Is the single life a vocation?


#1

Is the single life a vocation? I’ve always thought that it was, but I heard someone (that person is Catholic) say that the religious life and the married life are the only two vocations.

Thanks!

Meggie


#2

As long as it is lived in love of God and neighbor, to the best of our ability: absolutely! :)


#3

[quote="Luigi_Daniele, post:2, topic:233331"]
As long as it is lived in love of God and neighbor, to the best of our ability: absolutely! :)

[/quote]

Well said. It is best and wisely embraced only with spiritual direction and with full understanding of the vocation itself. More information: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=538501

TS


#4

Short answer: yes!


#5

The vocations director in my diocese (and most priests I have talked to - especially "younger priests") explains it this way: there are 3 "state in life" vocations: priesthood, religious life, and marriage.

The reason he does not list the 'single life' as a vocation is that many people who are single are open to the vocation of marriage.If that is the case, then being single is not their vocation - it is their present state in life, they have not committed to the single life as their calling from God. If a person truly felt he/she were called to the single life, then they make that formal - by consecrating their life to God, usually through a priest or spiritual director. This then puts them in the "religious" state in life vocation.

This makes sense to me and really drives home the point that a vocation is a calling from God. If you are called to be single, then you need to formalize that calling, just as someone does who is called to the priesthood or marriage.


#6

Hi Catechizeme
I think that you will find there are five potential vocations in life. The lay state, marriage, widowhood, religious life and the priesthood. I may stand corrected, but marriage is in the lay state of life, meaning that the three states in life are the lay state, consecrated life or the priesthood. Widowhood and marriage are in the lay state.

The lay state as one’s call and vocation from God is not a ‘default’ position or a state in life that one embraces because one does not know as yet to where God is calling. Be this as it may, it is a vocation that is open to a further call from God should God so will. Once one marries, professes final vows or is ordained one is no longer open to another vocation at least in the normal course.

If a person makes a dedication of their life through a priest or spiritual director to the lay state as their vocation (it is not “consecration”), they are not in the religious state, which is a consecrated state, they remain in the lay state as a dedicated person. By its very nature, a vocation to the lay single celibate state is a state that is open to a further call from God. This may occur, it may not.

vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_jp-ii_exh_30121988_christifideles-laici_en.html

POST-SYNODAL

APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION

CHRISTIFIDELES LAICI

OF

HIS HOLINESS
JOHN PAUL II
ON THE VOCATION AND THE MISSION
OF THE LAY FAITHFUL

IN THE CHURCH AND IN THE WORLD

Quote:

The Various Vocations in the Lay State
…………………Along the same line the Second Vatican Council states: “This lay spirituality should take its particular character from the circumstances of one’s state in life (married and familylife, celibacy, widowhood), from one’s state of health and from one’s professional and social activity. All should not cease to develop earnestly the qualities and talents bestowed on them in accord with these conditions of life and should make use of the gifts which they have received from the Holy Spirit”(208)……………

[LEFT]The celibate state in the lay state is the single lay state and The Church usually refers to the single lay state as “the celibate state” which, of course, it is.[/LEFT]


#7

This is also of interest:

POST-SYNODAL
APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION
**VITA CONSECRATA **
OF THE HOLY FATHER
JOHN PAUL II
TO THE BISHOPS AND CLERGY
RELIGIOUS ORDERS AND CONGREGATIONS
SOCIETIES OF APOSTOLIC LIFE
SECULAR INSTITUTES
AND ALL THE FAITHFUL
ON THE CONSECRATED LIFE AND ITS MISSION
IN THE CHURCH AND IN THE WORLD

vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_jp-ii_exh_25031996_vita-consecrata_en.html

[LEFT]We are all aware of the treasure which the gift of the consecrated life in the variety of its charisms and institutions represents for the ecclesial community. 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,
[quote]
as well as for all those individuals who, in their inmost hearts, dedicate themselves to God by a special consecration. *

The Synod was a tangible sign of the universal extension of the consecrated life, present in the local Churches throughout the world. The consecrated life inspires and accompanies the spread of evangelization in the different parts of the world, where Institutes from abroad are gratefully welcomed and new ones are being founded, in a great variety of forms and expressions.Consequently, although in some parts of the world Institutes of Consecrated Life seem to be experiencing a period of difficulty, in other places they are prospering with remarkable vitality. This shows that the choice of total self-giving to God in Christ is in no way incompatible with any human culture or historical situation. Nor is the consecrated life flourishing within the Catholic Church alone. In fact, it is particularly vibrant in the monasticism of the Orthodox Churches, where it is an essential feature of their life. It is also taking root or re-emerging in the Churches and Ecclesial Communities which originated in the Reformation, and is the sign of a grace shared by all of Christ's disciples. This fact is an incentive to ecumenism, which fosters the desire for an ever fuller communion between Christians, "that the world may believe" (*Jn *17:21).[/LEFT]

[/quote]


#8

Yes and no.
"Single life" isn't really descriptive.
If being a single lay person is your vocation, it is best to formalize it with your priest/vocations director/etc.
Otherwise, being single is not a vocation; it is the default state before getting married or entering a religious life (priesthood, nuns/sisterhood, etc.)

Vocations:
1. Single person consecrated as staying single
2. Married person
3. Priesthood
4. Religious life
5. Widowhood (this can actually be split into 1-4, since they can either stay a widow and be a single person who follows God, or they can remarry since their spouse is dead, or, if they are young enough 3-4 might be an option depending on what order they want to join)


#9

Yes, the single life CAN be a vocation. There are many kinds of vocations. You "Catholic" friend doesn't know what he/she is talking about, and would benefit from some good Catholic education.


#10

Yes, the single life can be a vocation if one dedicates/consecrates oneself to live the single life for the glory of God and to bring others to Him.

It is not a vocation if one is only single while waiting to marry.

Here is an excellent book that can be bought from Amazon.com on exactly how the single life can be lived as a vocation:


"The Mystery of Love for the Single: A guide for those who follow the single vocation in the world" *** by Fr. Dominic J. Unger, OFM Cap.

This book wonderfully explains how to live the single vocation and dedicate onself to God.


#11

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