Is religious life a more privileged vocation than others?


#1

Do you think sisters and priests are favored by God more than those who are single or married? Like, he really, really wanted these people to be "extra" close to him? It just seems like that if God calls you to be a priest or sister, you are "extra special"!
What do you think?


#2

I think that nothing is more special than God's Will - no matter where His Will may call a person. Those not called to the priesthood or religious life are still called to holiness and Unity with God and His Will. One's vocation determines that path that will uniquely lead one to Unity with God and His Will with all necessary Graces gifted by God to travel along that path.
I dont think a vocation to the priesthood or religious life makes one a special sort of person while the vocation to the priesthood or religious life is a special sort of vocation and God supplies all the Graces necessary to live out these vocations, as He does with any vocation. Each vocation has its own special and unique Graces. All and any Glory and praise, small or great, be to God and Him alone always.
There are many priests, religious etc. not saints, while we do have some single people and married people saints and this testifies that one can be "extra close" to God no matter the vocation to which one is called and the importance of faithfulness to one's particular vocation and call no matter what it may be. No matter what our vocation may be we can be assured that we are all called to be extra close to God.

TS


#3

It just seems like if Christ is your "spouse" you can't really get much "closer" than that...


#4

[quote="HeWillProvide, post:3, topic:224111"]
It just seems like if Christ is your "spouse" you can't really get much "closer" than that...

[/quote]

The idea of Christ being the spouse of religious is a pious idea and not found any where in the theology of religious life.


#5

[quote="ByzCath, post:4, topic:224111"]
The idea of Christ being the spouse of religious is a pious idea and not found any where in the theology of religious life.

[/quote]

Agree, although I dont think it is well understood as the subject seems to crop up now and then.
There was a thread earlier this year on the subject:
forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=426114

TS


#6

[quote="HeWillProvide, post:3, topic:224111"]
It just seems like if Christ is your "spouse" you can't really get much "closer" than that...

[/quote]

"Spouse" as Pope JPII pointed out in his "Theology of The Body" is an analogy only. Brother David pointed out similar. A portion of "Theology of The Body" referring to the analogy in relation to marriage can be read here: catholicnewsagency.com/document.php?n=906

Undoubtedly those called to religious life are called to a special sort of intimacy with Christ through the evangelical counsels as a vowed way of life for the whole of life. They are called to a special and quite radical witness and are called to the state of perfection. They are also called to a special sort of accountability and responsibility. This does not mean at all that those not called to religious life are denied in any way whatsoever the same degree of intimacy with Christ and their own accountabilities and responsibilities according to their particular vocation and call from God, and are called to the way of perfection, as the lives of those of our saints who were not religious does illustrate very clearly. Intimacy with Christ will always incorporate embracing the Will of God in an all embracing manner. And The Will of God is expressed in all and every vocation and call in both a general and particular and personal manner no matter the vocation.

TS


#7

[quote="ByzCath, post:4, topic:224111"]
The idea of Christ being the spouse of religious is a pious idea and not found any where in the theology of religious life.

[/quote]

Huh? :confused: Definitely disagree .. Sponsa Christi (not available online in English) .. Verbi Sponsa .. writings of the saints, etc. including Doctor of the Church, St. Alphonsus Ligouri - The True Spouse of Jesus Christ

I think if anything is an analogy, it's marriage on earth, which is but a temporary reflection, a sign as the Church tells us, of the eternal marriage of the soul to Christ, which ultimately everyone is called to, going back to the original question of this thread.

*

To be the bride of Christ!
"Bride," I must live all that this name implies
of love given and received, of intimacy, of fidelity, of absolute devotion!

To be a bride means to be given as He gave Himself;
it means to be sacrificed as He was, by Him, for Him...
It is Christ making Himself all ours and we becoming "all His!"

To be a bride means to have all rights over His Heart...
It is a heart to heart exchange for a whole lifetime...

"To be a bride" means to have eyes only for Him
Our thoughts haunted by Him,
our heart wholly taken over, wholly possessed,
as if it had passed out of itself and into Him;
It means keeping our gaze always fixed on His,
to discover His least sign, His least desire;
it means to enter into all His joys, to share all His sadness.
It means to know nothing else than to love,
to love while adoring, to love while praying, while asking,
while forgetting oneself;
to love always in every way!

--Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity

*

http://www.oksister.com/Images/Carmelite%20Saints/ELIZABETH%20of%20the%20Trinity%20-%20web.JPG


#8
  • They are also called to a special sort of accountability and responsibility.*

Doesn't the word "special" imply something, well, special?


#9

[quote="HeWillProvide, post:8, topic:224111"]
* They are also called to a special sort of accountability and responsibility.*

Doesn't the word "special" imply something, well, special?

[/quote]

The vocation to religious life is a call to the state of perfection and with it come special/unique accountabilities and responsibilities. As with the married state which has its own special/unique accountabilities and responsibilities and so on and so forth. The vows of the religious life constitute the state of perfection, while all are called to the way of perfection. Always is The Grace to meet those special/unique accountabilities and responsibilities. There is no doubt that the call to religious life is a special sort of vocation since it is not the most common of vocations - this does not translate that the person is a special person rather shoulder to shoulder with all and beloved by God equally, other than that they have been called by God's Myserious Design to a special state in life and that is the state of perfection accompanied by all the Graces necessary to live out that call etc. Ideally it does not inflate the person with a sense of their own 'specialness' rather ideally it is a humbling experience to be called to a special state in life with all the Graces necessary and without those Graces it would be impossible to live the life. Hence to Grace and God be all and any Glory and praise.

drbo.org/cgi-bin/d?b=drb&bk=53&ch=12&l=11&f=s#x
lst Epistle of Paul to Corinthians:

" [4] Now there are diversities of graces, but the same Spirit; [5] And there are diversities of ministries, but the same Lord;
[6] And there are diversities of operations, but the same God, who worketh all in all. [7] And the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man unto profit."

