation. This usage is similar to what we might call a profession, but of course marriage is not a profession, it is different and more entwined with our nature than any given profession is.

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  12. Fr. Bolding's point was not about priests or consecrated, but our society having this notion that everyone must get married, which is false. Marriage is not our primary vocation, and because too many think it is, they get into poor marriages.

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  13. You may like to read also this persoective http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/may/may_49vocation.html

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  14. Joseph, you have hit on something that I totally agree with and it is so important! This idea that "I must have married the wrong person" or that we have to find "the one" --- no, no, no!!! I agree.

    I do believe that most human beings, most Catholics, are called to be married. That seems obvious, and I've heard it said a million times (not sure where).

    But I think from what you are saying, you only believe that a true vocation is the universal one of holiness, or the vocation to the priesthood or religious life? Correct me if I misunderstand. Then the rest is simply the "vocation" (your quotes) to express our current state (this gets nebulous for me).

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  15. Faith, great question! Could be a missed vocation, but also, people with same-sex attraction can be married to a person of the opposite sex (as long as this is all disclosed, no secrets). In fact, Melinda Selmys is a Catholic writer (still attracted to women, married to a man with six children) who exemplifies this. Also, there is consecrated life, non-ordained.

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  16. David, I adore Fr. Bolding so much! But I see things so opposite of what you are saying he said. I see young people NOT getting married, and I see devoutly Catholic parents discouraging their Catholic children (who desire marriage) from getting married. It goes against what the Pope has said is a crisis today. Young people do not want to get married, or for whatever reason are not getting married. So many other things are taking priority and we have a huge, huge marriage crisis. There should be MANY more Catholic marriages than are currently happening.

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    1. I agree absolutely. Among young people I know the vision of marriage and family is not in their purview. "Be fruitful and multiply" is the first injunction God gives man. So if that is not a vocation I don't know what is.

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  17. @PaxEtBonum, May makes a big to-do about that quote from Lumen Gentium, and proceeds to completely misrepresent what it says. Then, he goes on to say contradict the council of trent:

    Here's a little something from the Council of Trent:
    CANON X. If anyone says that the marriage state is to be placed above the state of virginity, or of celibacy, and that it is not better and more blessed to remain in virginity, or in celibacy, than to be united in matrimony; let him be anathema.

    May also uses the term "vocation" analogically throughout the essay. I gave three different possible definitions above, he uses all three but does not do so clearly. This makes what he wrote difficult and confusing to read. It is like it was intentionally written to assuage feelings of single people.

    By the way, just a side note, "consecrated single life," where you have committed yourself to celibacy . . . it is not clear to me that this isn't a species of "consecrated life," the other species being "consecrated life lived in community."

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    1. Joseph, I think you're confused. If you read Theology of the Body which refers way back to the beginning, JP2 expounds on original unity, which is the design for human life: "it is not good for man to be alone, let us make a suitable partner for him". Thus, yes, all people are called to community, and most of them in the community known as marriage. It was created that way from the beginning. That's why the Church refers to marriage as the "natural vocation", as it is natural to each person to enter the marital relationship, and "supernatural" to forgo marriage to more closely imitate Christ.

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    2. Drat, posted in the wrong spot. But on the issue of Trent, Trent is referring yet again to the "natural" vs. "supernatural" vocations. The consecrated life is objectively a higher calling as it more closely aligns a person to an imitation of Christ. So no one, in calling marriage a vocation, denies that reality.

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  18. Leila, there is no vocation to married. You are either called to the priesthood, or you are not. Saying and believing your whole life that you are called to marriage, only to end it alone, and single in old age, is a good way to create unnecessary bitterness toward God.

    There is the vocation of all to holiness, and the vocation of the few to the consecrated life, or to the priesthood. Both of these "callings" are a calling to be united to The One, that is God. Framing marriage as a "calling" in the same way (and not a "vocation" just to be lived out well once you're in it) creates all sorts of unnecessary complications. For example, "if I'm called to marriage, that means there must be someone out there for me." Which leads to the whole "the one" idea which is really just an echo, and a deceptive and terrible echo, of the true calling to The One that is involved in a vocation to the consecrated life/priesthood, and general vocation of all to holiness.

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  19. Just trying to put it more clearly: you are either called to the priesthood/consecrated life, or you aren't. If you don't have that calling, that doesn't mean you are called by God to anything else. You have natural urges that leads you to a natural relationship that has, by Christ, been elevated to a sacrament. We are directed toward marriage by nature, called to the priesthood/consecrated life by God.

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  20. Leila, I do agree with this: "I see young people NOT getting married, and I see devoutly Catholic parents discouraging their Catholic children (who desire marriage) from getting married."

    My own parents (both Catholic) are apathetic about whether me or my two older siblings (33 & 30) ever get married. It's completely up to us and my parents really could care less one way or the other. And they both REALLY hate the concept of a man asking my dad for his blessing; who I marry is my business, not their's. So despite my devotion to Catholicism and desire to fulfill God's Will and raise a devout family of my own....it's A LOT tougher when you have zero prospects and NO support from my parents or siblings. Your kids are BEYOND blessed to have you and Dean showing so much encouragement and enthusiasm.

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  21. I don't know Joseph. Since Christ elevated marriage to a Sacrament, I am not sure we can still talk about it (as Catholics) as only being directed towards it by nature. I'd have to seriously think about that. That does not sound right to me. But I will ponder it some more.

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  22. PaxetBonum, I do tend to agree with this particular passage:

    As noted, one may have more than one unique personal vocation during one's life. This follows from the truth that each individual Christian, priest, religious, or lay, has a personal and unique vocation, a mission that God gives to each. Many men and women want to marry; but a person cannot marry himself or herself, and at times circumstances prevent some men and women from meeting a suitable person to marry; at other times grave obligations, such as care for an elderly parent, may make it impossible for them to marry someone who would be suitable. Such persons cannot be said to be "waiting for their vocation" as we may hear from many single women, they are living out their vocation and mission in life in "the sacrament of the (each and every) present moment" (De Caussaude).

    I absolutely agree that we MUST live in the moment, not in the past or the future. The present moment is where God places us, and this moment is His will for us. Not clear on what that means in terms of vocation, or how it affects the discernment of vocation, though.

    No one who is currently single should be discouraged or feel forgotten. Because we don't live in the future, we live right now. God is here now. We communicate with Him and become holy now. However, part of what we should be doing now is in preparation for religious life or married life, generally. Living in the moment is real, discernment is real, and of course, the ending of discernment by making a decision is also real.

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  23. Margo, yes! That is what I mean! It makes me sad. But I would bet that they were very much invested in and hopeful for their children's educations and careers/personal fulfillment, yes?

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  24. "Saying and believing your whole life that you are called to marriage, only to end it alone, and single in old age, is a good way to create unnecessary bitterness toward God."

    Joseph, this I totally agree with! So true!! I think this is more along the lines of a missed vocation, though. In the west, it's because everything else besides marriage takes priority. We are expected to put everything else first, and marriage is an afterthought, after all that "other stuff" is done and accomplished. I'm sure in developing nations (where they are closest to God, honestly) there are not great numbers of people who never "find a spouse".

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  25. Leila,

    In general, are we called to last rights for any reason beyond the universal call to holiness? Are we called to baptism, confirmation, or confession, beyond that universal call? Are we called to the Holy Eucharist beyond the call?

    The answer to this is really no. In every case we are called, through the sacraments, to a unity with God, or the real "The One." To holiness through the sacraments. The same goes for marriage. The only sacrament where there is a real difference is Holy Orders where now there is a creation of a class of mediators. Holy orders involves a higher sort of union with God in this life, and a unique role in preserving the faith and ensuring it is both substantially (think laying on of hands, engaging the physical and spiritual), and intellectually passed down.

    Granted consecrated religious are not priests, but they are specially, though not sacramentally, consecrated to that life. And they do have to actually be called by the religious order, or ordinary.

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  26. You got it, Leila! :( They're being really patient with me while I search for that full time job that will allow me to move out and be financially independent.

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  27. "Joseph, this I totally agree with! So true!! I think this is more along the lines of a missed vocation, though."

    So women who have not sacrificed getting marriage for career, and who can't seem to find a man worthwhile enough to marry, or that will marry them, have "missed" their vocation? If you are not called to marry a particular individual, how can you aim at marriage and "miss"? Or put another way, if you are not called to marry any one individual, but you are called to marry anyone in particular, then in order to not "miss" one's vocation (and presumably damage their soul), should one lower the standards? Is it better to follow one's vocation at all costs (sell everything for that pearl of great price), and lower one's standards, or . . . not? Are you culpable if you don't try to get married at all (moral) costs? After all, many of the saints do say that your immortal soul is imperiled by failing to pursue the priesthood when you are called to the priesthood.

    You avoid a lot of this (and more) by just saying that marriage is not a "calling" until you are actually married (vocation in the third sense I mentioned above).

