How do you know if you are not supposed to be married?


#21

I’ll address this in the message I sent you, I don’t remember exactly what he said, but he could be wrong idk.


#22

I will give this advice and I don’t think it will be as non accepted as my other one. But when discerning if to being married or not, I think its best when we just first focus on the vocation of Love of our God. Keep a strong prayer life, keep a strong sacramental life. God will let you know on his time. So be patient

I need to learn to give the above advice more instead of trying to answer the question for people because a lot of times, telling people to be patient with God and being open to his does a lot more good then telling them what the answer may be.

hope this helps.


#23

I think what you’re saying is pretty sound.:thumbsup:

I believe that one of the difficulties of talking about discernment is that people are unique and so their discernment journey is unique. Obviously there can be shared experiences, but it isn’t usually helpful to imply that a vocation can be decided by factor* x* or happening y - there is no single indicator to what our station in life should be, and no way to circumvent the complexities of seeking out God’s will for us. That’s why it’s best to focus on our relationship with God, as you say, and be guided towards a methodology for discernment that will work for us.

However genuine the question, and however well-meaning the answer, I often feel concerned by the glibness of some of the responses here in the forum with regard to vocation, and particularly to discerning religious life (since that’s what I’m more familiar with). The best answers are general - pray; enter into service within your parish or community; find a spiritual director; listen and learn.

Anything else needed will be discovered as part of those processes - there is no magic wand to wave, no kind of test that will give you a clear answer, no certainty to be grasped. Discernment is hard, and it takes time, and the best support we can give to others is to help them accept this, rather than suggest there’s short cuts towards the kind of personal wisdom that will enable us to discover our vocation.

In case it sounds otherwise, I’m not accusing everyone in this and similar threads of falling into the kind of reductionism that I’m critiquing: I’m just saying there’s no shortage of it here on the forums, and it can be very misleading even when it’s intended to be helpful, as it no doubt invariably is intended to be.

One of my formators once said something that I try to keep before me in these kinds of discussions - ‘we make a big mistake if we assume that our lives are a template for other people’s lives, and that they will undergo the same journey we did. God didn’t make us all the same.’ We shouldn’t expect that what works for us will work for others.


#24

The problem is that advice of such a sensitive nature can not really be given anonymously over the internet. We can only relay our experiences and our opinions but without personally knowing the individual involved we can not give any advice except to tell the person discerning a vocation to seek out the help of a competent spiritual director.

We also must be careful when giving our opinions and experiences and make sure that they adhere to what the Church Teaches.


#25

[quote="fish90, post:1, topic:249768"]
What are some big signs that you might see or come to realize that may make you realize you are not supposed to get married?

[/quote]

In my case, I was well into my forties and realized that I didn't know anyone that was single, probably wasn't ever going to meet anyone suitable, and just plain gave up hoping. If I was meant to be married, I would have met someone by then. So I guess that was my sign.

And for those who would respond that "maybe that was a sign you should have entered religious life," being that I was a protestant child raised in a protestant home (I'm a convert), that would have been a Real Good Trick.


#26

i def agree that’s why is so important to have a spiritual director, because there is no one better then a spiritual director to help you through situations like this.


#27

[quote="ByzCath, post:18, topic:249768"]
I have no attraction to married life.

[/quote]

El Shaddai, we agree on something!


#28

[quote="catholictiger, post:17, topic:249768"]
wow long post to a simple one lol

anyway once someone is ordained maybe the desire of being married disappears but I don't think so. I have heard from people who have been in seminary or are rectors of seminary that a desire to being married is natural and candidates for the priesthood should have that desire in them before getting ordained. I know it may not make sense, but I believe God puts in us a desire to want to be with someone else, he puts in us attractions to people of the opposite sex. Its natural. As part as my application process I have been asked a couple of times in a direct way or indirect way do you feel attracted to the married life. While I don't feel attracted enough not to go to seminary I do feel some attraction for it. That is natural and that is what should be in all seminarians. If they do not feel an attraction to married life there could be something seriously wrong with them, and they may not be ready for seminary. You have to understand as a priest what life you are sacrificing, and when you choose the life of a priest you understand while that is a natural calling and while married life is great it isn't for you.