TS


#10

The holiest vocation for a person is the vocation God calls them to. A decision to follow another vocation because it seems inherently “holier” is a rejection against God’s will and will remove the holiness for that person. Anyways, you will find great true joy in your true vocation, whether that be married life, priesthood, religious life, or single life. Every kind of state of life requires a great amount of grace to be followed with true fidelity and holiness and only God can give that and he gives it to those he calls to certain kinds of life.

Remember! We are all called to live as Christ did. Doing so gives up perfect holiness, and Christ had perfect obedience to God, and though that is not fully possible for us people on earth, we can work towards it always with God’s grace! Doing so will bring you in closer connection with God than any other means of attempting to.


#11

D o you favor salvation in the world what do you think,and if you live like the world does earthly standards?Would you co;nsider giving your entire life giving all yourself and everything for the salvation of souls and for the sake of his sorrowful passion, or for Christ? What do you think God favors Salvation or not?


#12

I disagree… many Saints, including early Church Martyrs, spoke of this idea… it’s not just a pious idea, it’s very well known in Catholic history

to the OP, I think that religious life is special in a way, but a person can still achieve perfect union with God and become a Saint without being a religious, IF that is not God’s will for them. In everything, we must follow God’s will :slight_smile: we become Saints when we love Him perfectly…and when we are humble and when we do His will. That is holiness.

God bless


#13

[quote="Monica4316, post:12, topic:224111"]
it's not just a pious idea, it's very well known in Catholic history

[/quote]

Brother David is correct. Without prejudice to whether this spousal imagery is useful or whether it is popular, it is not an official part of church teaching on consecrated life. This does not mean you won't find people - saints and otherwise - talking about it. But in the hierarchy of theological certainty, it would fall very low on the list. If we refer to Ludwig Ott's standard categories of teaching;

*The Theological Grades of Certainty

  1.    The highest degree of certainty appertains to the immediately revealed truths. The belief due to them is based on the authority of God Revealing (fides divina), and if the Church, through its teaching, vouches for the fact that a truth is contained in Revelation, one's certainty is then also based on the authority of the Infallible Teaching Authority of the Church (fides catholica). If Truths are defined by a solemn judgment of faith (definition) of the Pope or of a General Council, they are "de fide definita."
    
  2.    Catholic truths or Church doctrines, on which the infallible Teaching Authority of the Church has finally decided, are to be accepted with a faith which is based on the sole authority of the Church (fides ecclesiastica). These truths are as infallibly certain as dogmas proper.
    
  3.    A Teaching proximate to Faith (sententia fidei proxima) is a doctrine, which is regarded by theologians generally as a truth of Revelation, but which has not yet been finally promulgated as such by the Church.
    
  4.    A Teaching pertaining to the Faith, i.e., theologically certain (sententia ad fidem pertinens, i.e., theologice certa) is a doctrine, on which the Teaching Authority of the Church has not yet finally pronounced, but whose truth is guaranteed by its intrinsic connection with the doctrine of revelation (theological conclusions).
    
  5.    Common Teaching (sententia communis) is doctrine, which in itself belongs to the field of the free opinions, but which is accepted by theologians generally.
    
  6.    Theological opinions of lesser grades of certainty are called probable, more probable, well-founded (sententia probabilis, probabilior, bene fundata). Those which are regarded as being in agreement with the consciousness of Faith of the Church are called pious opinions (sententia pia). The least degree of certainty is possessed by the tolerated opinion (opimo tolerata), which is only weakly founded, but which is tolerated by the Church.*
    

See: trosch.org/the/ottintro.htm

Spousal imagery in consecrated life would at best relate to sententia pia, and some would argue that it was only an opimo tolerata. For better or worse, and irrespective of one's personal attachment to a particular devotional idea, if it is not a developed doctrine then it is not rightfully a binding or significant concept to Catholics. That doesn't mean it is harmful or that you cannot support the idea - as do a number of religious - but it does mean that it cannot be imposed on people who do not share your feelings. It is indeed a pious idea, not a recognised teaching, and should not be elevated as such.

As I've said more than once on these forums, category errors like this cause a great deal of harm and unnecessary anxiety. Sometimes I think the church needs to do more to catechise the faithful in what is, after all, an extremely complex area of which it would be unreasonable to expect expertise on the part of all the faithful. After three years of studying theology, I've just about realised how ignorant I truly am. :o

Ah well. A little humiliation is good for the soul. :shrug:


#14

Personally I think that the very large number of saints who spoke with this spousal imagery would be a strong indication for its validity. I will take a saint's opinion over a theologian's anyday! Especially when so many of the saints were such high caliber theologians themselves. At least it would seem difficult to be just dismissive of this language when it has been used by St. Alphonsus, St. Teresa, St. John of the Cross, St. Therese, St. Catherine of Sienna- only a smattering of examples, (and those happening to be Doctors of the Church.) Theologian vs Large Number of Brilliant Canonized Saints....wonder how this is going to go down? That is not to mention those who are not Doctors of the Church...St. Clare, St. Agnes...and on and on. Do the theologians find it difficult to read their writings? Do they send up a little "prayer" correcting the heavenly friend when they find fault with their language? If not, then we might need to admit that this suppossed aberration might not need "correcting" among the rest of us either.


#15

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