Let me begin by saying that in a more pious world, what I’m about to meditate upon would likely not be so, but we can only work in the age in which we are providentially chosen to live. In my opinion, based upon years of study, we have perhaps not since the conversion of Constantine seen the effects of our fallen human nature more on display, a canker and a rot infecting our social and cultural lives to their very core. From the ill effects of this none are exempt, so much indeed that the most valid guides written in past years often seem hopelessly unfeasible, written as they were for more functional societies, and what wisdom we may glean from them might often seem ineffective as we fumble, half-blindly, toward our intended destination.
That destination is, of course, the Kingdom of Heaven, and the eternal company of Jesus Christ and all His angels and saints in a manner far more direct than the fading illusions of this earth would make us believe. In her prudence, Mother Church has, from the teachings of her Master, left us a number of specific routes by which we might come to make this journey, along which, following the prompting of a very interior call by God the Holy Ghost, we might tread, and the name given to these is vocations. We customarily think of three of these: the religious of regular life, considered the most perfect and the royal road to heaven; the secular clergy, whereby men can administer the sacraments and serve in the person of Christ to the lay faithful; and the common vocation of marriage among the lay faithful, which correlates to the natural law and to which the vast bulk are called.
But I must now wonder: what of those who have no call to any of these, and who come to know this definitely not by navel-gazing, but rather through the doors to them being continually shut in his face? For such is my present situation, and it appears to me unlikely to change within the near future.
So many seem would seem to say that I’m placed in a “single vocation.” Well, I don’t buy that. I don’t see my not being within the ranks of the religious or clergy to be a call of God; indeed, I don’t see any statement with a “not” given to something salutary in it in it to be a call of God. And indeed, my response to grace is certainly not a “not” to something, save sin. Where I stand is not something that anyone ought to define negatively. Perhaps in a more functional world, I’d have more of a definite ecclesiastical place, but this is not my point right now.
So, as my title indicates, if I must be in some sort of category, I see myself as positionally “other.” I don’t see myself as single, because I don’t see my non-clerical, non-religious, non-married state as any more than a means to an end. I chose it not; rather, I chose a life of study, teaching, and writing, and it just so proved that not marrying was the best means to that end. And it just so proved that my bishop cared little for my objective, and that my habits were made before religion emerged as an option. I was called to the life I lead now; the other situation was a means to an end.
It’s not ecclesiastically defined, but it appears like I fall in the category of “other,” at this point, and it leaves me an incredible freedom to influence others and to devote much time to meditation. So why on earth do so many look on what I don’t do rather than what I actually do in this life? Would that we had a better Church and society, I’d surely be in a better state. But I’m not at this point.
So, any thoughts?