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  28. There is a tradition of consecrated singles/virgins. It's not new. What is new, I think, is how that might be lived out. Let's say a man or woman is very gifted in medicine and wants to serve God by using those skills to heal and realizes he or she isn't able to also support a family or wouldn't be able to give enough to a spouse, I'm not saying it well, but if they've prayerfully determined that they're not called to marriage... if that person has prayed about it and lives an active faith by attending mass and receiving the sacraments, who are we to question that person's vocation? I'm not saying "who are we to judge" in a permissive way, but seriously, isn't it up to each adult to determine what God has called us to in terms of vocation? (Which obviously means avoiding sin etc. I'm not saying a person is free to determine that God wants whatever that person wants. ..)

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    1. I agree. There was a woman, born in France in 1894, Gabrielle Bossis, who as a young child preferred a life of interior contemplation and prayer, while living an active life, studying nursing, volunteering in ministries, playing in sports, and the arts (music, painting, and making sculptures). A priest that gave her spiritual direction advised her to seriously consider being a nun. She prayerfully discerned that God wanted to use her in the world. She became a well known play writer (for Church performances) and stage actress, who for the last 20 years of her life, heard Jesus speak to her and she recorded the brief conversations, then published 3 books of them anonymously. They inspired faith and prayer, and the fourth was published in her name after her death. In her humility, no one knew those three famous books were written by her. They have been translated to English into one book, He and I.

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    2. Janet, I'm going to answer you down at the bottom (per the Bubble rules). :)

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    3. Janet, I actually just started reading one of Gabriel's books! Small world :) God bless!

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  29. Joseph, I'm not sure that the Church says that if a man misses his vocation to the priesthood (and becomes a holy husband and father instead) that his soul is imperiled. As long as we are a person of good will, if we miss our vocation, we are not in mortal sin. God will work with us on the path we choose, even if it is not the one He would have had us on. So, I'm not sure I'm ready to agree with you there.

    As for "lowering one's standards" -- can you give me an example? It's one thing to marry an abuser, an alcoholic, and a cheater, and another to marry a guy who doesn't have a full hairline or who has a limp or a speech impediment. I like what Karl Keating says (in debunking "the one"): There are probably dozens of men within a hundred square miles who could make a decent husband.

    It's a choice we make, isn't it? If our standards are SO high that no one even comes on the radar, then where does the problem really lie?

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  30. Elizabeth, I think I agree with you. That seems a very deliberate, very confident understanding by the person to commit one's life to service of others. I can see that happening. I think that is different than a "default" singlehood. And I still am not sure about "vocation" -- I have had a couple folks on Facebook saying that the only true "vocation" is to the priesthood. So, I'm pondering that, too. I wish there were some papal statements or writings on "vocation" and what it is or is not....

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  31. Leila,

    1) If you feel like you missed your vocation to the priesthood for the first time ever only after you've gotten married, then you probably don't actually have a vocation to the priesthood. Your feelings are just running amok. If you just felt but was never sufficiently inclined to pursue the priesthood, that may also be a matter of feeling, and not an actual calling. I'm wary of anyone who says "they were called to the priesthood" but got married instead. They were perhaps not called, but felt that they were.

    The Saints have said that running from your vocation can involve serious sin, and that this will make your getting to heaven that much more of a struggle for you throughout your life. This does not mean you are permanently in mortal sin. I believe it was Ligouri and Bosco, I'm looking for the quotes.

    Leaving the saints aside and turning to basic moral theology . . . violating your conscience can absolutely be a mortal sin. If you are called to the priesthood, and this call has been experienced by you in such a way that it has moved your conscience and formed it such that you now know you are ignoring a vocation, when you run from that vocation you would be violating your conscience. Depending, this could be a matter with some gravity for your soul.

    2) The fact that people talk about a possible vocation to the "single life" (not consecrated life, but the single life), derives from our modern tendency to look at marriage as a vocation in the second sense I gave above.

    If good Catholic Jane knows she isn't called to be a nun, and now thinks (for whatever reason) that she isn't called to be married, then does that mean she lacks a calling? When everything is an active call from God, why can't Jane accurately believe that she is being called by God to the single life?

    In many ways, what appears to be your issue with the "single vocation", is the exact issue I have with people who say there is a unique "marriage vocation." People are describing both the "single vocation" and the "marriage vocation" as a sort of active calling from God to a particular state in life (the second sense of vocation I gave above).

    The way to very simply resolve all of this is by reference to that universal call to holiness. Everyone is called to be holy, some are called to holy orders. No one is called to do anything else but fulfill the duties of their state in life.

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  32. Joseph, but if two moral avenues are open before us (priesthood, marriage) and we choose the one that was not our calling (for whatever reason, as long as it was not malicious), God does not punish us. He will work with us. If we RUN or FLEE from a calling (and it would be pretty clear), then we are pitiable, but are we damnable? I would leave that to God to decide, but usually it's done from fear or some kind of undue pressure, I would imagine, and the gravity would be mitigated. That's subjective; who knows? But it's not like the choice is between 1) a moral act and 2) an immoral act. The choice is between two licit options. Maybe there will be less peace, less sanctity for going with the non-calling, but I guess I don't worry about his soul. Maybe I'm wrong. I can imagine all kinds of scrupulosity coming in if we present it that way, and that would be much more detrimental to the soul.



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  33. Every single commenter and reader here should stop and read this article by Msgr. Pope. Wow, it seems to answer all my questions and concerns. I don't know if it's the last word (surely not) but it makes a whole lot of sense! And the last part.... YES a million times (the question of "why" we suddenly speak of the "single vocation"):

    http://blog.adw.org/2015/05/is-there-a-vocation-to-the-single-life-i-think-not-and-heres-why/

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  34. This part:

    Why is this request to include the single life as a vocation common today? First, there are a lot of people who are single today. While I do not think this bespeaks a healthy culture, it is a fact, and there is some legitimate concern as to how to include such a large group in our prayers and our pastoral concern.

    Second, though, I wonder if this isn’t another example of the tendency today toward “identity politics.” Many today in our culture want their lived experience and views to receive recognition and approval from the wider culture. And if such recognition (and at least tacit approval) is found lacking, offense is taken and pressure is exerted for the “granting body” to give this recognition and approval.

    This second aspect may explain why some (though not all) I have met get rather angry when I don’t simply agree that there is a call (vocation) to the single life.

    Of course I am not the final word on this matter in the Church. But it seems to me that words have meaning and we ought not simply cede to the pressure to use words so widely that they no longer have their stricter—and I would argue proper—meaning.

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  35. Please refer to my comments on these recent Catholic Stand articles related to singles and "vocation". (The articles are now closed to new comments.)

    http://www.catholicstand.com/good-gain-whole-world-lose-soul-saying-yes-gods-will/

    http://www.catholicstand.com/know-gods-will-careers-gods-call/

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  36. Oh another great article explaining things (that make sense to me). These are coming from people on my Facebook page. Yes, I'm having this conversation in two places, ack!!

    http://romancatholicvocations.blogspot.com/2009/03/called-to-singlehood.html

    Mary Beth Bonacci is herself single.

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  37. Uncle Fester, most people (including myself) will not go chasing after comments on another blog post. If we have you here, just tell us what you are wanting to say, and that keeps us all in the discussion. Or, you can cut and paste your comments here, if they are relevant. Thanks!

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  38. Janet, what was her vocation? Clearly, she was prayerful, holy, faithful. But her vocation was "single life"? If so, did she take a vow to commit to that? Did she have a person to answer to? Could she have been free to change her mind and marry at some point?

    That is why I like Msgr. Pope's article. It lays out the differences, as he sees it, between vocation and single life (there are marked differences, which I had not considered before today).

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  39. IMO, while single life is not a vocation in the church sense, I like it used for that state of life. It implies acceptance. We all know single people who have accepted their state in life and use it to become spiritual mothers and fathers. And we know single people who are bitter. Just like we know married people who are either bitter about their state in life and we know people who embrace that vocation too. Even the Holy Father called on nuns to be spiritual mothers and not spiritual spinsters. Its not a Vocation, capital V, but I don't mind when its used in context of acceptance.

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  40. I loved what you wrote --"He is not a puppet master pulling our strings....He is a loving Father working in all things for our good.." How freeing that is!

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  41. You know, I was just thinking, it can seem so complicated, but it also is as simple as saying "whatever you want God, yes God, make it really clear to me please. .." over and over. Then give it time, live each day well trying to do your best to serve God and then. ..tadah, something emerges. I certainly don't mean to make light of the process of discerning what God wants, but I also don't think He makes it complicated. I think I/we tend to do that!

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  42. Leila,

    In what I said above, I'm talking about conscience in relation to a decision to "run away" from the priesthood. Soooo, it might be good to re-read what the Catechism has to say about moral conscience: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s1c1a6.htm

    To summarize my point about conscience and running from the priesthood, which is tangential to the question here re: a "single vocation" (and my point that there isn't even a "marriage vocation), here is CCC 1790: "A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself. Yet it can happen that moral conscience remains in ignorance and makes erroneous judgments about acts to be performed or already committed."

