I would argue that ALL vocations are calls to the family life


I am wondering if perhaps all vocations—to the married life, priesthood, or consecrated life—are perhaps all calls to family life. For those who are married this is an obvious observation but perhaps less so for the other vocations I listed. But even these latter two—the priesthood and consecrated life—are seemingly calls to family life. The priest, rather than marrying and having his own biological children, adopts the family of a parish or apostolate or what-not and becomes their spiritual father—hence why we refer to these men as such. And even the nun or monk is called to the family life when they join a religious community and become one with that family of like-minded individuals. They become brothers and sisters to one another and sometimes—if they are ordained priests in the case of monks—fathers and even grandfathers to the younger members of the congregation.

So in a sense all these vocations are calls to family life—just in different forms.


I agree that all of these vocations can be understood as involving some kind of "family life," but I do not agree that "ALL vocations are calls to the family life."

Family life and marriage itself are but signs of the communion of all of us in the Church and of the spousal relationship the Church has with Christ. It's not that the spousal relationship of Christ and the Church point us to a greater understanding of family life, but that marriage and family life reveal to us a part of the mystery of the relationship of Christ and the Church and of our unity with the other members of the Body of Christ.

Those of us called to marriage should not try to see in the religious life or the priesthood a reflection of our own callings or an imitation of them. We should see in religious men and women and in priests the true call to "family life" as the family of the Church and of the Bride of Christ lived out. Their vocation is what is a foretaste of heaven; our vocation is meant for us to learn how to live in heaven what they live now.

Family life is not the focus. Marriage is not the focus. Human relationships are not the focus. These are but signs--often imperfectly lived signs--of the deeper mystery.

"For this reason a man shall leave (his) father and (his) mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."
This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.
~ Ephesians 5:31-32


All vocations are calls to one’s particular place in the Church–to membership not only in the family of God but in the Body of Christ. All vocations are in support of the other members of the Body, and in that way all vocations are in support of family life. That is not the same thing, however, as saying every vocation is a call to family life as such.

Rather, the term “family life” needs to be preserved as having a particular meaning distinct from other vocations in the Church. If you unnecessarily broaden the meaning of that term, you also dilute it.

Otherwise, you could just as easily say that all vocations are calls to religious or consecrated life, since we are all consecrated to God in baptism. There would be some truth to the point, but you would muddy up the water by using that rationale to change the meaning of the terms. You might even devalue the unique sacrifice and meaning of true consecrated religious life. On that account, I wouldn’t go there.


Whilst, in general one could say that all vocations are a calling to a place within the Catholic Family, I dare say it would be an inprecise and sloppy statement, and only lead to confusion - by widening the definition, you obscure it.

For one, it would be hard to justify Eremetic’s or Anchorites lives as “family oriented”.



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