UP Catholic 09 01 2017 E Edition Page 8

BY MARY REZAC CNA/EWTN NEWS From a young age, Catholics are taught to pray about and discern their vocations whether theyre called to marriage, to the religious life, to the priesthood, or consecrated single life. This can leave the lay single person feeling that they are in a vocational limbo of sorts, and poses the question for some: Have these people missed their vocation? Is the lay single state a vocation thats chosen or by default? BUT ACTUALLY, AT THE END OF THE DAY - DOES IT MATTER? Father Ben Hasse vocations director for the Diocese of Mar- quette, said addressing the topic of singleness in the Church can be difficult because of the emotions surrounding the issue. I have quite a few friends who would like to be married, so theres a much more emotional investment in the question because there's more people who find themselves single rather than having specifically chosen it, he said. Recognizing the emotional weight of the topic, Father Hasse noted that there are many aspects to addressing the question of vocation and singleness that need to be taken into account, and that it can be difficult - and danger- ous to make generalizations about a population in the Church that is actual- ly very diverse. BEING SPECIFIC ABOUT SINGLENESS Father Hasse said that he has found its helpful as a pastor to approach singleness very specifically - wheth- er its a college student who hopes to marry someday, or a widow who lost her husband last month, being single encompasses a wide variety of people and circumstances. Its important to distinguish between people who are single because thats kind of where youre at when youre 16, versus someone who has really felt God calling them to give their life in service to the Church as a single person, or various other circumstances. For example, a single 19-year-old college student is probably not neces- sarily living a vocation of singleness in any settled way, Father Hasse said, but a person in their 40s who finds joy in serving Christ in their everyday circum- stances of work and life is not some- one I would say lacks a vocation. It would be different from the way we usually use the word because it wouldn't be defined, and made concrete by vows or promises, he said. But the single accountant or school teacher could certainly live their life and see the work of their hands as something theyre offering to God, and live that in a very spiritually fruitful way, and I wouldnt say now heres a person without a vocation. YOUR VOCATION IS GIVEN AT BAPTISM Jason Coito, coordinator of young adult ministry for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, told CNA that most of the debates surrounding singleness and vo- cation rely on a very narrow definition of vocation, or confuses the term with what we refer to as states in life. It can be helpful instead to refocus these debates and conversa- tions on the universal vocation to holiness that each Christian re- ceives at their baptism, Coito said. I think this helpfully reframes the conversa- tion and then asks us, How is God calling me to make a response to Him and to my broth- ers and sisters from within the state in life in which I find my- self? This respects every vocation, because its a question anyone can answer on any given day in their life, regard- less of their state in life, he said. You do have a vocation. All baptized Catholics are called to live their lives as dis- ciples of Jesus. This is the foundational call of our lives as Catholics, he said. If you feel deeply called to get married, and you have prayer- fully discerned and confirmed this call, then until you meet the person you feel called to get mar- ried to, you continue to live out your baptismal call, open to the people and circumstances that God puts in front of you each day. For those who are married, we do pretty much the same thing, except that we do this out of the sacramental relationship we have with our spouse, he said. THE BIG LIE: YOU ARE INCOMPLETE UNTIL YOU'VE MADE VOWS Coito noted that one of the worst pat- terns of thinking that a Catholic can fall into when thinking about vocation is to believe that they are somehow less-than or incomplete until they are married, or are a priest or in a religious order. Weve been given everything as human beings that God intends us to have, so to begin to think of ourselves as somehow unfinished...we can joy- fully be living out our vocation already right now. The belief that marriage or religious life will also magically make us com- pletely fulfilled is also a mentality that can set people up for disappointment, he noted. It ends up being a Disney sort of (mentality) of happily ever after, but its much more Paschal mystery than happily ever after, he said. WHAT THE CHURCH HAS TO SAY ABOUT SINGLE PEOPLE Pope John Paul II, who wanted to be known as the Pope of the family, wrote in his familial document Familiaris Consortio that those without a family must be able to find their family within the Church. In fact, the entire final section of this document is dedicated to single people. In the document, he wrote: For those who have no natural family the doors of the great family which is the Church - the Church which finds concrete ex- pression in the diocesan and the parish family, in ecclesial basic communities and in movements of the apostolate - must be opened even wider. No one is without a family in this world: the Church is a home and family for every- one, especially those who labor and are heavy laden. The Catechism of the Catholic Church also recognizes the great number of single persons who, because of the particular circumstances in which they have to live often not of their choos- ing are especially close to Jesus heart and therefore deserve the special affec- tion and active solicitude of the Church, especially of pastors. (CCC 1658). 8 September 1, 2017 THE U.P. CATHOLIC VOCATING www.upcatholic.org Marquette 906-225-0191 1400 Wright Street Escanaba 906-786-4685 Hwy. M-35 Mention this Ad and receive 10% Discount on all Markers & Headstones. Is the single life a vocation? Maybe we're asking the wrong question Father Ben Hasse

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