    If someone is actually called to the priesthood, and this calling has so affected his conscience that he knows he is rejecting it and turning toward the lesser good of marriage (or anything else), it is definitely possible that he is committing a mortal sin by that "running away." Again, this doesn't mean he is in a perpetual state of mortal sin, that's ridiculous, and not my meaning.

    Regarding the potential hazards to your soul for ignoring the call, I'd recommend googling "Liguori vocation" and see what St. Alphonsus Liguori has to say about it. Even though he was not a pope he was a bishop, and his arguments are persuasive (at least I think so).

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  43. I've been reading this with interest. I have always thought marriage and single life as vocations, but after reading Joseph's words I may have changed my mind. I think about my Mom who was married to my Dad, but Dad left her for another woman. She is now single - and has started an annulment process. If the church says she did in fact have a valid marriage, what does it mean for her vocation that she is no longer living that out? Or take my Grandma, who after 58 years of being married to my Grandpa is now single because he has died. Is she not living out her vocation anymore? Now contrast that with Priests and Religious - they are Priests and Religious until they die. They may retire from certain duities, but they remain in their vocation. I myself am married, and I believe God is using that to make me more the person he made me to be, but if my husband were to die I would no longer be married, I would be single. I think that's what Joseph means that these are natural states, not supernatural callings.

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  44. Joseph, I theoretically get your point about applying CC 1790 to the issue of "running from one's vocation", but it would have to be pretty severe for this to imperil a soul. I mean, it would mean the willful severing of friendship with God, and it's unlikely that a man who enters a marriage with the intent to love his wife sacrificially and raise His children in the Faith would be severing his friendship with God in the sense of deserving eternal damnation. I just don't really see that as being a huge concern out there, but that's just me.

    Not sure if the "moral conscience" is the same as the "vocational discernment", honestly.

    But I will ponder it.

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  45. Monica, isn't that what Msgr. Pope addresses at the end of his piece, and that I posted at 9:14PM? It almost seems like we are calling it a vocation so that we don't hurt people's feelings. It seems nice, but it's incorrect, I think.

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  46. Here are my thoughts. I apologize if I repeat anything as I haven't read the links yet. I would say that the single life is not a vocation, and this is why. Kind of along the lines of Joseph's comments, I don't think you can actively be called to it. I think of any vocation as a call to a spouse. If a person were to discern early on that for the rest of their lives they are called to love God exclusively and live celibacy, then their spouse is God. That would be the call to a consecrated life. If they feel that maybe sometime in the future they might get married, but feel called to stay single now, or have no other choice at the moment, then no, that's just the universal vocation of being holy. I don't think God would officially call someone to be in a state of Limbo.
    Also, I don't think someone's formal Vocation is ever just settling for the state your in. Unfortunately no one can see the future, and it's scary to think you won't find someone. But I don't think that means you should give up! Older people get married all the time! Also, I don't think living out the call to holiness in your state in life is any less noble if you haven't realized a formal vocation. God can make saints out of everyone at any time. God has a plan for everyone.

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  47. JenF, your thoughts are very similar to my own. Thank you!

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  48. Leila,

    All I asserted was that the Saints say the soul is imperiled, and I gave the reasoning behind how it could be a mortal sin. Whenever you talk about mortal sin it is always theoretical, unless it is in relation to your own soul. I'm not entirely certain where you disagree other than that it seems that you think I've asserted mortal sin is common among those who have "missed" their vocation to the priesthood.

    I brought this up because calling marriage a vocation can lead to a false belief that by not getting married one commits a mortal sin, like one might commit a mortal sin by willfully resisting a recognized vocation to the priesthood.

    I've also not said that someone who rejects a call to the priesthood cannot live a beautiful and fruitful life with someone while married. I'm not clear what purpose that sort of anecdote serves. In fact, they can absolutely do so by being loving and faithful to the duties required by that state in life.

    That said, conflating the call to priests to a special life of holiness, and to a special relationship with Christ, with the contractual agreement between two individuals to (1) give each other exclusive sexual rights, and (2) join into God's plan for humanity and Catholic couples, is dangerous. If we assert that everyone is actively called to a spouse, why do only those in Holy Orders get called to a specific person? Why are they the only one's that get called to a true "soul mate?"

    If God actively calls everyone to marriage, that means there is someone for everyone to marry, otherwise He is calling some people to a relationship, and others to a natural relationship impossible to obtain, and a long life of frustrated longing. This can't be true biologically, there are more males born than females. Spiritually, this idea seems to me like it might have some dangerous consequences. One of those being this idea that there is "the one" out there for us. That idea (that we all of "the one" that we are called to married) justifiably makes no sense if we believe that all are called to holiness, a few are called to a special order of holiness, and everyone is called to simply fulfill the duties of their chosen state in life, and that's it. No one is called to marriage, so no one is called to marry anyone in particular, or anyone at all, though there are compelling natural reasons why one ought to get married (and supernatural, given the gift of sanctifying grace when married sacramentally). As soon as we say that "all are called to married," it does not necessarily then mean that there isn't "the one" out there for everyone "called" to marriage. Saying we are all 'called to marriage" encourages sentimentality, and doesn't stymie other ideas that are not really conducive to good order and discipline in society, particularly the family. That said, I'll grant you that some of these ideas might not hurt much, but they aren't right, and they in the aggregate can confuse the faithful on the nature of the family and marriage, and cause unnecessary dissatisfaction.

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  49. In my 41 years, it wasn't until the past few years that I heard people refer to marriage as a vocation. When I was growing up, the term vocation was used exclusively to refer to the ordained or religious life. Interesting discussion.

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  50. Joseph, you may be confusing my stance. I never claimed that "all are called to marriage". So, I'm not sure where you got that. I do believe that *most* are called to marriage though. Some simply cannot pursue or have a vocation to marriage or priesthood or consecrated life. Those still have a vocation to holiness.

    More later on the rest. Not home right now. :)

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  51. I think this is what you are saying, Joseph: One could theoretically go to hell for missing a priestly vocation, but never for missing marriage. Did I get that right?

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  52. Leila,

    I'm not saying that you are saying "all are called to marriage," and by "all are called here" we mean a set of people that includes everyone born and alive, to include those called to the priesthood. Instead, what I've consistently understood your stance to be is this: if you are not called to the consecrated life or the priesthood, then you are called to marriage. My point is that this creates problems, namely, it makes it difficult for you to justify saying there is no singles vocation, and difficult to argue against someone who believes that there is one person that God has destined for them to marry, should both their and their destined one's wills reflect God's. You can avoid all these difficulties and more by just holding that only priests (and maybe religious), are called to anything in particular, whereas everyone else is called to holiness in whatever state in life they happen to be in, and at some point choose.

    As to your question, yes, that is one of the consequences of what I'm saying (a consequence maintained by saints like Bishop and St. Alphonse Liguori, I didn't pluck the idea out of thin air). If people are similarly called to marriage like men are called to the priesthood, then the consequence of that is that people can go to hell simply for running away from marriage. . . . an idea in conflict with the longstanding stance of the Church that it is never wrong to not get married. If we are all called to marriage and we know that, and if our well-formed consciences tell us that that's what we ought to do because that is God's will . . . then to actively run from marriage, or fail to work towards marriage as hard as we reasonably could, would be a violation of conscience, an act directly opposed to the "known" will of God. Of course, I don't hold this because it is a consequence of a belief that all are called to marriage, obviously excepting those who are not otherwise called to the priesthood, or perhaps religious life.

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  53. I did not read through all the comments. (just to clarify where I am with this post!)

    My sister is 37 and single. She did try to enter a convent many years ago (can't remember where) but, because she is deaf, they could not accommodate her and so she was turned down. She tried a few I believe and got the same answer at all. (Keep in mind, she joined the SSPX with my parents) She lives a holy life. No one has ever taken enough interest in her to date her much, she'd prefer a deaf man, because of language, but, well, do you see many deaf men in church? Do you see the problem with this? I think it adds to her cross, being single. I think it is a vocation, if lived out holy. It's a lonely one. That is hard.

    What about people with homosexual tendencies? Do you think they are called to the single life to live out that vocation, in a holy, sacrificing way?

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    1. I promise I am not brushing you off, just surrounded by lots of boys at the moment. Those topics were discussed in the links and comments above. :)

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  54. I too have skimmed some of the comments. I'll come back after supper. Two thoughts in the meantime.

    1) Similar to Jamie Jo's. I've known men who thought they were called to the priesthood, but during the chaos of bad seminary's a decade or so ago, they were kicked out of seminary for being too rigid and not able to find another diocese to accept them. So, are we to assume they were wrong about their vocation? Or is this just circumstance not allowing them to fulfill their vocation? I think it could be either, depending on the situation. And I think it's reasonable to assume marriage is the same way. Someone may be called to it truly, but they can't fulfill it through no fault of their own.

