Saturday, November 22, 2008

"The future of humanity passes by way of the family" - Pope John Paul II


The Future Depends on Love...

is an initiative of the Roman Catholic Bishops of Massachusetts...An initiative to evangelize on the vocation of marriage.

If you live in Massachusetts and feel called by the Lord Jesus to do your part to promote and defend the vocation of marriage, click on this link to learn how to get involved.

Christian marriage is sacred. In God's plan, the marriage covenant between a man and a woman becomes the image and symbol of the Covenant which unites God to His people (Hos 2:21; Jer 3:6-13; Is 54:5-10). It is the sign of Christ's love for His Church (Eph 5:32). As Pope John Paul II explained, "So often the pressures of modern living separate husbands and wives from one another, threatening their lifelong interdependence in love and fidelity. Can we also not be concerned about the impact of cultural pressures upon relations between the generations, upon parental authority and the transmission of sacred values? Our Christian conscience should be deeply concerned about the way in which sins against love and against life are often presented as examples of 'progress' and emancipation. Most often, are they not but the age-old forms of selfishness dressed up in a new language and presented in a new cultural framework?"

It is important that we all take up the Church's call to promote and defend marriage and family life as sacred realities. At the same time, let's not forget that the single state is also a vocation. There are many men and women who are not called by the Lord Jesus to enter into married life. I am one of these. The vocation to single life represents a heavy cross. Many singles are called to their vocation as shut-ins, invalids or handicapped ones to be Christ's crossbearers to the end. Still others are called to a serving love, caring for a family member who is sick or aged. Still others are called to be lay apostles, evangelizing a hurting and broken world in desperate need of the Good News which is Christ Jesus.

Life in the single state can be very rewarding and very joyful. It can also be very painful. The world (and sadly, this includes many in the Church as well) often ridicules and scorns the single life. Often parents, relatives and fellow parishioners will join in the attack: "What's wrong with you?" "Why don't you get married?" In my own experience, I have often been made to feel unwelcome at my parish. Almost all activities are geared toward married couples and families. Those called to the single state are simply ignored.

It is forgotten that single people have value too. We are not second-class citizens created by God for no purpose. Pope John Paul II said that, "Every human person is called to communion with God. That is why the Lord made us, to know him and love him and serve him, and - in doing this - to find the secret to lasting joy....the Church needs the Gospel witness of holy lay people, in married life and in the single state.."

Do we believe this? Then let's not forget, while promoting and defending marriage and family life, that those who are called to the single state are also members of the Church who have something to contribute.

Paul.

2 comments:

Samantha said...

I have often wondered if there is room for single people in te Church. Doesn't seem that way at times.

Ellen Wironken said...

It is good to hear that the Massachusetts Bishops are engaged in a solid effort to defend marriage and family. Both of these institutions are under almost constant attack in the media, and especially from Hollywood (aka Sodom and Gomorrah) and MTV (which I spell EmpTV).

Although I am married and don't really know what it's like to be single today, I share your concerns about single lay men and women being neglected by the Church. My parish (which I love dearly, don't get me wrong - this is only constructive criticism), has all sorts of activities for married couples and families but absolutely nothing for single Catholics. We have pre-Cana, Marriage Encounter, retreats for married couples, family day, cub scouts and boy scouts and so on. But not so much as a support group for singles.

To me, it's just sad. Hopefully this situation changes.

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