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Friday, May 8, 2009

Everyone has a vocation

Lately, my mind has turned to the broader question of vocation, and that we need to talk more about it.

Most especially, I think we need to talk about a vocation to single life. Some don't believe it is a vocation, but it certainly is.

Some say it's not a vocation because it's not a permanent state, but a temporary condition until someone makes a commitment to another person, or to the priesthood or religious life. But there are single people in the church of all ages, some of whom will never make that kind of a commitment. Additionally, I don't think it needs to be permanent for it to be a vocation. Vocation simply means "calling" -- and our calls change throughout our lifetime.

How can single life be considered a vocation? Think about the faithful single Catholics you know--do they live lives grounded in Christ? I once had a student say that "all single people are selfish." It inspired me to post this prayer for vocations from the USCCB, which includes a section about single people who are able to offer so much of their lives in service because they do not have the obligations of (for instance) someone with a family.

Lucky for me, another student answered that single people are no more selfish than anyone else!

That's key, perhaps. The single person who is not part of the church, who does not uphold moral standards, and who does not offer themselves in service to others, is not living out a vocation to the single life.

But there are so many who live it beautifully. We can't say that there isn't such a vocation just because some people are self-centered.