    2) I get why people discourage you from thinking there is "one" person you are called to marry. But... I really do think my husband and I were intended by God for each other. And so does my husband. (Now I'm picturing myself as Sally Brown with lots of hearts.) Yes, I think we were made for each other. :)

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  55. Connie, I agree with #1, but not #2 (although I love the hearts!!). If we think that there is only "the one" that God has ordained for us, we risk the idea that we may divorce when suddenly he is a jerk, or does not "fulfill" me. I must have missed "the one" God had as my "soul mate". And with 7 billion people, the odds are that my "one" is somewhere in Asia/China, and how the heck would I find him? lol.

    The "one" for us is the one we vow to take as our husband or wife. That is when he or she becomes the one. We could find any number of men who would be decent and suitable husbands in our lives. And in fact, when people are widowed, they often find other spouses to love. That alone disproves "the one" theory. However, if we look at Joseph and Mary, then we would have to say that in that extraordinary case, they were specifically ordained by God to be together. :) But they are the exception, I would argue.

    This is an interesting argument against the idea of a "soul mate" (not that I am claiming you have argued for that, Connie. I don't think you have):

    http://www.uscatholic.org/life/2008/06/only-you-soul-mate

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  56. This is not an idea I'm really attached to, but it's something I feel. And I think it's kind of fun to think about. So here are my thoughts.

    I don't think that divorcing someone who is suddenly a jerk follows in any way from thinking that God made and intended someone for you. We can use anything for an excuse. If my dh would suddenly turn jerkish, I would not assume I "married the wrong person," but that the right person (whom I did marry) was suddenly being disobedient to God and making our lives difficult as a consequence.

    Similarly for being "certain" someone is "the one" and having that someone marry someone else: just because you made a mistake, does not mean that the concept of there being someone God did make for you is erroneous.

    As for the person being in China, if God intended a man for you, surely he would also intend for you to meet him, right? I don't think he'd make that person for you in China, if you are in the US with no indication you should ever go to China or vice versa. Either way, I think God can handle it, even if there are 70 time 7 billion people.

    The widow situation is not good evidence of anything. Just because your first spouse dies, is that really an indication God did not intend the two of you to be together? And did God not know that two people would die and their spouses then marry? Was this somehow outside His plan? In other words, God's intending someone for you does not necessarily mean you will only be married once, does it? "The one" need not be "the ONLY one ever" or "only for me ever", need he?

    Yes, we could find many decent spouses and be happy with them (although I think that's much harder in today's world, which partly explains why young people don't want to marry). But that does not mean that God does not have a plan for our married life.

    Yes, Joseph and Mary were ordained for each other. So were Adam and Eve. What about Tobit and Sarah as well? In fact, while we can cite Biblical references for people who WERE intended for each other by God, I can think of no passage that says God does NOT make our spouses with us in mind, can you? (Note: this is different from saying someone made a bad choice in marriage, for whatever reason.)

    Finally, we seek God's will in even little decisions daily, and especially big ones: where should I go to school, should I take this job, should I vote for this candidate ;) , etc? We do believe God has a plan in these instances, right? Sometimes we follow it, sometimes we don't. Sometimes we think something is God's plan and then it doesn't work out. But do we believe that all these things are only part of God's permissive will? If not, why do we think so about marriage? If God calls us to a vocation, why not to a certain spouse?

    All right, now I'll go read the link.

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  57. Hmmm, yeah, that sounds all wrong to me, lol. We are not bound to a path that God laid out. We are free agents, and as I think Pope Benedict said, we determine what happens next, there is no pre-ordained way to go. That's the beauty of free will. He does not touch it, and we are able to choose from among many, many good things. We cannot choose all good things, we can only choose one good thing at at time, so to speak, and choosing one good necessarily means not choosing the other goods we could have chosen. My understanding of Providence is that God's will for us is not something "set". It's not somewhere in the future for us to find. It's this moment, right now. We find him in this moment. Where he places us is his will for us. It's not "out there" (as Fr. Ciszek says so well). And I completely believe that while God blessed my choice to marry Dean, and our choice to serve him (and we see that in a hundred ways), I could have married another man and he another woman, and God would have been able and willing to work with that choice, too.

    I don't see anything in Catholic teaching or writing that talks about "the one" preordained person that God has "made for us". That's sort of a romantic western notion that doesn't make sense to me. I am trying to find the article by Karl Keating and also the guy who founded Ave Maria Singles, who are also very adamant that the idea of "the one" is not a Catholic idea. I was really into this a few years back, lol.

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    1. Haha, I met Dan through Ave Maria Singles.

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  58. OK, I'm reading the link, and so far I would say that nothing in it refutes the idea of God making a spouse for you. None of the negatives are necessarily connected to that idea.

    "The longer we wait for marriage, the more convinced we are that we deserve a soul mate, a perfect match in every way." I completely disagree with this. For me, the opposite was true. The longer it took me to find a mate, the more I was willing to compromise. I went out with a non-Catholic, with someone who had only just started to be serious about his faith, with an outdoorsman who was not interested in the intellectual life... All these were men I would have turned down at age 25 but was willing to at least go on one date with at age 30+. And then I met Dan and was blown away that virtually EVERYTHING I was looking for in a husband I found in him.

    Since age 18, I had prayed that God would cultivate in me the qualities that my future husband would need and desire in a wife, and that God would cultivate in my future husband the needs and desires I had. It appears to me that He answered those prayers. Should I instead think that He ignored them, because I could have married any one of 20 guys, that He had no plans for a particular spouse for me, that my prayer being answered was just coincidence? I mean, maybe it was, but I like to think otherwise.

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  59. So, why are there whole (orthodox) books about discerning God's will? I mean, aren't you saying it's all prudential, as long as it's not sin? Why do I pray, "Lord, show me your will?" Am I just praying nonsense?

    "Where he places us is his will for us." But what does "Where he places us" mean? Aren't you just saying, "Wherever I happen to be is where I should be?" And is that really right? I mean, it's not like if I choose let's say a job that was not the best choice for me that years later I am totally outside of God's will because of that one decision. That I have to back track to where I made that bad decision in order to be in God's will. I'm not saying that at all. But I think it's an extreme position to say that therefore, EVERY decision we make that is not sinful is prudential, that God would not prefer we take one path rather than another. Yes. we do the best we can where we are--but that is assuming there is a best to do. Why when God calls someone to the priesthood or religious life does He call them to a certain Spouse, but not the rest of us?

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  60. Lots of excellent questions and ideas to discuss, but I'm about to head out with Dean… I'll be back! But I have to tell you that every part of me is just chafing at the idea that God "made a spouse just for me". Because that literally does mean that most people will miss the spouse that God made for them. So people are with every one else's spouses? On this planet, we are almost all marrying people who were made for other people? That is chaos. Plus it just doesn't make sense to me on the most basic level. I've got to find those articles lol

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  61. And I think that the books on abandonment to divine providence, meaning God's will, do speak about not living in the future or in the past but living in the moment to find God's will. I've championed a couple of those classic books here numerous times. But I'll be back later I promise! You deserve a better response.

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  62. Yeah, I'm bringing up too many points. Just did a search on discerning God's will and read posts by Peter Kreeft, at CUF, on Ignatian spirituality... and found nothing that refutes my view. So if you find something, let me know.

    I think there's a false dichotomy of either I use my mind/heart to make decisions OR I try to figure out God's will. We use our minds and hearts to figure out God's will. We pray that He will lead us, and when we carefully make a decision, we trust that He has led us.

    God's will is obscure. We are never quite sure, unless we have a special revelation (and maybe that's false, LOL), but we go with what we think is God's will and we stick with it. Obviously, when we struggle in our marriage, we don't say, "Oh, I must have married the wrong person, maybe I should divorce him and find the right person. Maybe I was supposed to marry the guy Leila married." That's nonsense. But does that negate the idea that God did have a best choice for us, and we may have discerned it, or we may have chosen something in His permissive will that was not His best choice for us? Does that negate the idea that if we are striving to live completely for God, we ask Him to help us make a decision, then we prayerfully choose, and He actually does have a preferred choice and guides us towards it?

    I don't see how abandoning oneself to Providence goes against any of this. I've made lots of imprudent decisions in the past, and I give them all to God. I don't worry about them now. But that does not mean they weren't in fact bad/less than perfect decisions (even if not sinful) or that God had no will in these matters. Or does it?

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  63. One more thing quickly and then I'll be done for now--promise. :)

    Would it make a difference if I worded it differently? What if instead of saying, "God made us for each other," I said, "I think we discerned what was God's best choice for us?" Do you still object to that?

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  64. I'm curious if you two think there is one true answer or if it is maybe different for different people? I am finding myself agreeing with you both. I agree with Connie on the praying for God's will and discerning that and prayers being answered. I also agree with Leila that (I think this is what you are saying) there are a multitude of possibilities out there that could work. I don't think we'll ever know, if there is one true answer or a combination of these thoughts. I think it has more to do with people and personalities and each person's relationship with God.

