Sunday, November 17, 2013


For every human being God has created He gives two great commandments: Love God with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength, and Love our neighbors as ourselves. He has endowed every human being with unique personalities, unique temperaments, unique gifts, unique talents, and He calls each to follow the vocation and purpose He has designed for him/her. There is no human life without purpose and there is no human being who is not called to make a positive difference in this world. Part of our life journey is to discover, follow and cultivate our individual vocations, for it is in our vocations and in following the LORD's plan for our lives that each of us will best use what God has given us to fulfill the two greatest commandments and make a positive difference in his world. 
Each vocation is different, and the best vocation for an individual is the vocation to which he/she has been called; to do otherwise would be disobedient. Some of us know our individual vocations early, while others seem to stumble on them and eventually embrace them, since God works in mysterious ways, or learn step by step, like following a trail of breadcrumbs, what the LORD wants us to do. The Catholic Church recognizes priesthood, religious life, marriage and the single vocation as valid, legitimate vocations in which God suits each person to best obey the two greatest commandments and use all that God has given us to make a positive difference in this world, and I believe that it is good whenever faith-filled people in a particular vocation come together to support and encourage one another, because people within the same vocation can uniquely support and encourage those who are walking in similar shoes. 
In a thread of comments in which I was trying to point out how faithful married Catholics--married deacons and lay married couples who have been married for a long time and have faithfully followed Church teaching and survived all the challenges of marriage and family life with unselfish devotion and sacrificial love--can mentor couples preparing for marriage and reinforce Catholic teaching to other married people with authenticity and be perceived as the most credible witnesses because of the testimony of their lives, someone insisted that I "failed at marriage" because I have chosen the celibate single state in which to love and serve God and love and serve people and make a positive difference in my life. 
I have not failed at marriage but I am following my personal choice and what I believe is how God has fashioned me and called me. It is true that some of my reasons for choosing singleness have to do with personal preference and are partially selfish or self-centered, but I believe that I am being faithful in my life of freedom to serve God, the Church and people in this way and that my life is "bearing good fruit". For some "bearing good fruit" is marrying, bearing and raising children who will know, love and serve the LORD. But that is not the only way. 
We need a greater respect for ALL the vocations, and the vocation of singleness, whether by specific choice or accepted and embraced at a later point in one's life journey. No vocation is a failure but a gift of God and a means of grace.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Arlene, for your eloquence, & especially your honesty in answering the person who said you failed at marriage. Thank you for writing that no vocatuon is a failure, but a gift of God & a gift of grace! Beautiful! May I be able to respond to criticism with such eloquence! I wonder if that person also thinks that married people should not go to confession to priests because priests are single. Sometimes it is helpful to speak to people in the same vocation, as you mentioned, and other times, a professional or a person with Spiritual insight who is not in the same vocation, can be more objective and can offer valuable guidance. As St. Paul said (I paraphrase:), if the body were only eyes, how would we hear?