Convincing others that Marriage really is a vocation


#1

I may sound a bit light-hearted with this, but it’s a serious question. A couple months ago, our priest gave a sermon about the call to vocations and how people really need to listen to the call. Although the focus was mostly on people being called into priesthood, at the end he said he didn’t want to exclude married people and pointed out that it’s also a vocation and one that needs just as much commitment and attention nowadays as others.

I got a lot from the sermon and mentioned it to several others, including my wife, son and parents, and the general reaction was anything from jokes to laughter because, as they put it, marriage isn’t a vocation. They basically said it’s a lack of a vocation and no matter what I said to convince the otherwise, they still felt I was wrong.

I pointed out that Marriage is a sacrament and leading a married life, from my point of view, is just as much a calling from God as becoming a nun, priest or deacon. I told them how, back when I was in 7-8th grade, we had several presentations from our priest talking about vocations. This led me to do quite a bit of praying and soul-searching at the time. I put a lot of serious thought into it (at least as much serious thought as a 12-13 year old can on these subjects) and spent a lot of time considering the priesthood, largely because I was worried that to not do so might somehow be considered a mortal sin. No matter where my thoughts & prayers led me, I always ended back at the same conclusion, which was that God wanted me to be a husband and father some day. From that time on, I always saw myself as getting married early and having a larger-than-normal family (I was one of the first of my friends to get married, and with 4 kids I definitely have more than most of my family & friends, although I’d never complain about several more).

Despite all this, the people with whom I’ve discussed this remain unconvinced. Although I wouldn’t mind being able to convince them otherwise, I’m more concerned with being able to get my kids to have a better understanding of this. I think society does a lot to devalue marriage nowadays, and I’d like to have a bit more ammunition on my side to be able to get them to see not only what a gift marriage is, but that it truly can be God’s calling for them in life.


#2

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
1535 “Those who receive the sacrament of Holy Orders are consecrated in Christ’s name ‘to feed the Church by the word and grace of God.’ On their part, 'Christian spouses are fortified and, as it were, consecrated for the duties and dignity of their state by a special sacrament.”

1660 “Christ the Lord raised marriage between the baptized to the dignity of a sacrament.”

And this writing below apparently has a nihil obstat and an imprimatur on it:

catholicapologetics.info/catholicteaching/vocations/vocations.htm#chap3

Does that help?


#3

Thanks! I'll try sending a couple emails to see if it sways any opinions. My son told me again last night that he doesn't think marriage is the same thing as a vocation, so I'll probably have a few more conversations with him about it this week.


#4

Vocation is simply wherever God wishes for you to be in life. God has a plan for everybody, therefore everyone has a vocation. Marriage is one of them. :smiley:


#5

yes, marriage is a vocation. You make vows before God, the same way a priest makes vows before God.

I agree with you, society has devalued marriage. It is no longer about a life long commitment it is more about a big party and staying happy. Not happy, leave. The kids and your spouse will get over it.


#6

[quote="vsedriver, post:5, topic:229025"]
I agree with you, society has devalued marriage. It is no longer about a life long commitment it is more about a big party and staying happy. Not happy, leave. The kids and your spouse will get over it.

[/quote]

I think that's part of the reason this has gotten under my skin as much as it has. I have a friend who was married a few months before I was and she posted something on Facebook the other day about how they're coming up on their 15th anniversary. There were quite a few replies, and while most of them mentioned some sort of congratulations, they all commented on how odd it was that they had been together so long, especially in this day and age. My wife & I have received similar comments, and have even been asked if this is our first marriage. I have several friends my age and younger who have already been divorced and remarried, and one just slightly older friend who divorced her 3rd husband a couple years ago (it always strikes me that she's on her 4th surname since I met her).

No matter how difficult our lives together have been at times (and, believe me, we've weathered some horrible storms), I never saw divorce as even a remote option, even though others have told me they never would have stuck through the things I have. I truly believe that God put us here for one another and that a lot of the hurdles I had to overcome earlier in my life were sent to me to better prepare me for my life with my wife. When I see how little value some of the people I know place on marriage, it really boggles my mind. I've talked to older people who met their spouses shortly before one of them was shipped off to WWII, and they stayed together the rest of their lives (one man told me he met his wife at a dance the night before he left, proposed to her an hour later, got married the next morning, came back 3 years later to a girl he really didn't know, and then spent over 50 wonderful years with her). At the same time, I've talked to people who were shocked to hear that my wife and I didn't live together (or sleep together) before we got married, refused to believe it and said that there's no way a marriage nowadays can last under those circumstances.

All I know is that I'll take what we have any day over the marriages of my friends who are constantly looking for that next big party, toy, vacation, whatever.


#7

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.