By: Therese Bermpohl
The single life: Is it, or is it not, a vocation? This question goes to the heart of the struggle confronting Catholic singles striving to do the will of God. The inner monologue can often sound something like this: “Do I or do I not have a vocation? Am I not working hard enough to discern God’s will? Am I not praying hard enough? Is it my own fault that I don’t have a vocation? Was the guy I chose to ignore on the metro at 7 a.m., whose cheery morning demeanor made me certain of our incompatibility, my one chance at marital bliss…?” Does God give us one opportunity to say “yes” to His plan for us and if we miss that one opportunity, He proclaim like the Soup Nazi, “No vocation for you!”
While we know it is possible to ignore a call, it is quite possible that the single life is right where God wants you for today.
The life call comes from the Good Shepherd. It can be a communal call, “Franciscans, over here. Carmelites, over there. Married people, on that side.” Yet even in this, He calls each individual by name. He forgets no one. One of Satan’s great illusions is to convince good holy single people that their lives are in a holding pattern. There is no such thing! Every moment is weighed. Every response matters. The single life may not have a particular structure or rule of life; it may not have a particular community or spouse through which God beckons a committed response, but the Lord is calling the single person by name to holiness, to love and to Divine usefulness.
It could be called a vocation of readiness and flexibility to the daily response to the voice of the Good Shepherd. If you are single, maybe one day you will be called to marriage, to priesthood or to religious life, but you can rest assured that God has not forgotten you. He knows exactly where you are and where He needs you to be as part of His mysterious salvific plan. So, as the Lord tells Jeremiah, let us not lose heart but be joyful in the Lord who has for each of us a plan with a future full of hope.