Vocation for those struggling with SSA


#1

Not wanting to make the umpteenth thread related to same-sex attraction, but needing to do so, I’d like to ask the question: what is the vocation of a person struggling with it?

The most obvious answer is to be celibate and single for life, but in reality this path can be extremely difficult to live with. Who wants to be lonely and suffer in old age as a single person without familiar support structures?

Obviously, while having a spouse and children does not guarantee support and companionship in old age, in many cases it does provide them. Similarly, Catholic priests and religious have support systems and structures built for their celibate lifestyles.

But what about the single, celibate person? Without a family or religious community to support him or her, the person is likely to be on their own.

This is probably why many people who are homosexual wants to get married and have children. Perhaps they want to be “normal” and accepted by society, or they want to have companionship for the rest of their lives.

Even if one lives as a single celibate, what can one do to make one’s life fruitful?

Anyways, any comments will be greatly appreciated.

Peace.


#2

[quote="mrivers, post:1, topic:276235"]
Even if one lives as a single celibate, what can one do to make one's life fruitful?

[/quote]

Complete and utter abadonment to the Divine Will. I know, you've probably heard that too many times and you're thinking :rolleyes: Sorry :blush: Have you read St. Alphonsus before? Try get a few of his books - I say this because he is very big on how to abandon yourself to God's will, and also the benefits of it spiritually and why it is so important. God has made you, God wills you to be saved, God wills you to be the salt of the earth, Jesus died just for you. Isn't that beautiful? I wish I had more helpful things to say, but I will say a prayer for you. If you can, try get a spiritual director (get a good priest, and if you don't know anyone off-hand if there are any FSSP/Institute parishes nearby they are great spiritual directors).

Prayers for you. I dare not speak for God, but God is pleased with those who want to serve Him. Very noble of you to discern God's calling for you.


#3

I do not suffer from SSA but, I've lived as a single celibate for the past 15+ years. I can only say that like everyone else the temptation of sin does not leave you but the rewards have been the greatest that I've ever known. I have a very full prayer life and my life's goal is to strive each day to do good for others and to achieve whatever level of holiness is the Lord's Will.
Life can still be full ! Although I am not a member of an official vocation, I pray that the choice I've made will continue to bring me closer to the Lord and it has.
There's a certain freedom that can come with the choice to live single and celibate that allows you to place so much of your time and effort into growing in your faith and yes, you can achieve fulfilled happiness if you make that one of your goals while you strive to achieve what is pleasing to God. Personally, although there have been troubling moments (as for anyone else, celibate or not) I experience great levels of joy in my life.
God bless you and good luck.


#4

I’m a homosexual, and I’ve thought about this too.

Let’s not forget that even in a lifelong marriage, one spouse will die before the other. Not all couples can have children. And many marriages break up.

We can hope that the intimate friendships we have now will continue until we’re grey and old. But even if they don’t, not every straight person gets married. There will always be single people looking for friendship, and now that we’ve got the internet, somebody in our situation can be found with just a few clicks of the mouse.

In addition, we will always be able to find people with similar interests by joining clubs and through volunteer work and making ourselves useful.

So there is reason for optimism, but based on my conversations with older people, very often, old age sucks, even when you’re straight. It’s just a fact of life that many of us will have to suffer at some point. I just try and accept it, expect the worst and hope for the best and trust in God.

But what about the single, celibate person? Without a family or religious community to support him or her, the person is likely to be on their own.

Be a good friend to others. Don’t expect others to do the same back to you. Sometimes they will. I’ve noticed that if you try and focus on the needs of others instead of your own needs, and in doing so try to be the friend that they need, sooner or later you’ll end up with the friends you need. And they’ll be intimate friends at that.

This is probably why many people who are homosexual wants to get married and have children. Perhaps they want to be “normal” and accepted by society, or they want to have companionship for the rest of their lives.

Yes. Of course.

Even if one lives as a single celibate, what can one do to make one’s life fruitful?

Cloistered monks and nuns don’t go out in the world and yet their lives are fruitful through prayer. Never underestimate the importance of prayer for others. One can engage in charity work and pursue one’s passions for one’s own enjoyment.