    Back to single people, I don't think there is "one person" for everyone. I don't think there are missed opportunities either, unless it's maybe one sided. Like with my sister, maybe there have been men she's met, but no one has gone more than getting to know her a little, no one has wanted to put the effort to learn a new language to communicate with her and there has been no good, practicing Catholic deaf men that she's met. The missed opportunity has been with the men. (she's a beautiful, kind, sweet, very loving woman)

    So isn't that a "calling"? A vocation? To live for God, yet within the world, single, alone. I kind of get the part about there not being anything to bind single people to this, like if say at age 40 or50 someone came along, that they fell I love with and decided to get married, does that mean they were not called to the single life? Maybe it's different with the single life, maybe it is for that time, they are called to be holy during that time, that state in their life. "The calling" to that state in life is a calling to suffering. Maybe it is not a forever calling though. (just as married life changes when a spouse dies)

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  65. Hi, I've read this blog before, but this is my first time commenting. I actually just wrote a piece on this very topic, so in lieu of a longer comment I'll share the link: http://aleteia.org/2016/05/04/is-the-single-life-a-vocation/

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  66. Ah, but did you find anything that refutes my view? ;)

    I guess I could go along with this: "I think we discerned what was God's best choice for us?"

    Except for the fact that many people (like me and my own spouse) never really discerned a thing. I was very worldly, and he was a non-Christian. We were living life according to the culture, not the moral law. We decided to get married, because that's what I wanted to do, and he thought that was a good idea also. Vocation or discernment never entered our minds. God worked with us (as he works with all) and we pulled off a pretty awesome marriage (which was always valid, but not even sacramental until he was baptized six years and three kids in). I am in awe at what God did for us and continues to do. But was Dean "the one" that God made for me? No way! I had myriad other choices and God (and the Church) honors us when we make that vow, when we choose the one for ourselves. There may be 1,000 men I am more compatible with than Dean, and they may be very devout Catholics, too. I know Dean could have found a wonderful woman if I had never been born. (Did I have to be born, or was that also a choice that my parents made, to co-create with God in deciding to conceive a child that turned out to be me?)

    And, of course we don't say this, but millions do, including (sadly!!) Catholics:


    Obviously, when we struggle in our marriage, we don't say, "Oh, I must have married the wrong person, maybe I should divorce him and find the right person...."

    Millions upon millions have said this very thing. Even though we know it's nonsense.

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  67. I guess a better way to ask the question is this: If I did not discern at all (and I did not), then is there really someone else out there that God had for me, that I was supposed to marry and not marry Dean? Who was God's "preferred choice" for me, who entered a non-discerned marriage?

    And don't worry about too many questions! You are always welcome to ask and challenge. :)

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  68. Jamie Jo, I think it's a "state of life" and in that state of life there is always, always the call to holiness. But I wouldn't say it's a vocation. Does that make sense?

    Again, my opinion only.

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  69. Sponsa Christi, yes! I love your article! Well done. And I think you come to the same conclusion to which I have also come.

    Jamie Jo, please read her piece and I think you will find the answer or at least get a sense of direction here. It's tough to navigate for sure.

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  70. Normally I just lurk, but is really need to comment here. I don't know whether the single life is a "vocation", but what I do see, and saw in my young-devout-Catholic days (I passed the cutoff age for world youth day a couple of years back) is that the constant emphasis on "discerning your vocation" that exists in the literature and culture of young devout Catholics is not helpful and in fact causes a whole lot of scrupulosity. I myself had an experience on a retreat where a spiritual director who had just met me said he "knew" that I had a religious vocation. Desiring to follow God's will but not feeling at all at peace about this actually led me into a bout of real clinical depression. In the end, the whole experience turned me off the idea of looking into a religious vocation altogether. I know also from among my circle of friends that I was not the only one to have an experience like this.

    The idea that each of us has a specific God-intended vocation that we can "miss" has it's problems. First, it demands that every one of us receive a private revelation from God, which is something that is not promised to us (I do not deny that private revelations exist, but many of us will never have one). Second, it potentially reduces us to tools, created to fill a need rather than beings in the image of God with our own potential to be creative. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we are all constantly missing opportunities to bring Christ's love to earth, and not just by sinning. It's just a reality of our temporal nature that we cannot do All the Good Things. Saying we have a missed vocation would be like saying the good things that we do aren't the correct good things, because they weren't the good things God wanted - and that gets into divine command theory (the idea that things are only good because they are what God wants).

    There are no papal encyclicals about missed vocations ;)

    I have actually read through most of your blog, and you have an earlier post on this topic that I thought was really well done : http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.ca/2010/04/knowing-gods-will-and-catholic-freedom.html

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  71. I think I typically ride the middle with the question of is it God's will that I marry this one or because I married this one, is it God's will? (Note story, and it's quite long)

    I had a best guy friend starting in 6th grade. I thought he was cute on and off again, until about senior year. I was madly in love, and I knew him well enough, warts and all, that it wasn't just puppy love. He seemed terribly interested in jumping into a relationship too, especially after freshman year of college, so I thought for sure we were meant to be together. For whatever reason, he never asked, and for whatever reason, I felt compelled to let him make the 1st move. So it never happened, life moved on but I was left wondering how, since it seemed like so many things pointed to us together.

    Senior year of college I had absolutely no interest in any particular boy even though 5 seemed to have an interest in me all at once. I was ready to go be a religious sister. But I was required as an RA to stay and chaperone our hall dance, rather than go on a retreat. A date was threatened upon me if I didn't find my own, so I asked, in a clearly "just friends" manner a friend of mine who knew how to dance well. There was an excellent conference on marriage and family on campus the end of that week, and I found God saying to me "just be open". My dance followed on the heels of that conference and as I danced, it became very evident to me God meant open to him. So I agreed to a real date. And then a week later, I sat down on my bed and wrote a letter to him, to be opened on our wedding night. I met a face, the face of my vocation, and it was evident to me. We didn't get engaged until 10 months later as we both wanted to be very sure, but he did get that letter a year and half after I wrote it.

    He was the 1st guy I'd ever really dated, and it was so clear looking back seeing how God brought us together. It really was in the plan of God that I marry this man, and thank God he made me open to it. But I honestly thought it was the plan of God for me to marry high school guy. And I really think that had I married him, I could have been happy. The same with some of the 5 guys who were pursuing that semester. I could have married them and that would have been God's will. Yet...God did have a beautiful plan which he bid me follow, and follow I did into a very happy life.

    So...if that's not confusing, I really think it's a both/and. God's no professional matchmaker, nor is he a master chess player and we're pawns in his hands. But he knows us so intimately and personally that ultimately he knows who out of all the people you might encounter would be a good match, much more than you know. And sometimes, like he did me, he gives you a little push and prod to realize it yourself. My opinion at least. :)

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    1. JP2's "The Jeweler's Shop" has some really great reflections on all this.

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  72. Kim what a great story!! I love that! And, I can't find anything you said that I disagree with.

    Munchie Mommy, oh that first part hurts my heart, but you are absolutely right. It can be paralyzing for the earnest Catholic. One thing that I have also found in young Catholics is that they discern and discern and discern and discern and discern.... endlessly. At some point, a decision has to be made. Young people are not used to that!!! Pope Francis has decried this lack of the ability to commit in our young people. It's an odd phenomenon!

    I really like your comment. I'm with you.

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  73. Love it too, Kim. I'll have to look at The Jeweler Shop again.

    In this post, Peter Kreeft talks about St. Augustine' statement, "Love and do what you will." http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics/discernment.htm
    As I understand it from his explanation, the more you are in tune with God, devoted to God, the more He guides your decisions so that your will and His are one. That means that there can be a range from your (Leila's) not discerning at all but God blessing your marriage, to (maybe) Louis Martin and Azelie Guerin being intended by God to be the parents of St. Therese. So, we can perhaps dump the language "he was made for me," but I was still say, "God intended us for each other," because we were both discerning His will.

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  74. I've read comments about discerning God's will for us, and our own searching and reasonings, but I've not seen here discussion on our ability to do those things, which I have found greatly varies among people.

    On the low end of that ability I help care for homes of developmentally disabled adults; all are single, and very happy. My best friend is a woman who vows never to get married, but not as a vow to God but herself. She was greatly abused by her parents and siblings in her youth, has had counseling, but still does not believe she can ever relate to a man in marriage as God would expect of her. In a way, she too is disabled, and would agree with that definition, but in no way is she mentally impaired (she is a very well-known corporate executive). What I am saying is, that relative to the single life there may be inhibitors to the married life beyond the "choice" of the individual ---- even if the inhibitor is only that there don't seem to be any good men around.

    And, personally, I perceive that our culture in so many ways is encouraging fewer of them. But that's a whole 'nother issue.

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  75. Connie, but if we go by the idea that there is someone God has in mind for us, and if most of us (most Catholics for sure, and probably everyone else) are not good discerners (and maybe even don't think about that), then shouldn't it be true that most people are not with "the one" God made for us/had in mind for us/wanted to give us if we discerned?

