Vocation of singleness?


#1

I have read in the catechism that some persons are called to singleness that does not involve accepting religious orders. What is this vocation supposed to look like? Is this simply someone who chooses to remain celibate, with no desire to enter into a marital relationship, or is there more to it than that? Are there requirements placed on these persons that would not apply to others? I can see how a single person, with no spouse or children of their own, might be expected to offer more of their resources to others. Thanks to anyone who can help me understand!


#2

Could you please give a reference or cite that particular catechism passage? I think the full context might be important to the discussion. Thank you.


#3

I’m sorry, I couldn’t find it tonight. :frowning: I wonder now if I heard the term in RCIA rather than the CCC. I found several Catholic articles online emphasizing that the single life was a vocation seperate from religious life (here is one: catholicyouth.freeservers.com/vocations/single_life.htm ), but they did not cite the CCC specifically in support of this phrase.


#4

I know for single virginal women there’s the vocation of Consecrated Virgin living in the world.


#5

Unmarried life is a natural state outside of the religious life. A friend of mine is a Franciscan who's vows are ordered toward secular life. He is not forbidden to marry but as long as he is single, being single is his vocation.

Vocation is a term that describes a state of life chosen as a means to fulfill it's(life) purpose. To develope and complete ourselves as human persons. In short, a state chosen as one's intended path to fulfilled human life.


#6

[quote="anodos, post:3, topic:266388"]
I'm sorry, I couldn't find it tonight. :( I wonder now if I heard the term in RCIA rather than the CCC. I found several Catholic articles online emphasizing that the single life was a vocation seperate from religious life (here is one: catholicyouth.freeservers.com/vocations/single_life.htm ), but they did not cite the CCC specifically in support of this phrase.

[/quote]

The reason I asked you the question is that I do not believe the Church has traditionally considered single life as a vocation. There is a vocation to married life and consecrated life though. If you find the quote in the CCC, please post it here, I would be interested in seeing it. You might find this article interesting as well:
catholicnewsagency.com/column.php?n=145


#7

There was another thread about this topic a few weeks ago:

Single Life - a higher vocation?

I first learned of the Lay Single vocation in a Landings group. I don't believe that the Catechism addresses this vocation, but it is found in other Church documents:

From Lumen gentium:

Furthermore, married couples and Christian parents should follow their own proper path (to holiness) by faithful love. They should sustain one another in grace throughout the entire length of their lives. They should embue their offspring, lovingly welcomed as God's gift, with Christian doctrine and the evangelical virtues. In this manner, they offer all men the example of unwearying and generous love; in this way they build up the brotherhood of charity; in so doing, they stand as the witnesses and cooperators in the fruitfulness of Holy Mother Church; by such lives, they are a sign and a participation in that very love, with which Christ loved His Bride and for which He delivered Himself up for her.(11*) A like example, but one given in a different way, is that offered by widows and single people, who are able to make great contributions toward holiness and apostolic endeavor in the Church. Finally, those who engage in labor—and frequently it is of a heavy nature—should better themselves by their human labors. They should be of aid to their fellow citizens. They should raise all of society, and even creation itself, to a better mode of existence. Indeed, they should imitate by their lively charity, in their joyous hope and by their voluntary sharing of each others' burdens, the very Christ who plied His hands with carpenter's tools and Who in union with His Father, is continually working for the salvation of all men. In this, then, their daily work they should climb to the heights of holiness and apostolic activity.

Also see The Single Lay Vocation, which cites Christifideles laici, in which there is a reference to the vocation of the "celibate" lay person.


#8

Everybody has a vocation, that is to say everybody is called to holiness, and this takes place in whatever state of life God calls you to. Sometimes we use the term "vocation" as a shorthand to say that someone has a vocation to find holiness and serve god as a priest or a religious. This does not, however, define these calling as exclusively vocations and exclude other lives, lived in dedication to God's will.

Your vocation, is to do whatever God is calling you to do. Within the single life, this may not be as readily identifiable as priesthood or marriage, but that is a vocation nonetheless. Those called to single life, are called, by extension to dedicate more time for prayer, and to contribute more to the church.

I have a relative who never married. She (who is now quite elderly) once asked me "why God had not found her a spouse?" I didn't say anything at the time, but it was clear to me. She was a devoted servant of the Church who had done an enormous amount of good. This was her calling, this was her vocation.