There’s a certain degree of freedom that comes with being single man. We’re unfettered by the responsibility of having to put food on the table and providing a roof over their heads for others. We don’t have to worry about our wives upping and leaving and taking our kids, our possessions that we earned through our own blood, sweat and tears, and leaving us with a monthly bill for child support and maintenance while preventing us from seeing our children except on every other weekend, or worse, not at all, and having our kids hate us.

Being a single man is cheap, so we don’t have to work as hard and we’re free to move around and explore the world and sample its delights in a way that a married man cannot. In many ways, our lives our hakuna matata. No worries, for the rest of your days.


#5

I think the current restriction against the ordination of homosexual men to the priesthood has a LOT to do with this post. Discerning the call to priesthood is supposed to be an experience that is stronger than the natural inclination to marriage. I think there was quite a bit of concern about how extremely difficult it is for a man with SSA to tell the difference between a call to the priesthood and a sense of depair over the lack of faithful alternatives.

That does leave you in quite a bind that I sympathize with a great deal. The poster above has an amazing perspective that may work for those who have learned to be at peace largely with themselves.

If I suddenly found myself without wife and family for some reason (God forbid), I might do as mentioned above. Perhaps I’d apply to be a seasonal park ranger at Glacier National Park. I might be a home inspector, I’d volunteer at church, I’d skydive and scuba, I might rebuild an old sports car. There’s an awful lot of things to do and experience in this world that you just can’t do when you’re working 10 hours a day to put food on the table, keep a roof on and educate the kids. If you can’t have the wife and kids, you might as well experience a wide variety of people, experiences and places. Then when you’re old and in a nursing home you can tell stories to bored retired IBM accountants and you can each be jealous of each other. :wink:


#6

Hello,

I have also been celibate for a good 15 years. On another thread I wrote 18, but that was incorrect - I do have a fifteen year old. After a while you stop counting. I do not suffer from SSA and I have children.

I always recall the words of Saint Paul when this topic comes up as they are fresh, timeless and so true:

1 Corinthians 7
8 Now to the unmarried[a] and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+7&version=NIV

It is good. I am freer to love and serve the Lord. I am not a slave to my body and I do not burn with passion. That gives me a certain freedom. I am also free from the concerns of having a human lover. That gives me a certain freedom and leaves that much more room in my heart for Jesus. You fix up your garden, plant some beautiful flowers, and do some pruning here and there and love itself will go to your garden. I see the love of a man as such a little thing in comparison to the love of God. God taught me this. You know how they say that love is a two way street - well, this is the way it is with God. He participates in the relationship and if he gives you the grace to experience this according to His will - you do not look back… God will never abandon you nor betray you and his love is true and pure. There are no guarantees that you will die in your house bed surrounded by all your children and grandchildren as Aznavour song goes ( youtube.com/watch?v=bLJhUJtvIO8 ) but no matter where you are Our Lord Jesus will be there.

I once picked up two nuns in the south of France who were hitchhiking their way up to their convent. I told them that when I was a little girl I wanted to be a nun. They asked me why I did not become a nun and I told them that I did not have the support from my family and finally I fell in love and got marry as I looked at the father of my children who was driving. The nuns looked at each other as though they found it incomprehensible that I should think that a man was worth giving up serving the Lord. I really did not understand their little interaction except to think that of course they would think being a nun is better. But, now, I really do understand there position. They found it incomprehensible that a person could give up love itself for a tiny miniscule amount of it. mrivers, I think that if you come to understand where the nuns were coming from, you will embrace you celibacy. It’s not a loss but a gain.

I also know of several celibate men and women that live in the world. They have many friends and enjoy their jobs or professions. One of them is a professor at a university in Rhode Island and he is loved by his students and enjoys what he does. In the end, you have a lot more time and peace of mind to dedicate to the Lord and in practicing your faith.

You are in my humble prayers.


#7

Ha,ha,ha :rotfl:


#8

Being "single" does not have to mean being alone and miserable. First- we have the Lord.And if we struggle to be aware of His presence. then I dare say that marriage or any other relationship would not be totally fulfilling.
Second- being celibate doesn't mean we are hermits or are called to live alone with no other contact. As single people ( with SSA or not) we have a wonderful opportunity to be in community with our local parish and Church Universal. Not every person who has not experienced SSA has children as has been pointed out. We who have no families of our own are in a great position to care for the widowed, the orphan and anyone else that needs a hand.