    That's my problem with the whole idea. We make a marriage holy and good by how we love. We can love so, so, so many people that any number of them could be a suitable spouse, should we choose them. I did not discern marriage with Dean. Doest this mean I missed "the one"? See, that's what I don't understand about your view and need clarification.

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  76. DNBA, good comment, and when you say "fewer of them", do you mean marriages?

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  78. Leila, do you believe it would be more prudent to choose to marry one person rather than another, at least in some cases? Isn't choosing prudently following God's will? Sure, we could love many people. That does not preclude some of them being better for us and our potential children than others. Some potential spouses will more likely help us get to Heaven, become holy, help us mature on a natural level, provide for our children's needs, etc. God works through our reasoning powers. Most people are certainly falling short of God's will for them in a myriad of ways. That's why our world is such a mess.

    People make less than optimal choices about other things all the time. And most people make lots of mistakes in life, so I don't see any reason why many or most people may not have chosen a spouse that was not the best person they could have. (But believing there is a best choice for you does not necessarily lead to this conclusion.) I think you're thinking that if we choose someone who is not the best spousal choice, then we are somehow outside God's will for the rest of our lives. I don't think that follows.

    Even after the ceremony, we continue to make choices and so does our spouse. And those choices can make a very good or even great marriage out of something that may not have been the most prudential choice at the beginning. God blesses all those little good choices too.

    I too thought of Eph 1:4 and the verse a little later that speaks of the good works "that God prepared in advance for us that we should do them." I think God has a best plan for a lot of things, like the lives of children who were aborted, for example, that never come to pass because people make bad choices. (I'm not saying a less than optimal choice is sinful; that's just an example I thought of.)

    For all I know, God did intend for you and Dean to marry, even though you weren't thinking consciously about His will. As I said before, God's will is often obscure and mysterious.

    I just think that if God does not care one way or another, we are just babbling when we pray for discernment. Praying for God to guide us implies that He has a will in the area. And certainly He would have a will in the area of the biggest decision of our lives outside of our conversion, if in anything else.

    I guess that's all I have to say on the matter unless you find a new, compelling argument on your side.

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  79. Now here I am writing again...

    I mean, can't it be both? What if God says, "Okay there are many people you could be (validly) happy with, and I will be with you to give you grace and help you make the best life possible together, whichever of them you choose. But at the same time, I know that your likelihood of happiness and holiness is best with this one person."

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  80. I definitely think there are good and bad people for us, and that we could choose to marry people who are bad for us. That is why our formation is so important. Or, our future conversion of heart if we do choose unwisely (and if our "not prudent" spouse never does convert).

    I thought you were no longer advocating for "the one" that God made for us, but if you still are advocating that, then I still have to disagree. Because it doesn't make any sense at all to me. If it's true, then most of the world would not have found "the one" (since most do not discern), and if it's true then where is our free will to make our own way, our own lives and the freedom to choose our spouse (which the Church gives us)? Any choice besides "the one" would then be the wrong choice (how could it be otherwise? Not a sin, but still the wrong guy, not the one God "made just for us").

    I don't see evidence for your side (if that's your side still), so I have to say that I'm still where I was at the beginning, lol.

    Discernment for God's will in marriage: Get the help of a priest, pray often about it, and then make a decision. I get frustrated that people seem to discern ad nauseum these days, to the point where years go by and they wonder if there is "someone better" out there, or maybe it's an excuse to not make a decision (I'm speaking of the millennials, who seem to not even date, even the Catholic millennials. I hear it from my friends' kids (and my kids) all the time. The scene is very.... slow. It's sorta weird. Not natural. Decisions are important, so while discernment is real and good, it cannot be an indefinite thing, with the idea that something even better might come along -- and that perhaps this is not "the one" God prepared for me. I think that's a recipe for disaster.

    So, is the person generally mature and mentally/emotionally healthy? Does the person have good hygiene? Am I attracted to the person? Does the person understand that marriage is a permanent estate of self-sacrificial love? Is the person committed to growing in virtue together? Could I see myself suffering with this person (suffering well)? And of course the one that is foundational for my kids and for me, should I have been faithful at the time of my marriage: Is the person a faithful Catholic?

    If those are all "yes", then don't sit around discerning forever, make a commitment. It's what Pope Francis has talked about again and again and again. I agree with him that it's a crisis today, this failure of young people to marry. I wonder how much of it is due to the idea that since God has "the one" for me, He will make sure I meet that person, and basically drop him in my lap as I pray.

    I think it's a big problem.

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  81. Just now seeing your last comment. But I don't think it can be that there is "one" person in the world who is "best" for us. I don't get how that happens. That means we should be with that one, doesn't it? And what if we find THAT one, but AFTER we are married to the other guy? That is what many people think happens, and then they get divorced and they justify it.

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  82. In other words, let's say I'm in a troubled marriage, and then I 'fall in love' with the man that I think I was supposed to be with, the one who I am sure "God meant for me". Can you see why someone would use that theory as a reason to divorce and go for an annulment? It is exactly what people do all the time. And the theory of "the one" would make that approach legit, wouldn't it? How could the woman be wrong to say that her first marriage was "never meant to be", thus invalid?

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  83. I am curious to know what is the source of the idea that God has a specific vocation for each of us and that it is possible to "miss" it. Where is this coming from?

    Also, I am finding it interesting, Leila, that you believe that we each have a specific God-intended vocation (otherwise it would not make sense that you could "miss" your vocation) but don't believe that it would in the case of marriage be to a specific person. Is the idea that God is specific about his will for our state in life, but leaves us free to choose when and with whom to pursue it? (I have also heard the idea elsewhere that if people are called to religious life then it is to a specific order, sort of like "the One" for religious life).

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  84. Yes I think single life is a vocation. There are things and work that only a single person can do that a married person, religious or consecrated person can´t do. Our vocation is to love. Some are call to learn to love in marriage, as a consecrated person or religious person or as a single person. The single life has its place in the world and as a witness. Perhaps, it is the most difficult way.

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  85. "Can you see why someone would use that theory as a reason to divorce and go for an annulment? It is exactly what people do all the time."

    Really? People "all the time" say that they should get an annulment, because they married the wrong person and now, when they are already married, they have found the "right" person? IMHO, they would be laughed out of the chancery. Or at least denied an annulment. Not finding the perfect spouse is not grounds for an annulment. A valid marriage does not require a perfect choice, only a choice free of certain impediments.

    Now maybe people who are not serious Christians make this kind of excuse for getting divorced. Personally, I've never known someone who has. It's basically an excuse for adultery. But the fact that someone can use something as an excuse for their serious sin, does not say anything about the truth of the actual proposition: in some cases (I don't believe I ever said "all," just that I thought it was true in my case and maybe some others) there is a best choice, a person with whom you are most likely to do well on a natural and supernatural level. And since God wills our good, the best choice would also be closest to His perfect will for us.

    I think that's perfectly reasonable, no matter how some people might twist it.

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  86. Re my comment about society encouraging fewer, I was referring to good men. What with the hook up culture and pornography addiction and the me-first outlook, agape love, the ideal love in marriage, is absolutely frowned upon. And while this would lead me to somewhat look down on the men of today, "there but for the grace of God ..." were I young in this culture.

    But there is yet another point which no one commented on, that marriage in some ways is a crutch to get us to heaven:

    "To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain single as I do. But if the cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion" (1Cor 7:8)

    But in today's culture, as I noted, you don't have to marry to put out the flames of passion. It's your "right" to have free sex on college campuses. I've heard this lament from almost all my Godkids --- and the few who haven't commented on this, well, I'm not sure I want to ask.

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  87. I mean, when you make a choice and get married, that choice is for a lifetime. Period. Now if you are thinking at the time of your marriage, "Hey, if someone better comes along, I can always decide that it's really God's will for me to be with him and divorce my husband," that probably would invalidate your marriage, because you wouldn't be thinking of it as permanent. Pretty crazy. But the marriage would be invalid WHETHER OR NOT that "perfect" guy someday came around.

    The fact is, many people DO marry "the wrong person", in the sense that they make a bad choice. But if it's a valid marriage, they have to live with that choice. That's why discernment is important. I don't think it's God's will for you to make a bad choice. But that does not invalidate your marriage. Lot's of people later regret that they married the person they did, and sometimes they are right that they made a mistake--maybe even a big mistake. Other times they're just in a slump because they had their first argument, etc. It's not profitable to afterwards think, "Maybe I married the wrong person," because you can't change it. This is one of those few choices you have to live with. Likewise, it would be ridiculous to keep discerning "ad nauseum" as you say, as if you need some kind of private revelation to tell you this is the right person. No, you just use your head and your heart and ask God to help you make the right decision. I don't have to search the world over and check out every member of the opposite sex to find "the one." It does not take anything extraordinary. God works through our discernment process.

