Being Single as a Vocation to Love
Did God call me to be single for life?
I think one of the most difficult burdens a single person can have is the feeling that one has never been called or chosen. Do I even have a vocation?
When you try to search over the internet, you’d find various answers to this question. Some would say that being single is a vocation just like being married or being a religious. But many sites I have visited bluntly say that being single should never be considered as such and there is no such thing.
No matter what reason may have been given by those who say that being single is not a vocation, the effect is the same. It is painful to hear and to be told again and again.
If God did not call me to be single, where did I go wrong? Should I have been a married person or a religious had I only obeyed God’s calling? And if I have not been called that way, why wasn’t I called by God? What does He want me to do with my life?
It is this feeling that I am in a wrong state in life, somewhere I shouldn’t be. That feeling that while all the other people are being cheered and congratulated for their vocation, I’ve been left out in the midst of a void, without purpose or without meaning in the life I’m living in.
Is this true? How should single people view their current condition?
First of all, I would like to believe that it is quite impossible that God has no plan for my life. And it is also quite impossible to believe that He does not love me.
God is Love. God is Goodness. How could He ever be anything else?
And if God is good, He is good to me. He descended from heaven and died on the cross just for me. How could He not be concerned with my life?
Secondly, it is hard to believe that He has not called me. Throughout my life, I have felt Him calling me, pursuing me, choosing me. He may not have called me to be a nun or to be a wife, but He has called me just the same.
What then is this call?
The Church teaches that every Christian is called to a life of holiness.
“Therefore in the Church, everyone whether belonging to the hierarchy, or being cared for by it, is called to holiness…” — Lumen Gentium V
You and I are called. Married, religious people…and single people. No one has ever been excluded. Why do we speak as though somebody can be left out? As though God has failed to see and to call someone that He has made in His own image?
“God created man in His own image and likeness: calling him to existence through love, He called him at the same time for love. God is love and in Himself He lives a mystery of personal loving communion. Creating the human race in His own image and continually keeping it in being, God inscribed in the humanity of man and woman the vocation, and thus the capacity and responsibility, of love and communion.” - St John Paul II (Familiaris Consortio)
Before we concern ourselves with whatever state of life we have been called to such as married life or religious life, let us concern ourselves that everyone has been called first to a life of holiness and love.
“Love is the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being” — St John Paul II (Familiaris Consortio, 11)
And so whether you are a nun, a wife or a lay single person, you are being called to love. If you fail to do this, then your vocation as a religious or as a married person would be to no avail. Because such are only avenues by which you could love. And if you do not love, what good would your calling be to you?
In the end, there is still this question that is never easy to answer: “Did God call me to be single and alone?”
I do not know. I’ll never be sure until I get to heaven.
But what I’m certain of is that God has called me to love in the unique circumstances of life that He has allowed me to be in. He has a purpose for me where I am and my life is not meaningless. For as long as I can live a life of holiness and love, my life would never be in vain.
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” — Isaiah 43:1, NRSVCE
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