My aunt has children of her own. If they should abandon her do you think I'd let her fend for herself as she ages and is ill? Of course not!! I have relationships with my nieces and nephews. No doubt they'll be their for me if I need them. If not- doesn't matter cause I've built a community of friends who are also childless. We have each other's backs. And I have friends with children who call me Aunt. My mother cared for her uncle at the end of his life. Her aunt died and they were without children.
Third- you mentioned community life for religious and/or priests and imply that single folk don't have that. Not True!! Our community is our community of faith. It seems that many people think of Church as that place we go on Sundays, see people we really don't see otherwise, and maybe spend a little time with for some function or fund raiser. But Church is more!!We are all called to make it a true Community- but single people have an added opportunity to build that and share it with others.

I wonder what would happen in the Church is every single 20,30,40 something person made the effort to reach out to the widowed, to say- hey lets have a parish social once a month and made it happen, or to organize a "family" picnic so that all parents had to do was show up, or organized a night once a month of babysitting (fun and entertainment for kids) so their parents could enjoy a date night.( you know really support marriage between a man and a woman!)
As single people we are alone only if we choose to be. We are lonely if we don't reach out in the spirit of Service.
Finally, if a single person is concerned that he or she will not ever be intimate with someone- here's a loving reminder: Jesus wants to be intimate with each of us; our first intimate moment was when our mothers first held us to her heart; it was an intimate moment when our father called us to the backyard to talk cause he knew that girl or boy broke our heart, and Dad put his arm around us and promised he would always love us; it was intimacy that led our friend to call and check on us cause he knew something was going on and bothering us-he was right; and it was the loving intimacy between friends that had the new mom want her best friend to be with her when she had her baby and the new dad cry like a baby in his best friends arms because his baby boy was the most beautiful thing he ever saw.Perhaps God asks some of us to remain single, but He asks no one to live without intimacy.


#9

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.

Take care.


#10

[quote="anonymous_in_fl, post:9, topic:276235"]
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.

Take care.

[/quote]

That's a wonderful recommendation. I would certainly be interested in faithful Catholic opinions and recommendations on the single life. Thank you for that!


#11

We all have the general vocation to love and serve God. A vocation is how we are called as individuals to do this. Marriage is a vocation because it is about service. You have duties toward your spouse and children. You and your spouse fulfill the vocation of caring for, educating and teaching the faith to your children. Priests and religious have vocations to serve people in a similiar manner but who are not their own biological children. Even beyond that though, vocations can get into whether you are called to be a diocean priest, a missionary priest, a priest in a religious order. For a sister, the question can be whether you are called to be in an active or contemplative religious order. Married couples can have secondary vocations. There are 3rd order religious who are married. They may be called as a family to be temporary or even full time missionaries. Or your career could be a part of your vocation and not merely a means to economically support your family. Your family should always be your primary vocation, so sometimes an individual may be called to dedicate their life say to the field of medicine as their primary vocation. This in fact may mean that they are not called to marriage. That simply would be too much on their plate for them.

The most obvious answer is to be celibate and single for life, but in reality this path can be extremely difficult to live with. Who wants to be lonely and suffer in old age as a single person without familiar support structures?

You are viewing marriage in a self serving manner, not in a manner of service to others. You’re looking at it as putting yourself in a position where others will serve you, solve problems of loneliness and be there for you in old age. It is impossible to say generally that all people with SSA are called to identical vocations. They are not. What can be said is that no one is called to be in a romantic relationship with someone of the same sex. And if they feel no attraction to people of the opposite sex and would be living a lie to marry someone of the opposite sex, this would be an indication that they are not called to the vocation of marriage.

Other people who may not be called to marriage are people with developmental problems that are so severe that they cannot handle the responsibilities of marriage. Certainly such developmental issues could bar people from strict religious orders and missionary work as well.

I will say that the greatest error people fall into is thinking that the vocation of marriage is about fulfilling their wants and needs. This leads to the conclusion that they’re being denied a source of happiness and care.

We must recognize though that most of us are born into families. When we seperate from our parents as adults, our families are still our families. We are not called to be so individualistic that we live socially isolated lives unless we involve ourselves in sexual relationships.