I suspect again I'm not sure, but I suspect that a priest will always always have a attraction to married life (that may be another way to say it) but when he is ordained he understands that married life isn't for him, and I'm sure he takes those desires and he works them into his ministry.

If all Men and Women truly do have a desire for married life, and that desire comes from God himself, I suspect it will always be a part of their life, but the men and women who choose single life choose not to act on that desire. There will be desires that all of us won't act on because its not part of God's will. Major and Minor.

I don't want to argue this but I hope you see where I am coming from.

btw sorry I didn't respond to specific points in your post, I'm talking about desire, many men will have a desire to be married even though they may not be called to it or don't have the good qualities of a married men. But I also believe that all good priest would have made great fathers, and all great fathers would have made good priest. Priesthood is kinda like spiritual fatherhood.

[/quote]

I never said I had no attraction or romantic feelings for women, merely that I have no attraction to marriage or children, and, I can not legally express attraction to women if I am not willing to be married or have children; expressing attraction towards the opposite sex when one is not married is called fornication, if I remember correctly. I believe further that the sexual act as it exists today, and the bonding between two people, is, unlike the love of God and a life of service, inherently disordered by original sin, to give rise to jealousy, etc., as it did not do before the Fall.

Also, to make a point, which you seem to miss or to ignore, not everyone who doesn't have an attraction to women is homosexual: some have no attraction at all, and, at that, I do not believe that celibate homosexuals, who can not have a vocation to marriage, should be barred from the priesthood, and neither does the church the last time I checked (unless they have "deeply seated" instead of "transitory" homosexual tendencies: I do not know how this is quantified; all homosexual acts disqualify one, as should all heterosexual acts).

I do see where you're coming from - a misunderstanding of my writing. Don't worry, my English many times is still not up to par at communicating ideas, especially in writing (I'm not a native speaker). I'm working on it.

And, at the risk of sounding prideful, if I dedicated myself to it, I would be a good father and a good husband, I believe. I'm not willing nor hardly able to have children for other reasons, which I shan't list here, and, as the main point of my previous post stated, I think that being a good husband limits (essentially, read the below as "I believe marriage is an impediment to") one's "freedom in Christ" to grow in "grace and knowledge of the Lord" and to "love all of the brethren", and "to love the Lord your God with all your heart", to be a "blessing" or "service" to the Church and world, especially for one in my position and of my talents.
**
Essentially, many choices aren't between what's bad and what's good, or what we don't want and what we do want: many choices are sacrifices, choosing between what is good and what is better, what we want, and what we want more.**


#29

I noticed that I was slightly off on this idea, I’m not going to discuss this idea anymore atleast in this thread.


#30

Nor have I.
I think that attraction to the opposite sex is intrinsic to a healthy sexualityand psychological makeup. By “attraction” I mean that the opposite gender to oneself is not repulsive but as much a part of normal relationships as same gender relationships. Of course, sexual attraction to the opposite gender for example can arise, and it may/might present some difficulties, but one clearly chooses to remain celibate and in the single state or religious life, priesthood despite any present difficulties and struggles.
I read of one contemplative nun interviewed who was asked “Do you ever have sexual feelings towards the opposite sex?”
“This can happen” replied Sister “and then I thank God that I am still a woman”

TS


#31

How does one discern a single/married vocation? I never had this thought cross my mind but when my fiancé broke our engagement after more than 10 years together, I started wondering if this was a call to the single vocation. I still harbor hopes of getting married but don’t know if that’s just my selfish desire. How does one discern a vocation? Do vocations change?


#32

I can understand that for sure. I don’t either and I don’t have an attraction to the single life either. So where does that leave a person? I have no attraction to religious life as well. I think religious life is the highest calling above all!! But Diocesean priersthood is for me the most attractive life I can imagine. I totally understand the fact you are not attracted to marries life. Just because one is not attracted to married life doesn’t mean you can’t be attracted to the opposite sex. People called to sinle life or religous life priesthood I think are making a huge sacrafice and it is honor to be called to it. Scoob.