Hope this helps.

Hope this helps.


#9

I'm a middle-aged Catholic woman, and have always remained single. Never married, never had kids...I'm not even an aunt or a godmother!

I don't believe that singleness is a vocation; it's merely a 'state of life'.

To me, it's a default state. And it's a 'invisible' state too. We single Catholics are the 'great invisible demographic' in the Church. There's all sorts of ways and means to support married couples, parents, children, teenagers, college students; but once one is past 35 years of age, and you're not married with a bunch of kids, nor in a seminary, monastery or convent, then you've become a 'nothing', a 'drudge', a 'loser'.

Believe me--I've endured sitting through enough 'World Marriage Day' Masses to know! It was always depressing to be sitting alone in a pew while the married couples are praised to the skies! I remember once, I was tempted to stand up and say to the priest who was extolling marriage right and left, 'Hey Padre, who are you to talk about marriage? You're vowed to celibacy!'

Luckily, I was not stupid enough to say anything of the sort; I remained sitting and kept my mouth shut, suffering through everything, but seething nevertheless.....:mad:


#10

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!


#11

[quote="barb_finnegan, post:9, topic:266388"]
I'm a middle-aged Catholic woman, and have always remained single. Never married, never had kids...I'm not even an aunt or a godmother!

I don't believe that singleness is a vocation; it's merely a 'state of life'.

To me, it's a default state. And it's a 'invisible' state too. We single Catholics are the 'great invisible demographic' in the Church. There's all sorts of ways and means to support married couples, parents, children, teenagers, college students; but once one is past 35 years of age, and you're not married with a bunch of kids, nor in a seminary, monastery or convent, then you've become a 'nothing', a 'drudge', a 'loser'.

Believe me--I've endured sitting through enough 'World Marriage Day' Masses to know! It was always depressing to be sitting alone in a pew while the married couples are praised to the skies! I remember once, I was tempted to stand up and say to the priest who was extolling marriage right and left, 'Hey Padre, who are you to talk about marriage? You're vowed to celibacy!'

Luckily, I was not stupid enough to say anything of the sort; I remained sitting and kept my mouth shut, suffering through everything, but seething nevertheless.....:mad:

[/quote]

You explained just why single life is vocational. People validate their lives by various means other than God. Possessions, education, carreer accomplishments, and a primary validation of human life today is to be among those that are highly desireable for breeding. This last group especially needs a witness to a joyfull life of singleness validated by God alone. These folks would probably not understand the source of joy they see because for them, like the lower animals, breeding is status and makes life valid. A countercultural Gospel witness to single life filled with joy is sorely needed in our culture.


#12

[quote="anonymous_in_fl, post:10, topic:266388"]
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]

I found it on Amazon, and it looks good. Thanks! :)


#13

Thanks, everyone, for your replies. I did not realize there was disagreement over whether there was such a thing as a vocation to single life. I can see how singleness could (and sometimes should) be considered a temporary state, not a "vocation" necessarily, but a means toward fulfilling the greater vocation of self-sacrifice and evangelization.


#14

[quote="anodos, post:3, topic:266388"]
I'm sorry, I couldn't find it tonight. :( I wonder now if I heard the term in RCIA rather than the CCC. I found several Catholic articles online emphasizing that the single life was a vocation seperate from religious life (here is one: catholicyouth.freeservers.com/vocations/single_life.htm ), but they did not cite the CCC specifically in support of this phrase.

[/quote]

That's because the whole notion of "single vocation" outside of religious/consecrated life is not something that the Church officially teaches. It is a modern invention, often used (in my experience) to discourage people from getting married. As another poster stated, it is a state of life, not a vocation.

If you read the CCC, you will find two "state of life" vocations: matrimony and "virginity for the sake of the kingdom", which is clarified as priestly ministry and consecrated life. Simply ebing "single" is not among the vocations that the CCC recognizes.


#15

[quote="Norseman82, post:14, topic:266388"]
That's because the whole notion of "single vocation" outside of religious/consecrated life is not something that the Church officially teaches. It is a modern invention, often used (in my experience) to discourage people from getting married. As another poster stated, it is a state of life, not a vocation.