    Few of us have that movie scenario where we are choosing between two potential spouses at once. But we can make bad mistakes that have later consequences. For example, a girl could have loose morals at one time, and she meets a great Christian guy who will not consider dating her, because he is looking for a virtuous wife. She later converts and lives virtuously, but she has missed her chance with that guy. Is it possible that her sin kept her from marrying the man who would have been the best potential husband for her? I would say yes. And I think we could come up with many more scenarios like this.

    Whatever the case, God never wills for you to break your vows. He is involved in them. He makes good what might otherwise be mediocre.

    To me, to say that there may be one person designed for you, is no different than saying there may be one person with whom you could be happiest and holiest. To me, that's obviously true. I might be happy at some level with many different men. But I would likely be happiest with just a few, or maybe even one (meaning only one that I would actually ever meet in a realistic life situation; not one in the whole world that I have to go on a special worldwide hunt for), with whom I am most compatible. So, choose wisely, prudently, prayerfully. That's how God works. Not through some private revelation or traveling to China to search for that perfect person. But, to me, making the most prudent choice is also acting most in accordance with God's will. Which means He does have a perfect--or at least more perfect--will in the matter.

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  88. Chantal, but does that mean that my 18-year-old son, a senior in high school, has the vocation of "single"? Isn't singleness something that could always change, unless it's vowed or consecrated? If so, then how could it be a "vocation"? What did you think of Msgr. Pope's article?

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  89. Connie, I'm not clear on whether we agree or not, lol.

    Here is what I can absolutely agree with:

    Some potential spouses would be a very bad choice, some would be a good choice, and some would be a very good choice. Within those three general categories, I would say that there are countless potential spouses. Choose wisely, for sure!! And discern well! (Using those general points that I mentioned earlier.)

    What I cannot agree with:

    "I can't wait to find that one person that God created just for me!"

    Not only do I find that illogical (I can't wrap my head around such a concept) but also that type of romantic sentiment is damaging, especially to women who tend to believe it.

    I also want to clarify: I don't believe anyone would go to the priest or tribunal saying, "Well, my first husband was not 'the one', therefore, I made a big mistake marrying someone God did not make just for me, and that is the grounds for my annulment". No one does that.

    What happens is what I've seen so many times, even among the "good" Catholics I interact with, both online and in social media and also, sadly, in real life. A woman decides that she is "unhappy" with her husband (this happens ALL the time, and it's why I have done so many Dr. Laura posts). Because the romantic culture talks about "the one" that God made for you, she came to her marriage believing her husband to be "the one". Then, life hits. She is not feeling "loved", she is not "fulfilled", she is not getting "what she needs" from her husband. In her mindset, she sees it as having made a big mistake. She sees this whole marriage as an injustice, something that never should have been. First, she divorces (and divorce is contagious, especially among "unfulfilled" women -- their friends suddenly also want to "get free"). Even though canon law says that a spouse must get permission from the bishop to separate, no one does that and no bishop asks it (a mistake in my opinion!). Now she can be free to find "the one" and, for Catholics, the annulment is almost a surety (grounds: lack of discretion).

    I have seen this happen with evangelical Christian friends of mine, and also Catholics. I have had more than one very faithful Catholic woman come to me to ask "permission" to divorce their husbands. I always ask: "Is he a decent man?" They say "Yes". They love their kids, they love their wives, they may have fallen on hard times, gotten depressed, not lived up to the "women's porn" of romance novels and chick flicks, but the women want out. One complaint I have heard more than once: "He is not the spiritual head of our home like I want him to be!" You see the mindset? Clearly, God wants the woman to have a man who is a strong spiritual leader.... this must not be the man that God made for her! That's when I let the women (gently) have it.

    It's so frustrating!!

    to be continued....


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  90. continued...


    And, as I said before, there was no virtue and no discerning when Dean and I met and married. We knew marriage was permanent, though. And, what is so amazing about God's will is that (I think as St. Augustine said), even sin is at the service of his will and his plan!. I've marveled at the fact that if Dean and I were not both committed to being grave sinners, and very secular in actions, we would never, ever have met or dated (trust me). And look at what God has done with our marriage and our family and our lives! It's incredible!!

    As for each of us being "the one" God made for each other, I don't see it. In fact, there are some AMAZING Catholic friends I have who adore Dean (in our circle of friends) who would have made SUCH better wives for him!! They are just as Catholic as I am, and yet they cook and clean and would have taken such good nurturing care of him in ways that can't. They are talented in every way that a woman should be, and I am not. It doesn't bother me a bit to admit that he could have found a much more suitable wife than I. But we have made a holy and excellent marriage and it's been fruitful!

    So, I do love how God works, but I don't and can't accept "the one" theory. Again, I'm not sure if we agree or disagree, lol.

    And nursing a migraine does not help my thought process. :)

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  91. And I should add:

    I do believe that Dean is "the one" for me, but only because (and in the sense that) once I made those vows at the altar, God honored those vows and Dean became "the one", until death parts us (at that point, each of us could vow to make another person "the one" for us, "the one" that we choose go give our lives to).

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  92. I don't think I have anything more to say on the general level. I can say about myself: I don't think there are many men with whom I would be so happy as I am with Dan. I think I could have been (more or less) happy with someone who temperament-wise, for example, was very different, but I would not have known what I was missing. I have seen some family members who are very committed to their spouses as faithful Catholics, but who bicker with each other daily. That would be very hard for me. I have seen others in my family circle, who while I love them and they are faithful Catholics, nevertheless have caused a lot of unnecessary pain or stress to their spouse and children because of lack of maturity or imprudence. I am VERY thankful my husband is not like that.

    Now, it's for better or worse. My dad, as you know, had almost a complete personality change after his head injury. I think something like 80% of spouses divorce in that situation. My mom has been a loving wife to him in his new situation for over 30 years. I entered marriage knowing that my husband could change drastically or be different than what I expected, and I would still need to follow my mom's example. I could still have to deal with that as we age.

    But for now, I have a man who on the first date suggested we pray Evening Prayer together--he brought his breviary with him. Who was raised by two wonderful parents who could not have done a better job as parents and continue to be a great example as Catholic spouses. Who is educated, smart, mature, and shares many of my interests. Who understands me. I could go on, but I don't want to make anyone envious. ;)

    As a homeschooling mom, I make a lot of sacrifices for our family. I don't know if I could do that if my husband was not such a support for me. He edits my books on Catholic spirituality. (I thought things like that only happened in story books.) He allotted me a column in the diocesan newspaper.

    In short, everything that was most important to me in a husband I find in him. A few trivial things I used to think were important I can now laugh at. I know very few people have this level of relationship with their spouse. I don't think I've merited it. But I do think it was an answer to my prayers. And to Dan's, and probably both sets of parents. Okay, that's all. :)

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  93. Praise God for your beautiful marriage! Truly a wonderful story and a great blessing!

    I still don't know if we agree (I can't tell!), but I love hearing of good marriages. Marriage is sort of my passion! :)

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  94. And I should add the following:

    I do NOT advise doing things the way that Dean and I did! Just because God brought an amazing marriage out of the muck and sin and ignorance, that does not mean people should just go that route and hope for the best! We raised our children VERY differently, to find truly Catholic spouses, spouses who are on board with all Church teaching, who are committed to growing in virtue, and who know what the Sacrament of Matrimony is. We are very, very clear about not marrying just anyone that they happen to find interesting or attractive. Three have found spouses (well, one is still a fiancee, with a wedding on the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel!!) and so far so good!

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  95. "Is the idea that God is specific about his will for our state in life, but leaves us free to choose when and with whom to pursue it?"

    Munchie Mommy, yes, I think that would be my general thought about it. And, as for "missing" our vocation, I think Joseph has quotes from saints on that, but they were talking about priestly vocation. I am still not completely opposed to the idea that the only 'real' vocation out there (in the strict sense) is Holy Orders. I just have heard about the "vocation of marriage" for so many years that I assume that is also a vocation. But I am not absolutely certain!

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  96. Per the question of marriage itself, I think we can look at the St. Thomas's comment that "Grace does not destroy Nature, but perfects it," and understand it in regards to the sacramentalizing of the natural bond (such that a contract before Man begets a vow before God). A similar sort of sacramental sign of grace marks Holy Orders in being at once an indelible transformation and a natural commissioning in the body of the Church; the wholly supernatural nature of consecrated life marks something different in form yet serving similar function and cause. We see promises before God sealed with graces differing in various ways (Confirmation itself is a sort of ordination for our common priestly function as laypeople, even in the single state of life), even if common avowed and advocated.

    I do wonder, though, how much the "Single Vocation" talk is meant to soothe those of us who are caught in demographic crises and see little effort by parishes to even include us in the 'family' life of the Church around us — the term acts both as a sort of placation for our esteem AND for their worries about neither helping us in our isolation or finding ways out of it (better to either assume we're gifted with such loneliness in the same graceful way as other states of life or else at least assume that our position is necessarily a deliberate choice like others' was).