#33

Response to post by "12seekpeace" here:
forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=8186453&postcount=31

How does one discern a single/married vocation?

The first sign is that one is attracted to one or the other states of life
The second sign is that you have the ability and qualities to life the life and fulfill the vocation
The third sign is that you are accepted into the lifestyle

For the single state vocation, my constant opinion and advice is to seek spiritual direction and affirmation that one is called to the single state. For those who are called, usually there is some ministry that they commit themselves too, or perhaps a certain way of life - all best undertaken with ongoing spiritual direction. For the married state, the third sign is fulfilled by Marriage in The Church.
Re spiritual direction. Ideally this is not only undertaken in the case of the single state but for any person at all who desires to live a committed Catholic life following The Gospel. Pope Benedict not long ago recommended that all Catholics seek a spiritual director and he views spiritual direction as one of the primary spiritual roles of the priesthood.

I never had this thought cross my mind but when my fiancé broke our engagement after more than 10 years together, I started wondering if this was a call to the single vocation.

This must have been terribly painful, to have your fiance break your engagement after so long - and 10 years to my mind is an extremely long period of time.
This does not of necessity mean that you could have a vocation to the single state.

I still harbor hopes of getting married but don't know if that's just my selfish desire.

Men become priests because they were attracted to the life. Women and men consider and enter religious life because they were attracted to the life. Because you are attracted to marriage is not of necessity a selfish desire. Men and women enter into marriage because this was the state that attracted them and then they have fallen in love. God wants us to be happy! If we are not happy, this may well mean that we need to look at our spiritual perspectives and attitudes anew.

You may well need spiritual direction to discern the road ahead for you. I suspect that perhaps you need to get a new perspective on "vocation" per se and even a new look at your relationship with God. But I am no spiritual director!

How does one discern a vocation? Do vocations change?

Sometimes vocations can 'change'. By this I mean, widowed men or women may go into religious life. Divorced people with annulments may go into religious life. Then we have liacized priests who marry. Men and women who leave religious life and marry. Aperson who has embraced the single state as a life vocation may find along they way that they have a call to religious life, priesthood or perhaps marriage. There may be other types of 'changes' too. I think that these might be more frequent today than they used to be. When we do enter upon our vocational path, I think I am fairly safe in stating that we do so for life. But circumstances can change without anticipation on entering a certain vocation. The Will of God unfolds in our days, daily.

I hope that may help and not confuse - TS:)


#34

Our insight and understanding of marriage has grown with time. In previous times, when a person married it was regarded as for those who did not have the necessary Graces for the priesthood and religious life. Marriage was regarded as a rather secondary type of vocation rather than a great Gift of God making a very powerful and public witness.

Especially through the Letters of St. Paul, we now understand the marriage is a very public witness to the relationship that Christ has with His Church and for those who marry, this is a tremendous responsibility and even accountability before God. We know, most of us I should imagine, that marriage can entail much happiness, but also often tremendous sacrifices and unselfishness - rather a focus on the other. Marriage is also a powerful witness to the Blessed Trinity, where two become one flesh and often from that unity comes children.

Marriage is a very sacred and holy institution with great responsibilities and accountabilities. Ideally, it brings much joy, but also the cross -as with every vocation. Marriage has a very powerful and very public witness to make to the Universal Church and to mankind generally. Also, to fall in love is a great Gift of God, for God IS Love.

TS
St Paul on Marriage : drbo.org/x/d?b=drb&bk=56&ch=5&l=24&f=s#x

St Paul on Love/Charity: drbo.org/x/d?b=drb&bk=53&ch=13&l=4&f=s#x


#35
  • as the main point of my previous post stated, I think that being a good husband limits (essentially, read the below as “I believe marriage is an impediment to”) one’s “freedom in Christ” to grow in “grace and knowledge of the Lord” and to “love all of the brethren”, and “to love the Lord your God with all your heart”, to be a “blessing” or “service” to the Church and world, especially for one in my position and of my talents.