If you read the CCC, you will find two "state of life" vocations: matrimony and "virginity for the sake of the kingdom", which is clarified as priestly ministry and consecrated life. Simply ebing "single" is not among the vocations that the CCC recognizes.

[/quote]

You are quite wrong, the CCC speaks of the vocation of all people, and the vocation of the laity (which includes single people). It by no means teaches that there are only two vocations, nor does it propose an exhaustive list of vocations.


#16

[quote="Fr_Michael_Grac, post:15, topic:266388"]
You are quite wrong, the CCC speaks of the vocation of all people, and the vocation of the laity (which includes single people). It by no means teaches that there are only two vocations, nor does it propose an exhaustive list of vocations.

[/quote]

What are these other vocations you speak of? Remember, per the opening post, we are talking of vocations to a "state of life", i.e., whether you are called to religious life, not the generic "vocation to holiness" or "vocation to love" (in case you misread the opening post).


#17

[quote="anodos, post:1, topic:266388"]
I have read in the catechism that some persons are called to singleness that does not involve accepting religious orders. What is this vocation supposed to look like? Is this simply someone who chooses to remain celibate, with no desire to enter into a marital relationship, or is there more to it than that? Are there requirements placed on these persons that would not apply to others? I can see how a single person, with no spouse or children of their own, might be expected to offer more of their resources to others. Thanks to anyone who can help me understand!

[/quote]

I think someone mentioned being a Concescrated Virgin. In my original Archdiocese, the Educatiob director was a woman who came to speak to our RCIA group and introduced herself as a celibate Catholic lay woman.

At the time I thought it was quite, well, TMI. Then on a forum a few years later, I heard it was an actual vocation where you could take a vow. I don't know much more than that.


#18

[quote="Norseman82, post:16, topic:266388"]
What are these other vocations you speak of? Remember, per the opening post, we are talking of vocations to a "state of life", i.e., whether you are called to religious life, not the generic "vocation to holiness" or "vocation to love" (in case you misread the opening post).

[/quote]

I haven't read through this thread, but it has 76 posts. :)


#19

Correct. I had been under the impression that there was such a thing as a Vocation (big V) to a state of singleness seperate from that of religous life, but now I see that it would be more correct to view singleness as one form under which the “generic” vocations (little v) to holiness and love can be lived out. :wink:


#20

POST-SYNODAL
APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION
**VITA CONSECRATA **
OF THE HOLY FATHER
JOHN PAUL II
vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_jp-ii_exh_25031996_vita-consecrata_en.html

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, as well as for all those individuals who, in their inmost hearts, dedicate themselves to God by a special consecration.

ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XII **
**ON CONSECRATED VIRGINITY

"SACRA VIRGINITAS"

vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xii/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xii_enc_25031954_sacra-virginitas_en.html
[LEFT]6. And while this perfect chastity is the subject of one of the three vows which constitute the religious state,[9] and is also required by the Latin Church of clerics in major orders[10] and demanded from members of Secular Institutes,[11] Quote:[/LEFT]

[LEFT]it also flourishes among many who are lay people in the full sense: men and women who are not constituted in a public state of perfection and yet by private promise or vow completely abstain from marriage and sexual pleasures, in order to serve their neighbor more freely and to be united with God more easily and more closely. [/LEFT]

[LEFT]7. To all of these beloved sons and daughters who in any way have consecrated their bodies and souls to God, We address Ourselves, and exhort them earnestly to strengthen their holy resolution and be faithful to it. [/LEFT]

Also from Sacra Virginitas:

[LEFT]Quote:
5. Innumerable is the multitude of those who from the beginning of the Church until our time have offered their chastity to God. Quote:[/LEFT]

[LEFT]Some have preserved their virginity unspoiled, others after the death of their spouse, have consecrated to God their remaining years in the unmarried state, and still others, after repenting their sins, have chosen to lead a life of perfect chastity; all of them at one in this common oblation, that is, for love of God to abstain for the rest of their lives from sexual pleasure. [/LEFT]

[LEFT]May then what the Fathers of the Church preached about the glory and merit of virginity be an invitation, a help, and a source of strength to those who have made the sacrifice to persevere with constancy, and not take back or claim for themselves even the smallest part of the holocaust they have laid on the altar of God. [/LEFT]


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