I can say though that having been a single adult for most of my adulthood (I got married at 29). I lived under the philosphy that those who are not married should not seek a spouse. St. Paul said something about this. I spent a lot of time wondering if it were right to go on a single’s website at all. I choose avemariasingles because the unlimited membership helped it to be more of putting myself out there without actively seeking. What’s the difference? The difference is striving to not be discontent when you’re single. Striving to not see marriage as the beginning of your life, as if life won’t get started until you’re married.

We all need to love and serve God. Everyone has to discern how that call becomes individual to who they are.


#12

Thanks so much everyone for your kind and thoughtful comments! :) It's heartening to see so many responses to a question that I think has been neglected in conversations with people who are struggling with this particular cross. We need your support and prayers.


#13

You’re right, I’ve heard this before many times, but it’s easier said than done. :wink: Do you have any particular books you can recommend by St. Alphonsus?

In your view, what does abandoning yourself to God’s will look like in day to day living and decision making, especially in big decisions like state of life?


#14

Thanks for the well wishes. :smiley: If I may ask, are you planning to be a single, celibate for life?

What do you do to make your life full as a single person? God bless you as well.


#15

I’m interested to know if you can recommend a good source for people in our situation (and other singles in general) to meet and have some fellowship with each other (in a chaste and pure way of course!). :wink:

I agree.

Trying my best; it’s definitely not easy. The single lifestyle can be a temptation to be selfish and be self-absorbed.

Go prayer! :thumbsup:

This sounds like a nightmare scenario, does this really happen that often?

LoL, hakuna matata? Really? :rotfl: I wish it was that simple.


#16

[quote="manualman, post:5, topic:276235"]
I think the current restriction against the ordination of homosexual men to the priesthood has a LOT to do with this post. Discerning the call to priesthood is supposed to be an experience that is stronger than the natural inclination to marriage. I think there was quite a bit of concern about how extremely difficult it is for a man with SSA to tell the difference between a call to the priesthood and a sense of depair over the lack of faithful alternatives.

That does leave you in quite a bind that I sympathize with a great deal. The poster above has an amazing perspective that may work for those who have learned to be at peace largely with themselves.

[/quote]

I must admit at having discerned the possibility of becoming a priest or religious. However, I am unsure if this is a viable option in my situation as you mentioned.

[quote="manualman, post:5, topic:276235"]
Then when you're old and in a nursing home you can tell stories to bored retired IBM accountants and you can each be jealous of each other. ;)

[/quote]

For some odd reason, this sound weirdly attractive. :eek:


#17

[quote="mrivers, post:13, topic:276235"]
You're right, I've heard this before many times, but it's easier said than done. ;) Do you have any particular books you can recommend by St. Alphonsus?

[/quote]

It always is easier said than done when we try it ourselves! But! We have God to help; and Our Lady to help too! How lucky we are to have all this. St. Alphonsus tells us always to remember one thing (it always makes me chuckle when I think about this truth) and that is: imagine how much you want yourself to do good. Well, God wants it about 1000 times more than you want it. You want to go to Heaven? asks St. Alphonsus - well God wants you to go to Heaven even more than you want it.

As for books - I would recommend 3 for the moment (though if you like them, try get all of his classic works!)

The Glories of Mary (not particularly relevant to this thread, but it's his most famous work and it's a masterpiece and it'll make you love Our Lady even more!)
Uniformity with Gods Will (very short treatise, can read it in 40 minutes if you choose to, but try read it slowly and preferably during Adoration if you can!)
The Practice and Love of Jesus Christ (quite longer, it's St. Alphonsus' version on the Imitation of Christ in some sense [also another must have book by the way])

I hope those will help - they are all available online too if you do quick searches.

In your view, what does abandoning yourself to God's will look like in day to day living and decision making, especially in big decisions like state of life?

Ejaculatory prayer 24/7. We are told to always have the name of Jesus on our lips, and ejaculatory prayer is actually prescribed in the Rule of St. Alphonsus for his religious! Imagine that! But it's because it's so helpful in so many ways - and so easy.
These are some prayers to make, repeated, at will (suggestions, but you of course may also use whatever comes to heart) and frequently:

  • "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! Mary, Mary, Mary!"
  • "My sweet Saviour and Holy Redeemer, help me to do your will!"
  • "My Jesus, My love, my all!"
  • "Oh God, come to my assistance. Oh Lord, make haste to help me!" [particularly powerful as it comes from the Psalms and was used by the Desert Fathers]
  • "Mary Most Holy, please pray to Jesus for me!"

