My understanding is that while singleness is acceptable and absolutely not a sin, (and perhaps even a vocation with a little “v”), it’s not on par with married or religious life, unless you become a consecrated single person. Is that correct? Here is one place I’m getting that idea from:
Quote: "Is being single a vocation?
Nowhere will you read anything like the above in Papal documents. However, in Via Consecrata (The Consecrated Life) we read under “Thanksgiving for the Consecrated Life” …"*Together let us thank God *for the Religious Orders and Institutes devoted to contemplation or the works of the apostolate, for Societies of Apostolic Life, for Secular Institutes and for other groups of consecrated persons, as well as for all those individuals who, in their inmost hearts, dedicate themselves to God by a special consecration."
In these words, we understand that The Holy Father saw fit to include the single celibate state in a document on the consecrated life.
The vocation and call from God to the single celibate state in life can be a vocation, be it little v or Big V - whatever indeed that means because it is not Catholic teaching, nowhere in any sort of Papal Document etc… How can a call from God be anything but Big V! The single celibate state is both a state in life and a potential call from God. Just as the marital state is a state in life and a potential call from God - or the priesthood which is a state in life and a potential call from God. Religious Life is the consecrated state in life and a potential call and vocation from God.
Those that denigrate in any way the single celibate state as one’s life vocation misunderstand their Baptism, which is a state in life and a potential call from God to this state for one’s life’s journey. Our Baptism is also a sign that we are chosen by God for His Son and His Gospel “ I BESEECH you therefore, brethren, by the mercy of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing unto God, your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world; but be reformed in the newness of your mind, that you may prove what is the good, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God” (Paul to Romans)
Quote: "Although it’s increasingly equated with the vocations of marriage, priesthood and consecrated life, unconsecrated singlehood doesn’t seem to quite jibe with the traditional definition of “primary vocation.”
Remember, primary vocations are exclusive and enduring. Once you give yourself to another — God, the Church, a husband or wife — you can’t give yourself to anyone else. Ever. At least not without the intervention of death or a tribunal."
Again, the above is probably to some degree Catholic cultural thinking, but it is not Catholic teaching. At Baptism we are consecrated to God as a living Sacrifice in Jesus - and God could call a person to retain this state for their life journey - and not invite them to change their state in life.
Certainly, pre V2 only priesthood and religious life were considered in Catholic cultural consciousness as vocations, marriage arrived lateron the scene. And the single celibate state in some ways still struggles to be recognized as a call and vocation from God. Certainly Rome recognizes the legitimacy of the single celibate state in life as a vocation and call from God, but the vocation still struggles to be recognized generally in Catholic cultural consciousness.
The single celibate state as vocation is by its very nature an openness to God to a further call. Some receive such a call, many do not.
There is some advice in both articles if you’re single and considering staying that way. I think it takes a lot of prayer and reflection. I’m currently single (after a divorce and annulment) and my vocation with a little “v” is to raise my daughter and focus on ministries for the Church. Once she’s grown, maybe I’ll be married by then or I’ll consider religious or single consecrated life. I’ve got a few years left to decide…
I’ll pray for you… :gopray: Being single is great in some respects, but it’s not easy, though that’s not to imply other vocations are easy either. St. Paul recommended staying single, but he also said he was a “slave to all” and that he “punish[ed] [his] body and enslave[d] it, so that after proclaiming to others [he] should not be disqualified.”
I don’t think that any person should consider the single celibate state without sound spiritual direction and on an ongoing basis. It is not an easy vocation and like all vocations will have its ups and its downs - its consolations and its trials and sacrifices. It is a wise and prudent move, to my mind, to consider oneself as only discerning the vocation in life until the actual call and vocation from God is affirmed by sound spiritual direction.
What those who denigrate the single celibate state as a call and vocation from God fail to take into consideration also is that some do have impediments to all other states in life and potential vocations - does The Lord then leave them floundering without a call and vocation from Him leaving them in ‘little v’ whatever indeed THAT means??? Such thinking also totally misunderstands the absolute dignity and nature of Baptism. Such thinking can also fail to recognize impediments to some vocations as positive factors permitted by God and not negative factors at all - but another subject entirely.