Recently, I had a conversation with a group of Catholic friends from university on the topic of vocation of the consecrated singles. I think of all vocations, this is arguably the most misunderstood one!
Is vocation some sort of order / command from God that I die die must follow, even if I don’t want.
Is it when I’m single and un-attached, then bo bian lor… I am called to consecrated single…
Is being single even a vocation?
But I really wanna get married!!!!!!
During discussion, we talked about how there could be some underlying ranking of vocations. In our society where there seems to be a mad race to see who graduates first, who starts work first, who gets attached first, who gets married first, who gets 1st child, 2nd child, 3rd child, first home, retirement….
Hence it could easily be seen as a level-up kind of game. You are single, then you level-up and you are married. It reminds me of something Fr. Terence Pereira’s once mentioned in his homily.
“You think we priests are losers is it?! No girlfriend then become priest is it?!”
Jokes aside, I was also very touched when our speaker, Dismas, shared with us that when he sees a dad holding his son’s hand or a couple walking together, he gives thanks to God. I think at the same time, we should also give thanks for singles who are dedicating their lives to God!
To answer the first question on what is a vocation, we first look into the origin of this word. Vocation comes from the Latin word vocare (to call). But what is it to call? It could be seen as a very scary thing because humans are part logical and emotional. Even though our logical mind (through reasoning and knowledge) knows that God is the almighty and that we can trust in Him to know what is best for us. At the same time, our emotional being comes into play and we experience fear and desires that may not align with the mind.
Dismas broke it down very clearly, so I will paste it here =)
Call from God
|Someone call||God, Devil or myself?|
|Who is being called||Me, myself, we?|
|Call me from||Insufficiency, distraught, satisfaction|
|Call me to||Joy, freedom, love and everlasting fulfillment|
|How He call||Various ways, events, things….etc|
|Responses from the one whom He call||Indifferent, fear, uncertain, uninterested|
|Why He call||Because He loves me and wants me to be happy and free|
I think the one that really strikes me is what God calls me to and why He calls. It is sometimes very easy to view it as a chore. Like I just want to do my own thing, and when God lightly pokes at me, I will say, “No God. Later, somebody else, not me. I know what I want. I’m tired…” But God knows exactly what we need in our lives, so much more than ourselves!
One other huge misconception in modern society is about freedom. Freedom in today’s context mostly deals with no laws and no restrictions. But if you truly believe in that, then an addict who is allowed to continue with his/her addiction must be truly free. Surely, you know better than to believe an addict is free. In fact, that is the direct opposite of freedom, where you no longer have the ability to decide / choose what you can do. True freedom hence, is when we are able to know the right choice and make the right choice. Initially it is a form of self-control. But when it turns into a habit where we naturally make the right choice without any desire for the other choices, that is when we gain true freedom.
God may call us to various vocations and for a very simple and great reason: for us to be happy and free. One thing we have to realize, is that the single vocation is something we all have in common. Before one gets married, one is single. Before one becomes a religious, one is single. However, we must also be careful to not turn to the single vocation for the following reasons:
- Escape from reality
- Avoid suffering and pain from relationship
- Being irresponsible
- Avoid problems since it seems to be easier to be alone with no commitment and no sacrifices…
Hence, we must all lead our lives well as single Christians before looking towards any other vocation =) Thanks to Dismas for sharing his time and knowledge with us all!
One last note on lay Christians as shared by Keenan. Keenan challenges us to reflect on whether we have fulfilled our duty as lay Christians:
900 Since, like all the faithful, lay Christians are entrusted by God with the apostolate by virtue of their Baptism and Confirmation, they have the right and duty, individually or grouped in associations, to work so that the divine message of salvation may be known and accepted by all men throughout the earth. This duty is the more pressing when it is only through them that men can hear the Gospel and know Christ. Their activity in ecclesial communities is so necessary that, for the most part, the apostolate of the pastors cannot be fully effective without it.
Blessed week ahead ^^