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  97. Brian, I thought this comment thread was dead. There was very little discussion of the original topic of the article, it veered off into a discussion of whether "the one" is a valid notion or not. I posted a link to a Catholic Stand article where I had already written my opinion on the "single vocation" topic. I guess no one went to read it. (But they did read an Aleteia article that was mentioned. I copied my CS comment to that article.)

    In summary: we all know that the word "vocation" means "career". At church when they pray for vocations, everyone knows this means that we want more people to choose the career path of priests and nuns. However for some unknown reason, some in the Church want to apply the word to marriage too. And unfortunately some of the singles cry out "hey? what about us?" which leads to this totally unnecessary debate of "is the single life a vocation?". My question to the author was going to be "Why did you ask the question? What difference does it make?"

    I also found the use of a wedding photo in this article, a bit baffling.

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  98. Umm....noooo.....the priesthood and religious life are not "careers"; both involve being consecrated to Jesus Christ through lifelong vows or through ordination. Vocations are giving yourself completely to Jesus Christ, not for a paycheck as with a career.
    Btw, the wedding photo is of Leila's eldest daughter :)

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  99. Sigh. Well, here is exactly what I wrote on the other articles.

    "To any man on the street, the everyday English word "vocation" means "life's work" and "career" and "life's purpose". We pray for "religious vocations", the career of priests and nuns. Others choose vocations like medicine or nursing or education or science and indeed, this is also God's call and it can lead themselves and others closer to heaven. We know what the word means."

    There is no need to try to apply the word vocation to being, or not being, married. It only confuses matters. And, from reading the comment threads of articles like Msgr. Pope's, the Aleteia article, and many others, it really enrages some unmarried people who think they are entitled to a religious vocation of sorts too.

    I agree with Brian's second paragraph completely - singles have enough problems in today's Church. Let's stop this silly debate about vocations that really aren't.

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  100. I do a lot of vocation discernment work so here is what I got. You are right in in you two statement. 1. We are all called to holiness. 2. It is possible to miss discerning.

    But to miss discerning one's vocation leaves a lot of questions. St. Teresa of Jesus, Doctor of the Church, tells us it is difficult to strive for a life of holiness alone. The Church never recommends to be on our own when it comes to holiness.

    I believe, though, the single life is an authentic vocation but is very rare. It usually comes about because of circumstances beyond our control. Many times because of physical or mental disabilities a person is not called to the married or consecrated life. I also believe those that are called to the single life, despite having all their facilities, are called because their gift to persevere is extremely rare. They must be people who are incredibly honest with themselves and extremely mature. These are two rare gifts and not many people have them. There are not the helps that the sacrament of marriage provides nor the rule an order or institute provides. Those who have missed their call to marriage or consecrated life for whatever reason find themselves single and that is their calling at that particular time in life. Then again one can remarry or enter consecrated life later in life. God keeps the door open.

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  101. Joseph, you support my point very well. It is impossible to discuss this when the basic words being used have multiple definitions.

    If "vocation" in the church-y sense can be agreed to mean only being a priest or a nun, or yes also those very rare things like consecrated brothers and etc., and "discernment" can be agreed to mean "deciding if you have a church-y vocation," then that is easily understood.

    But when alternate obscure definitions get thrown into the mix, people quickly start talking past each other. When you say "the single life is an authentic vocation but very rare", I surely hope that you are talking about a much different "single life" than many many adults find themselves living nowadays. That life is hardly rare at all. You speak of only the physically or mentally disabled, or "very rare" "extremely mature" people? Again you've got to be using definitions that I can't understand. You are talking past me, and I suspect, past most people.

    And I know you don't really mean to say "the church never recommends to be on our own when it comes to holiness". Or again, you're talking past me without being aware of it. Suggesting that singles "missed their call to marriage?" Again, I will try not to become irate or incredulous. I hope you are saying these things with a definition or a mindset that I'm completely failing to see.

    Discussing the plight of adult singles in today's parishes can be another topic for another day on another site. But please confine the words "vocational discernment" to "deciding if you want to be a priest or nun". Then all the argument and confusion is greatly reduced.

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  102. "... the perfect continence of the virgin represents the perfection of love and is, therefore, a source of inspiration and also strength for the married to live chastity in their relationship with each other. That is the meaning of Our Lord too when He tells us that in the life which is to come, we will neither marry nor be given to each other in marriage because there will be that perfection of love." ~ Cardinal Raymond Burke

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  103. "Churchy sense" is hardly a term that is clear or precise. I am referring to "state of life" that is a vocation to marriage, priesthood, or consecrated life. The single vocations as a "state of life" equal to that of the three above is, and should be extremely rare. There are saints who were called to this form of vocation. St. Joseph Labore and Saint Cathrine of Siena are Good examples.

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  104. Joseph, I've already made the point that the word "vocation" in the religious sense ought to be limited to describing actual religious careers.

    Don't believe me? Ask 100 people coming out of mass this Sunday, what "praying for vocations" means. I guarantee, all 100 will mention the need for priests and nuns. And none will talk about marriage or singleness or anything else.

    Even if the "vocation of marriage" is correct in some ivory-tower sense, that's where it ought to stay. Otherwise it causes justifiable resentment among many singles who are tired of being second-class citizens in the Church and want to believe that their lives are just as valuable as any married person.

    Let's stop misusing and abusing the word.

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  105. St. Catherine of Siena took vows as a 3rd order Dominican, so properly speaking fits under the "religious life" vocation.

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  106. I just got back in town, so this will be short (as I try to catch up with all that I left behind, ack!), but in this short video Fr. Mike Schmitz addresses the concept of "the one" better than my feeble attempts. I think he gets to the heart of the issue:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14VAz80R9-0

    By the way, I only recently discovered him. He is young, fun, and I think he would be a great resource for younger Americans.

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  107. Hey, here's an interesting event: "Half of the adult population in the United States is single. Yet many don’t feel fully integrated into the fabric of their churches."

    Who's putting it on? The Diocese of Phoenix? Of course not! Their Director of Marriage and Family Life would rather spread his opinion that single men are damaged goods. (You know what I mean... his "game-boy and playboy and ez-boy" quip that IMO he should have lost his job over.)

    No, the event is at North Phoenix Baptist Church. And I just might attend.

    http://www.singleness2016.com/

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  108. Uncle Fester, I will not have you speak ill of a friend of mine, Mike Phalen, nor will I allow you to misrepresent him. You are positively obsessed with the idea that the Church is out to get single men, and this latest comment proves it. Mike speaks of American men going through the phases of "Game Boy, Playboy, LaZBoy" as the mentality that is fueling the culture today. In no way we he speaking only of single men! In fact, I have always understood that most men on that track are married men.

    Please stop constantly slamming everyone all the time. There is no one out to persecute you, I promise.

    God bless.

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  109. Now to add to this discussion may I say that st.benedict (not the founder of the benedictans)I believe he may be called saint benedict the homeless, but he is officially canonized by the Catholic Church. Anyways he had many times pursued religious life going from one order to another finally realizing that this may not be his calling he dedicated his life to touring the holy Land and praying for others he saw on the way (in the state of being single).

    ReplyDelete
  110. Now to add to this discussion may I say that st.benedict (not the founder of the benedictans)I believe he may be called saint benedict the homeless, but he is officially canonized by the Catholic Church. Anyways he had many times pursued religious life going from one order to another finally realizing that this may not be his calling he dedicated his life to touring the holy Land and praying for others he saw on the way (in the state of being single).

    ReplyDelete
  111. Now to add to this discussion may I say that st.benedict (not the founder of the benedictans)I believe he may be called saint benedict the homeless, but he is officially canonized by the Catholic Church. Anyways he had many times pursued religious life going from one order to another finally realizing that this may not be his calling he dedicated his life to touring the holy Land and praying for others he saw on the way (in the state of being single).

    ReplyDelete
  112. Now to add to this discussion may I say that st.benedict (not the founder of the benedictans)I believe he may be called saint benedict the homeless, but he is officially canonized by the Catholic Church. Anyways he had many times pursued religious life going from one order to another finally realizing that this may not be his calling he dedicated his life to touring the holy Land and praying for others he saw on the way (in the state of being single).

    ReplyDelete
  113. Dear Unknown and Thomas (I think you are the same person?), I think you sound like an amazing person and a faithful Catholic! Unfortunately, you completely misunderstood the post, and the point I was making. I wonder if there is a language barrier? (English may not be your first language?) I never said that single people cannot be holy saints! Of course they can! And I am a huge fan of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati! I also talked about Third Orders and consecrated single life.

    If you read the post again, and then read the comments carefully, you will see that I never said the things you are worried about. :)

    And yes, there is a state of life that is when we are single. We all pass through that state of life, and some of us stay in it until our deaths. There is nothing sinful in it, and of course single people can be holy and even canonized. I was talking about a "vocation" which traditionally has meant Holy Orders and possible marriage. Again, it may be we have a language barrier.

    Blessings!

    ReplyDelete

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