These are just some ways of constantly being mindful of God. I suggest these things because God will always (as He has promised us in scripture since the Old Testament) come to assist those who call upon Him and remember His name. In other words, if you constantly have God and things holy in your heart, mind and on your lips then you will always have the graces necessary to do what God wills.

This is just my 0.2 cents and I pray that it may help you. God bless!

[quote="mrivers, post:16, topic:276235"]
I must admit at having discerned the possibility of becoming a priest or religious. However, I am unsure if this is a viable option in my situation as you mentioned.

[/quote]

I have zero idea about you and I must first advise that you speak to a good, holy Priest about this. However, those with deep-seated homosexual inclinations cannot be ordained or make religious profession. This is usually the first thing (amongst other Canonical and Moral requirements) that you are told by Religious communities and seminaries. Again, this is just the facts and in your particular case I make no judgment and claim no authority to know anything.


#18

Thank you for your humble prayers, I am in most need of it!

Regarding your reference to Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 7
Now to the unmarried[a] and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+7&version=NIV

I think St. Paul said this because at the time he believed the end of the world was imminent, so this verse may not be applicable on its face value.

Unfortunately, being single does not free us of passions and temptations of the flesh as you well know. But I can see your point of being free of spousal concerns.

I hope, if I truly live a single vocation, to be as happy and fulfilled as the people you know. My prayer’s for you and your family as well.


#19

[quote="raaucoin, post:8, topic:276235"]
Being "single" does not have to mean being alone and miserable. First- we have the Lord.And if we struggle to be aware of His presence. then I dare say that marriage or any other relationship would not be totally fulfilling.
Second- being celibate doesn't mean we are hermits or are called to live alone with no other contact. As single people ( with SSA or not) we have a wonderful opportunity to be in community with our local parish and Church Universal. Not every person who has not experienced SSA has children as has been pointed out. We who have no families of our own are in a great position to care for the widowed, the orphan and anyone else that needs a hand.

My aunt has children of her own. If they should abandon her do you think I'd let her fend for herself as she ages and is ill? Of course not!! I have relationships with my nieces and nephews. No doubt they'll be their for me if I need them. If not- doesn't matter cause I've built a community of friends who are also childless. We have each other's backs. And I have friends with children who call me Aunt. My mother cared for her uncle at the end of his life. Her aunt died and they were without children.
Third- you mentioned community life for religious and/or priests and imply that single folk don't have that. Not True!! Our community is our community of faith. It seems that many people think of Church as that place we go on Sundays, see people we really don't see otherwise, and maybe spend a little time with for some function or fund raiser. But Church is more!!We are all called to make it a true Community- but single people have an added opportunity to build that and share it with others.

I wonder what would happen in the Church is every single 20,30,40 something person made the effort to reach out to the widowed, to say- hey lets have a parish social once a month and made it happen, or to organize a "family" picnic so that all parents had to do was show up, or organized a night once a month of babysitting (fun and entertainment for kids) so their parents could enjoy a date night.( you know really support marriage between a man and a woman!)
As single people we are alone only if we choose to be. We are lonely if we don't reach out in the spirit of Service.
Finally, if a single person is concerned that he or she will not ever be intimate with someone- here's a loving reminder: Jesus wants to be intimate with each of us; our first intimate moment was when our mothers first held us to her heart; it was an intimate moment when our father called us to the backyard to talk cause he knew that girl or boy broke our heart, and Dad put his arm around us and promised he would always love us; it was intimacy that led our friend to call and check on us cause he knew something was going on and bothering us-he was right; and it was the loving intimacy between friends that had the new mom want her best friend to be with her when she had her baby and the new dad cry like a baby in his best friends arms because his baby boy was the most beautiful thing he ever saw.Perhaps God asks some of us to remain single, but He asks no one to live without intimacy.

[/quote]

Thank you for these wonderful suggestions. :)


#20

[quote="anonymous_in_fl, post:9, topic:276235"]
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.

Take care.

[/quote]

Thanks for the book recommendation, I did not know there is actually a book about the single vocation!!! It is the most abandoned of all vocations, sometimes I think it's not even real.


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