Friday August 20th Parish Prayer Day for Marriage and Family Life
Proposed Theme: Vocation of the Single Person
On the 20th of each month, our parish prays for the 24 hours for Marriage & Family Life.
Everyone is invited to join in this prayer, either by taking on an hour, or by including this intention in your own prayer during that day.
- We generally think about vocation in terms of priesthood and religious life – and sometimes in terms of marriage. Very seldom do we consider the vocation of the single person.
- For us as Christians there is only one vocation, and this comes through Baptism. The vocation of each of us is to be a disciple of Christ.
- This is then expressed and lived differently because of the different circumstances and commitments of our lives.
- Some people live this vocation in marriage, by living as a disciple of Christ in the relationship with one other person as a Sacramental couple in service of their children and the world in which they live.
- Some people live this vocation in Priesthood by living as a disciple of Christ in the fraternity of the priesthood in union with the Bishop for the service of the parishes of their Diocese and the Universal Church.
- Religious live as disciples of Christ in community with one another for the service of God’s people, especially the poor and those who have no one to be advocates for them.
- Single people live as disciples of Christ in the ordinary circumstances of their lives, using their gifts to bring peace and healing and hope to those around them.
Good models for single people are Martha, whose feast day is July 29th, her sister Mary and their brother Lazarus. Jesus was a frequent visitor to their home and often received hospitality at their table.
There are many expressions of the vocation of the single person.
- The newly baptised baby brings joy and hope to everyone just by being present,
- Children, especially after they have been anointed with the Sacrament of Confirmation, are called to positively contribute to the joy and well-being of their parents, family, and home so that it becomes truly the Church of the home. They also have so much to bring to their school and their parish community by using their gifts to bring joy and goodness to others.
- Young people have so much to bring to other young people in today’s world by helping them to come to know the goodness of following Christ. They also have great gifts to bring hope and freshness to their parents and other people in the parish. But no one asks them!!
- And older single people have gifts that are badly needed in today’s world. They are often the people who look after a sick or elderly parent or sibling. Unfortunately, they can be taken for granted by the rest of the family and the care for a parent or sibling is left mostly to them.
- People living on their own are also called to be disciples of Christ by making their home a place of Christ’s presence and a source of his peace
A little of what has been written about the Single Vocation
The Apostolic exhortation Christifideles laici confirms that the unmarried state of lay life is a courageous response of vocational action and a magnificent opportunity for apostolic expenditure, especially in the times, conditions, and circumstances of the post-modern era. The single lay person carries out his or her apostolate by virtue of his or her special vocational status, growing in intimate union with the Divine Spouse, Our Lord. God the Father placed before them the temporal means of His own sanctification: human labour. Human labour serves men and women as both a natural and supernatural means to sustain and maintain themselves, contributing to God’s plan of salvation. “As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” (1 Peter 4:10).
The vocation to the Single Life may be lived out either from choice or from circumstance. Some people choose to remain single because they believe this is how they can best serve God and his people. They do not feel called to join a consecrated community or the priesthood. They may be a lay missionary – teacher or doctor – who can more easily respond to need, wherever it is perceived, if they are not tied by an intimate relationship or family responsibilities. But equally they may be a carpenter, office worker, scientist, dentist, train driver, who has a fulfilling personal relationship with Jesus which they feel able to live out more fully if they are not tied by other relationships.
Other people are single because of the situation they find themselves in. This may be a temporary or permanent situation. For example, a young person who is still discerning his or her vocation – whether to marriage or the religious life – is still called to live their life for God while they are single. A person who feels called to marriage but has not yet found their future spouse can be living the single vocation at this time. A person who has been widowed or divorced and thus is no longer living the vocation to marriage may now live out the vocation to single life.