By Carmen F. Aguinaco
In a Catholic.net forum, Olinda, a young Hispanic woman, affirmed that she opted for the single life, not by accident or because she had no other choice, but as her response to God’s call. Olinda says, “Being single is not so bad. Sometimes our life as a single person can be very good. Not every is born to be married. Some are called to religious life, others are called to marriage and some of us are called to be happy as a single person because it is how God wants it and our personal path toward holiness.”
If Olinda’s affirmation may seem provocative and different to many who wouldn’t consider the single life as a possible way of life, what is even more surprising is the response from other young people. Some questioned her, while others affirmed the option as an authentic vocation. Clemente, for example asked, “Haven’t you felt alone?” Of course, in every vocation there is a time when you feel a certain well of loneliness. Every vocation entails the resignation of something to attain another in which God promises his presence and all the richness of his grace.
On the other hand, Rocío totally supports Olinda, but gives her important advice: “To reach the moment where you accept your vocation to the single life, you must endure a process that in the end will lead you to maturity.” She tells her that she must associate with other people, observe the possibilities and in the end, in front of God (as Rocío assures happened to her) realize that marriage or religious life is not where she belongs. “You must pray and accept the call from God, without being influenced by society, which still does not have the maturity to accept the single life as a life vocation,” Rocio concluded. In other words, it has to do with opting for the single life instead of it being imposed simply because you could not find the right partner. Then, what does it mean to accept the single life as a vocation to a life of holiness?
On the one hand, it means, accepting the true freedom that makes love possible. A freedom where there is no room for selfishness, otherwise the person would remain isolated and enclosed in things that end and have no relationship with the love of communication that is God.
What have I renounced?
Just like religious life and the priesthood, you renounce marriage, having an intimate relationship with one person, and having your own family. In exchange you will find a bigger family, almost limitless, to which you will be joined in many ways that will enrich you personally and will help you find your own inner richness and possibilities.
As in the vocation of marriage, you also renounce a stable community and an rhythm of life, as well as the safety of life in a convent or monastery. But in exchange, you will have the community of a new family that is being created.
It is a difficult vocation, but filled with undiscovered richness. It is an adventure. Is God calling you to become holy in this manner?
Have you ever considered the single life as a real vocation possibility and not just one of life’s fatalities?