I am married and please know that the grass is not always greener on the other side. In my case, I am married to person who is a very critical of me and who is frequently given to worry and very difficult to console. My husband and I are also parents of a 10 year old adopted son who has ADHD and ODD. Earlier this year, he was dismissed from the Catholic school due to his defiance. We love our son dearly but experience a lot of conflict within our home due to his behavior and the fact that my husband and I don’t see eye to eye on the way to deal with him. We’ve been to countless counseling sessions and doctors but have not had a break through with our son.
Thanks be to God …I have learned so much patience and surrender through my difficult circumstances and it seems that my husband may be turning around a bit to accept my love.
IMO, every state in life has its crosses to bear. Crosses are good for us because they bring us closer to God.
I’m going through a difficult patch being single and have been since entering into the Church back into 2011. I have attempted to join multiple religious orders as a priest or brother as well as expressing interest in the priesthood for my Diocese. All vocations directors I have spoken with and my own Bishop have told me I have a vocation to matrimony. It has been suggested that I may not have been through a proper discernment process. The thing is to date no one has truly given me the opportunity to properly discern if that type of vocation is right for me.
Regarding matrimony, I honestly think I would be a great stay-at-home dad should I get married and have children with my wife. I am not opposed to working and being the primary provider but frankly I have no meaningful education in the form of a degree nor are my professional experience and skills all that impressive. My current employer has essentially informed me that I may be on the chopping block to lose my job and if I stay I will probably be getting a substantial decrease in pay, I don’t particularly like this job and I don’t feel like it would be worth it to stay if my pay is lowered (the pay is the only thing motivating me to stay at this point).
The employment market is quite bleak where I live, perhaps the only thing worse is the availability of quality singles. The combination of not being able to find someone and the less than promising employment market double dampens my spirits. Can’t pursue a religious vocation, can’t pursue matrimony… I feel stuck
It looks like there are many different people posting to this thread who are coming at this topic from very different backgrounds. Growing up as a Catholic, I was always told by my instructors and parents that being single and celibate is a real option. This path requires vigilance and dedication to your chosen field. I’m confident that a strong connection with your family, whether they are living or deceased, is also important. What makes this path difficult is that, unlike having a spouse or being a sister, there isn’t someone in your life supporting you spiritually day by day. However, this can also be liberating, because your devotion to God must flow from your heart daily without anyone’s prompting. I’m only in my twenties, but my personal experience living as a single woman has allowed me the freedom to contemplate God and my existence without much outside influence. Even though the religious life attracts me the most out of all the vocations, I’m still bringing myself to God as a single woman in a unique way. For these reasons, I am of the opinion that leading a single, celibate life is as legitimate a vocation as being religious or married.
*It breaks down like this: The priest knows what he has to do, be a shepherd for his flock. The religious person know he has to live his life in loyalty to his order. The married person knows he or she has to be a good husband/father or wife/mother.
The single person lives in a Bermuda Triangle of vocations, never completely sure who/where they are, where they are going, who/where they are in God’s eyes. What God wants them to do.
That is exactly what I have been thinking lately. But I think most everyone has thought this way at some point in their life, just hoping I and others find that something to do before we give up!..Ok giving up is not a option!
There is very probably a vast difference being outside a particular vocation and reflecting about it as an outsider - and comments by one actually living a certain vocation. Individual experiences within a certain vocation are probably vastly different too, since every person is led by God in a quite unique manner.
As one who has lived the single vocation (lay celibacy) for over 35 years, I am certainly not unsure of “who/where they are”, “where they are going”, “who/where they are in God’s eyes” and “what God wants them to do”. None of these apply to me. But I do think that you are correct and all or some of them probably apply to any vocation at any stage.
I do have a rule of life approved by my director confessor (priest religious) and he continues as my SD and confessor. My Archbishop through our Vicar General approved a Home Mass for the purpose of my renewing my life vows to this vocation. This took place on the Solemnity of The Assumption this year.
At a certain point along one’s journey absolute trust in The Lord becomes prime and certainty about whatever (seeking a sense of security) begins to fade. I do think that our very human need for security is probably one of the final steps in detachment and probably a difficult process as well as likely a long one. It is a transition from “needing to know” (such as a consciousness of:…who am I, where am I going etc.) to living in the now with confident trust in God and as His child and beloved along with all. A happy friendship with ‘darkness’ that is really a living in the light.
Your post did remind me of the words of a hymn for Night Prayer:
Lead, Kindly Light
"Lead, Kindly Light, amidst th’encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou
Shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!
So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on.
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!
Meantime, along the narrow rugged path,
Thyself hast trod,
Lead, Saviour, lead me home in childlike faith,
Home to my God.
To rest forever after earthly strife
In the calm light of everlasting life." en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead,_Kindly_Light
I would add that if one finds oneself in the lay celibate state or in the single life - and not of one’s choosing and even that one is not happy in the single life, then one very much needs spiritual direction and not a one only appointment, but over a period and even (at best) for life.
Pope Benedict has told us that spiritual direction is for all not only priests and religious. It is for all who plan to take their baptism and commitment to Christ seriously.
Some can find locating a spiritual director difficult. Possibly sources are:
*]Phone one’s diocesan offices who very often have a list of spiritual directors
*]Contact religious orders of priests and brothers, nuns, who sometimes do undertake spiritual direction
*]Tell one’s parish priest one is looking for a SD and ask how to go about it.
There is a website somewhere I don’t have time to locate just now that does have spiritual directors. I think there might be a cost attached but am not sure, nor do I know how much it might be. My own SD (priest and religious) refuses any donation and so I donate to his religious order independently.
Ahhh that wonderful gift of accuracy, spot on, and concisely stated!
St Mary of The Cross MacKillop said “Do what you can…leave the rest to God”. This came home for me more so than “Do your best” - never being sure if I had indeed done my best. I know when I have done whatever I can.