What is common to the single life and the vocations of married &
religious life? The purpose of all the states is to get to heaven and
live in happiness, with commitment to Christ and his Catholic Church.
It is much easier for one to start out by practicing the Catholic Faith
and obeying the teachings of the Church when single than it would be to
begin this process in a vocation. In fact, vocation itself requires the
same kind of Christian living that the single life entails. Chastity is
common to all ways of life. No lifestyle, whether single or vocational,
is without commitment to Jesus Christ.
But what is different about each lifestyle?
In marriage, no longer does one have his own will, in the sense that
he is free to do all kinds of things without consideration to another.
If one is a religious, then the vocation is also lived amongst others
in close quarters. Celibacy is characteristic of the religious life.
Yet a single person lives not alone, but has a commitment to God and
the community. The Ten Commandments apply to everyone.
God wants each of us to be happy in this life, as well as in
eternity. This is the reason that he calls some to be married and
others to be religious. In order to discern this process in a serious
way, one has the responsibility to be the best kind of person he or she
can be. Family has brought you and me to the position that each of us
now holds. Each of us came from a family which showed us, for better or
for worse, what being a good person is all about. Hopefully, we came
from a loving and caring mother and father who gave us the basics of
our Catholic faith and made sure we learned more about it each day.
Many, however, did not experience this initial love in a family.
Perhaps, as is the situation of so many today, they came from broken
homes where the father was irresponsible or the mother did not care for
the children like she should have. Many came from places where they may
not have even known the mother, the father, or both. In these cases,
Jesus has given the Catholic Church to help us. Hopefully, those less
fortunate will be able to encounter the richness of the church founded
by Jesus Christ.
Single life is a dependency, like the vocations of marriage and
religious life. These lifestyles are a dependency not only upon others
in a special way, and in a vocation in a more intimate way, but also a
relying upon God from day to day. In marriage, a partner can not
fulfill all the needs of another, just as in community religious life,
others can not meet all the wishes of another sister, brother, or
priest. Therefore, the beginning point has to be God, the Trinity of
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. One may meet Christ in his intended
spouse or anticipated religious community in a way that is earthmoving,
but the conscious effort of a single Christian is to begin loving God
and neighbor in that very state of life.
Awareness of the truth found in the Bible, Tradition, and the
Catholic Church is something that anyone in any walk of life will want
to practice. The purpose of life is happiness or blessedness. One need
look no further than Jesus and the Beatitudes telling us that we are
happy when we are pure, humble, consoling, patient, and so forth. One
can just find out that happiness in the world is not found in disregard
for the teachings of the Catholic Church. There are going to be many
things in one’s life that are unexpected and come at us from nowhere.
We can then say that this perfect vision of being a Christian can
easily be disrupted.
What does the single person, as well as the vocational person do in
order to be happy? The sure remedy is to practice the faith daily. Obey
the Church even when you think that something is wrong. Talk about it
with others. St. Francis did not leave the church in the 13th century,
despite the immorality of the society and religious. He worked for
reform. Martin Luther is one example of a man who was unwilling to work
Study and be willing to learn more about God, the Bible, the Church,
and one’s Catholic religion. Find out the truth. That is why the
Catholic Church is here for us. Read good Catholic books, magazines,
literature. Watch good television programs–Eternal World Television,
videos, etc. Practice the Ten Commandments in all respects. Obey the
precepts of the Church. Guard your senses from the immorality of the
world with its billboards and risqué pictures. There may be times when
one will come across them, but do not dwell on them.
Read about Mary and the saints. Do not go by hearsay but investigate
for yourself what is true. Do not follow the crowd. Ask expert opinion
of professors who are noted for holiness, and do not those who allow
permissiveness such as the bad plays which take place in many Catholic
schools and colleges. Associate with good people. Study the Bible.
Frequent the sacraments.
Amidst all the distractions, discouragements and pitfalls of life,
one will find that life is not just bearable, but enjoyable as God is
the source of a heart that is intent on doing his will. The life of an
authentic Christian cannot be demonstrated as an effective example, if
it is not nourished and fostered by constant commitment and practice.
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