excerpt from the
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE LEO XIII
ON CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE
“The true origin of marriage, venerable brothers, is well known to all. Though revilers of the Christian faith refuse to acknowledge the never-interrupted doctrine of the Church on this subject, and have long striven to destroy the testimony of all nations and of all times, they have nevertheless failed not only to quench the powerful light of truth, but even to lessen it. We record what is to all known, and cannot be doubted by any, that God, on the sixth day of creation, having made man from the slime of the earth, and having breathed into his face the breath of life, gave him a companion, whom He miraculously took from the side of Adam when he was locked in sleep. God thus, in His most far-reaching foresight, decreed that this husband and wife should be the natural beginning of the human race, from whom it might be propagated and preserved by an unfailing fruitfulness throughout all futurity of time. And this union of man and woman, that it might answer more fittingly to the infinite wise counsels of God, even from the beginning manifested chiefly two most excellent properties – deeply sealed, as it were, and signed upon it-namely, unity and perpetuity. From the Gospel we see clearly that this doctrine was declared and openly confirmed by the divine authority of Jesus Christ. He bore witness to the Jews and to His Apostles that marriage, from its institution, should exist between two only, that is, between one man and one woman; that of two they are made, so to say, one flesh; and that the marriage bond is by the will of God so closely and strongly made fast that no man may dissolve it or render it asunder. “For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What, therefore, God bath joined together, let no man put asunder…”
“…You will at once see, venerable brothers, that the doctrine and precepts in relation to Christian marriage, which We have thought good to communicate to you in this letter, tend no less to the preservation of civil society than to the everlasting salvation of souls. May God grant that, by reason of their gravity and importance, minds may everywhere be found docile and ready to obey them! For this end let us all suppliantly, with humble prayer, implore the help of the Blessed and Immaculate Virgin Mary, that, our hearts being quickened to the obedience of faith, she may show herself our mother and our helper. With equal earnestness let us ask the princes of the Apostles, Peter and Paul, the destroyers of heresies, the sowers of the seed of truth, to save the human race by their powerful patronage from the deluge of errors that is surging afresh.”
~ Given at St. Peter’s in Rome, the tenth day of February, 1880, the third year of Our pontificate.
“The unmarried man gives his mind to the Lord’s affairs and how he can please the Lord; but the man who is married gives his mind to the affairs of this world and to how he can please his wife, and he is divided in mind. So, too, the unmarried woman, and the virgin, gives her mind to the Lord’s affairs and to being holy in body and spirit; but the married woman gives her mind to the affairs of this world and to how she can please her husband.” 1 Corinthians 7: 32-34
Why is it in our modern society that when someone asks a person about their status in life the choices seem to be either…
OR GAY/LESBIAN !!!
Of course our Catholic Faith teaches that to practice that 3rd ‘choice’ is not a valid moral option and in fact Holy Scripture clearly condemns sodomy. It is as much a mortal sin as promiscuous conjugal relations between an unmarried heterosexual couple.
Okay so what is a young Catholic man or woman to do if that perfect ‘soul-mate’ has not come along. What if one is called to that UNMENTIONABLE vocation…
THE SINGLE LIFE ?
Yes folks, it’s perfectly okay to be single in our modern society and that doesn’t mean you are gay or that you are doing something wrong or that there is something WRONG with YOU because you are not married…
Sometimes God’s Holy Plan for a person’s life either within the Church or out in the world requires that a person remain – well – SPOUSE…less 🙂
Why is it that our society seems to judge and stigmatize those who are called to the VOCATION of being a Lay Christian Single Person?
And WHY is the first question/words out of most people’s mouths to that person…
OH… HE MUST BE GAY ???
I think the first thing we should do is to look back at the meaning and purpose of a Christian marriage. Truly, the Christian purpose of any vocation in life, is to serve God Almighty and to be of service in our vocation to others and to our community at large. This service is required of ALL FAITHFUL CHRISTIANS whether they are married or single or whether they are called to the ministry or a religious vocation.
The PURPOSE of our CHRISTIAN life’s vocation is NEVER personal gratification or sexual/sensual pleasure. The purpose of any vocation is rightfully SERVICE to and SACRIFICE for OTHERS and for God Almighty.
That is where our modern society and culture are missing the mark and it is the reason why referendums on ‘GAY MARRIAGE’ are succeeding in Ireland and it is WHY there are so many divorces these days and so many children born out of wedlock and WHY there are so many ABORTIONS! Our whole society is crumbling morally because we see the marital act as simply another BOTTLE OF BEER or a Psychedelic Drug which gives you a good feeling for a little while – and because we now have birth control available – so there are no ‘CONSEQUENCES’ !!!
The marital act of love between a husband and wife is meant to be LIFE-GIVING and OTHER-CENTERED and always focused ultimately on our mutual service to Almighty God in the procreation (and education) of our children. It is NOT meant to be self-serving or used as a means to OBJECTIFY another person. While physical love can be a pleasurable experience – PLEASURE is NOT its SOLE PURPOSE!
But what about the man or woman who is NOT called to the vocation of marriage? There are many ways in which a single (non-married) lay person can be called to serve God. Sometimes this service is manifested in the Sacrament of Holy Orders or as a missionary or other religious vocation.
I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own special gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.
To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain single as I do. (1 Cor 7:7-8)
– The Apostle Paul was NEVER MARRIED –
But there are MANY other options for the single lay Catholic man or woman. There are many ways to live your vocation in the secular world while still pursuing the personal call to Holiness within your Catholic Faith. Our Catholic Church provides many opportunities for a single person to serve God and others, from Lectors and Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist, to working at the local food bank or soup kitchen, or helping out as a volunteer at a Crisis Pregnancy Center.
It is not a sin nor should one feel stigmatized in any way because he/she is not called to a life of Sacramental Holy Matrimony and raising a family. And that also does not (necessarily) indicate that God is calling you to become a priest or a nun. All those vocations are good and Holy but they are not for everyone. God doesn’t give us a cookie-cutter job to serve His Kingdom in this world, rather He gives us a place which he knew and ordained from the first moment of our conception. We of course still have the gift of our free will, but as long as we choose a path which is in keeping with our Catholic/Christian Faith and is in Obedience to Church authority and to all God’s Commandments, then God will keep us on a straight path toward Holiness and our Heavenly destination.
Some famous persons who were never married…
Other notable SINGLES… U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, Emily Dickinson, Sir Isaac Newton, and Thomas Jefferson who had been widowed for 19 years when he became our 3rd US President.
“The selfless, reciprocal, fruitful and indissoluble union between a man and a woman is part of God’s original plan and “the sacrament of marriage is a great act of faith and of love,” ~ Pope Francis