Singled Out for God
Being committed to a call to the single life does not mean living in “life’s waiting room”. It is not about waiting to get married or waiting and wondering if I maybe have a call to priesthood or religious life. Responding to a call to live the single life fully is to be committed to a life of loving God and others. It is to have the independence to say a resounding “yes” to life.
The men and women God calls to live a life-long single commitment often work full-time making God present in the world. They dedicate their time, gifts and resources to church and to their communities. They are people of prayer who know the truth that a prayerful intimate relationship with God is the “power-house” of grace for the activities to which they are called.
Listen to Peggy’s words:
Do you not feel called to marriage or religious life? Have you considered that maybe you are being called to the single life – the vocation that does not look like a vocation?
Most outsiders assume that a vocation to the single life means the person rejects marriage or is desirous of a life of “consecrated virginity in the world.” Most single people would not identify with this.
Many outsiders find it hard to see the single life as a vocation because many may be single: the widowed, the divorced, the never married etc. They say it lacks the marks of other vocations: permanence, a defined apostolate, a public dimension, call and choice. These “perceived lacks” can be the result of a superficial and external viewing of the situation.
Lack of Permanence
is a characteristic of the vocation – a willingness to follow what is being asked of one now with an understanding that the now may extend to a lifetime. A decision to remain single for life does not seem an important part of this vocation.
Lack of Defined Apostolate
This too is a characteristic of the vocation. The primary emphasis is on doing what is being asked of you now – it may indeed be a lifelong commitment to a specific field. It often is manifested in doing what is right under one’s nose.
Lack of Public Dimension
There are no ceremonies to mark this decision but just being a single person is a very public declaration. As with other vocations it is not the ceremony but the daily living that is the declaration.
Lack of Choice
Consideration of this vocation can arise from inability to follow other paths because of previous circumstances beyond one’s control. This inability is a help to point out the path. The choice is to accept the call of God where you are.
Lack of Call
Most vocations are marked by going somewhere – down the road to the seminary or convent, or leaving ones family for one’s husband. This vocation is characterized by an awareness that no matter how you came to be single there is no need to go anywhere, one has arrived; now the decision is if one will accept the call.
Being single is being called to something positive. God does not call you out into a void but to a way to encounter Him in the circumstances of your state in life. He promises His interest and His protection. There is a sense of peace and freedom to develop and explore life as a single person. This vocation leaves one free to undertake work or charity that others cannot do because of constraints of marriage or community life. There is freedom to have good times much like others. There is freedom to succeed and to sometimes fail at living up to this vocation. Life will indeed be different but well lived: it can be VERY GOOD!