But marriage wouldn’t be an impediment to serving Christ (etc.) because if that is your true vocation, it is the path that will lead you closest to Christ; our vocation in life is designed by God and obviously, if He designed it, it is going to be the* best *means for us to come closest to God. The vocation He gives you is the one that will bring you closest to Him.


#36

Is that faithful to St Paul and Catholic teaching? I always got the distinct impression that St Paul was exemplar number one of expounding the thought espoused in your first paragraph.


#37

Quoting: HeWillProvide

But marriage wouldn’t be an impediment to serving Christ (etc.) because if that is your true vocation, it is the path that will lead you closest to Christ; our vocation in life is designed by God and obviously, if He designed it, it is going to be the* best *means for us to come closest to God. The vocation He gives you is the one that will bring you closest to Him.

Once a person is validly married in The Church and especially if a Sacramental marriage, then the person can be assured that the marriage will be that which will lead one to Unity with God.

It was once a prevalent thought amongst Catholics and even by those who taught The Faith in the priesthood and religious life, that marriage was for those too weak for the Grace of celibacy and celibate chastity. That married people could only attain holiness by a miracle of Grace. A spiritual class system developed where those in the priestly and religious life were called to holiness, while married people would need to work at being saved alone.

We now insight St. Paul better and know that marriage is a holy and sacred institution and Sacrament with a very powerful and public witness to be made and that married people are called to this witness and to holiness and Unity with God and that Grace will not be lacking - precisely as in the priesthood and religious life. The duties and responsibilities, accountabilities differ between priestly, religious and the married state etc. - but all states are called to holiness with all the necessary Graces for holiness and channelled most often through faithful adherance to the duties of their particular state.

TS


#38

Originally Posted by TiggerS forums.catholic.com/images/buttons_khaki/viewpost.gif
Our insight and understanding of marriage has grown with time. In previous times, when a person married it was regarded as for those who did not have the necessary Graces for the priesthood and religious life. Marriage was regarded as a rather secondary type of vocation rather than a great Gift of God making a very powerful and public witness.

Especially through the Letters of St. Paul, we now understand the marriage is a very public witness to the relationship that Christ has with His Church and for those who marry, this is a tremendous responsibility and even accountability before God.

[quote="Khalid, post:36, topic:249768"]
Is that faithful to St Paul and Catholic teaching? I always got the distinct impression that St Paul was exemplar number one of expounding the thought espoused in your first paragraph.

[/quote]

Hi Khalid. The first link I gave here : St Paul on Marriage : drbo.org/x/d?b=drb&bk=56&ch=5&l=24&f=s#x - to quote: "

[21] Being subject one to another, in the fear of Christ. [22] Let women be subject to their husbands, as to the Lord: [23] Because the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church. He is the saviour of his body. [24] Therefore as the church is subject to Christ, so also let the wives be to their husbands in all things. [25] Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the church, and delivered himself up for it:

Comment in Douay Rheims on Verse *24] "Church is subject to Christ"... The church then, according to St. Paul, is ever obedient to Christ, and can never fall from him, but remain faithful to him, unspotted and unchanged to the end of the world. *

[26] That he might sanctify it, cleansing it by the laver of water in the word of life: [27] That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any; such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish. [28] So also ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife, loveth himself. [29] For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, as also Christ doth the church: [30] Because we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. "

Hence yes, what I said is quite true to Catholic Teaching re marriage and our current insight into St. Paul re marraige. St. Paul does advocate and highly recommend the celibate life and it is true that it is the highest of states in life - to be celibate for the sake of The Kingdom. St. Paul also understood that celibacy is a gift and that God gifts to whomsoever He may and not necessarily at all because the person is any better, nor worse, than the next. In what I have quoted above, St. Paul also reveals that the marital state is a Gift of God to whomsoever He may and not necessarily at all because the person is any better, nor worse, than the next. Each of the states in life have a particular role to fill in the Mystical Body of Christ on earth and St. Paul speaks about this also - and all have a particular witness too to make to The Church and to mankind. All states in life in God lead to holiness and Unity with Him insofar as the person called into that state co-operates with all Graces granted.

