Well, I’m not a cleric, I’m not consecrated, and I’ve never married, so I guess that would make me “single,” even though I greatly dislike that term. What I find most tone-deaf about the debate about the “single vocation” is how so many, in an attempt to be well-meaning, try to define it as a vocation coequal to marriage or an ecclesiastical vocation but then have nothing they can generally say about it at all. To be frank, I find it a reductionistic novelty that some only hold to because there are some persons who’ve never married who just carry a chip on their shoulder because of it.
An earlier poster here is right: we have the universal call to holiness and our distinct personal vocation, such as a profession or particular avocation to guide us in all of this. So, I can’t help but think that the drive to recognize a “single vocation” simply masks a deep insecurity on the part of its more vociferous advocates. To them, I’d advise changing some aspect of their lives if they don’t like it rather than rationalizing that God called them to their particular state in life. If you don’t like your workplace, find a new one. If your parish is dismissive of you, go to Mass elsewhere. If your friends have become distant, find new friends. If you don’t even want to be single anymore, then consider marrying. But, whatever you do, don’t blame God for all the evils of your particular state while you’re doing nothing to improve it.
I’m 37, and I was rejected from seminary studies a decade ago for reasons still unknown to me. Only once over that past decade did I consider a potential wife, and once I considered applying to the FSSP. My primary focus in that period has been my career as a college tutor, my writing, and my service at the altar at Extraordinary Form Masses. The fact that I don’t have a wife and kids at home really had about as much to do with this as the fact that I am right-handed. I can’t say I was called not to marry – and I still might marry – as I was called not to write with my left hand. That’s just the way things turned out, but my career, writings, studies, and service were a matter of a type of calling, of tasks that emerged that I willingly either sought out or accepted and continued to develop into. These were matters of personal vocation. To those who would vent and ramble about being single, I would dare ask if they’ve even considered the matter of personal vocation yet.