God bless - TS:)


#39

I learned a little more about St Paul today. I always took him as having an exceptionally harsh view of marriage, and considered mine own view to be acceptable because it approximated what I believed St Paul's to be. I'm not sure if I would have phrased it in terms of grace or lack of grace, but I likely would have framed it in terms of God-given strength v. lack thereof, which essentially equates to grace.

Thank you for helping to unmask pride that was hidden from mine own eyes, as the Devil does all he can to tempt all, even the elect, and have humanity sell itself to him as Adam and Eve did of old, and reject the redemptive work of Christ.


#40

No growth without change - and since your understanding has been enlightened by Grace and you have co-operated with that Grace and your views changed - God bless you and continue to hold you as close as He obviously does!
It takes a big person to admit a mistake and a far bigger person to admit it publicly - you are richly blest! I pray for such qualities for myself and for all. The Grace to see where I am wrong and to admit it and to have the courage and humility to do so openly. A tall order for such as I !!!:blush:
God given Grace, God given strength - all such terms mean the same thing: The Holy Spirit at work.

TS:)


Rather than post again:

Confusion can also abound about the celibate state in the priesthood or religious life being the higher call or vocation.
Marriage was 'instituted' with the creation of mankind. "It is not good for man to be alone"

Genesis Chapter 2:
" [18] And the Lord God said: It is not good for man to be alone: let us make him a help like unto himself.

[21] Then the Lord God cast a deep sleep upon Adam: and when he was fast asleep, he took one of his ribs, and filled up flesh for it. [22] And the Lord God built the rib which he took from Adam into a woman: and brought her to Adam. [23] And Adam said: This now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man. [24] Wherefore a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be two in one flesh. [25] And they were both naked: to wit, Adam and his wife: and were not ashamed. "

[quote]
Genesis Chapter 1

: [26] And he said: Let us make man to our image and likeness: and let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and the beasts, and the whole earth, and every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth. [27] And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them. [28] And God blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and all living creatures that move upon the earth

[/quote]

Hence, our sexuality is intrinisic to our humanity - it is the natural state that God intended from the time He created man and woman giving them His first command "and God blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply". Celibacy and the celibate state is a supernatural gift. It is an extraordinary Grace it can be said to live a life outside of our human nature and instrinsic state of being. It is therefore a higher state or vocation, call and with it comes the special Grace to live celibate for the sake of the Kingdom. Obviously, the supernatural (above nature)state is higher than the natural state (the state of human nature).
The error can be made that the person called to the supernatural state of celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom is a higher or better, more loved etc. etc. person. This is error. Often it is the error of the ego somewhere and a failure to insight a call to celibacy and the celibate state for the sake of The Kingdom. It can also be a failure to insight the wonder and awe of The Mystical Body of Christ to which we are called and a failure to sight that God loves all passionately and equally. The error of thought can betray a desire to be more, over and above, one's brothers and sisters in Christ. More special, more loved. Rather it is a call to live in complete ultruistic service for the Love and God and the extra-ordinary Grace to do so. But then married people very often are called by the cirumstances of their lives to live in complete ultruistic service of their family for some reason and since many do so, it witnesses to the fact that the extra-ordinary Grace has been granted to do so.

All that is good has its origin in God.

God calls whom He may to whatever He may with all the Graces necessary to live that call - and not because any person is any more or less special to Him than another. He loves us all equally. He loves every single one of us with a very personal and quite personal ardent love - the holiest in our midst and the most degenerate sinner in our midst. Some, however, love God more than perhaps others and not dependant on their state in life either - but on co-operation with whatever Graces are granted and all are Graced with sufficient to be great saints - great saints. Why does He call some to marriage and some to celibacy for the sake of The Kingdom - the long and short answer is simply : because He wills to do so.

It would be a world on the decline if we were all called to celibate chastity. Mankind would be dying out. Every single saint on our calendar, every priest and every religious originated in the union of man and woman. Every great person in history that was and that will be will originate in the union of a man and a woman. None of these would ever or will ever exist without the union of a man and woman. Marriage is a very holy and sacred state in life!

TS


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