Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Single Life

We have been debating in class whether or not the single life is in fact a bona fide vocation. The question is, does God call some people to remain single for life, but not to enter the priesthood or religious life?

The Negative Response:

Those who say, "No, the single life is not a vocation" have a number of valid points:

1. The single state seems to be a transitional period. We are all born single, and we remain single only until we discern our calling to another state.

2. Scripture seems to suppor the idea that the single life was not part of God's plan for humanity.

In Genesis 2: 18 God says, "It is not good for man to be alone. I shall make a partner for him."

3. Unlike marriage, priesthood, or religious life, single life does not require a commitment to anything beyond one's self. A true vocation requires dedication to a person or group outside of yourself.

4. Most single people consider themselves open to the idea of marriage, but either have not found the right person, have given priority to their career, or simply are unwilling or unable to make the type of commitment required to enter into marriage or another vocation.

A metaphor to help understand this position would be that of an airplane. In this metaphor, an airplane on the ground would be the single life, and flying would be a vocation. When airplanes are made they are on the ground. Because of gravity, they remain on the ground. But airplanes are made to fly. Though they may wait at the airport for people to board the plane, or for repairs, or fuel, they eventually fulfill their purpose when they hit the runway and take off. Just because a plane might not be flying does not mean that it was built to sit on the ground.

The Positive Response:

Equally, those who support the idea of the single life as a vocation are not without their share of supporting arguments:

1. We know that by virtue of our baptism EVERY Christian shares in the Universal Call to Holiness. Therefore if someone is NOT called to the priesthood, marriage, or religious life they must be called to the single life as it is the only other option available.

2. Some people see their careers or other commitments as part of their vocation, and these commitments may not allow for marriage or entering into another vocation. For example careers in medicine and law require a high degree of dedication, which might preclude another vocation.

3. Scripture seems to support the idea that remaining single is preferable to marriage. In Matthew 19: 12 Jesus says, "Some have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it."

4. The Church opposes people engaging in homosexual relationships, and it cannot sanction or bless a so-called union of homosexual persons. Therefore, if one is a homosexual the dedicated single life is his or her vocation.

I don't have a metaphor for this one yet. I'm open to suggestions. You can e-mail them to me or submit them via school web lockers.

Take a look at this article for another perspective on the single vocation.

Until next time,
Ad Jesum per Mariam.
Mr. B

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Unit 3 - Formation

We have finally undertaken our Formation project.

Every vocation has responsibilities and duties associate with it. In order to be prepared to undertake these responsibilities we go through a process of education and experience known as formation.

Your project is to first examine some Church documents regarding formation, then look to some real-life examples of how that formation takes place. You will put your findings together in a brief lesson and powerpoint presentation to share with the class.

Use the links at the left to assist you in your research.

The Lesson Plan should include the following areas:

Aspects of Formation
Length / Stages of Formation
Director(s) of Formation
Location of Formation
Goals of the Formation

The lesson should include a handout for members of the class highlighting the main points above. There should also be reflection questions for discussion.

You will need to consult the appropriate ecclesial documents for reference, as well as a variety of other sources (4 - 6 total).

Final product should be a power point presentation of 12 to 15 slides (max 20) to present the above material to your peers.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Unit 2 - Sacrifice

That we should embrace sacrifice as part of our vocation is rather foreign to us. Society tells us that we should direct all of our efforts to what makes us happy here and now. Delaying or denying satisfaction is not valued very highly.

So why, then, does every vocation involve sacrifice? Doesn't God want us to be happy?

Ultimately, yes He does, but knowing that sacrifice is salvific (that is, it aids us in our salvation), he calls us to imitate his Son who was the ultimate sacrifice for humanity.

Numerous times Jesus calls us to sacrifice in the Gospels.

Examine two of the following passages and write a paragraph answer the following questions:
1. Where is the call to sacrifice in this passage?
2. Who is Jesus calling to sacrifice?
3. How does the call relate to those living the life of discipleship in this, or any age?

6:19-21 Real Treasure
6:24 – You cannot serve both God and Wealth
8:18-22 Let the dead bury the dead. (the importance of dropping everything to follow Jesus)
10:37-39 The Conditions of Discipleship
16:24-48 More Conditions of Discipleship
19:1-12 Teaching on Celibacy
19:16-30 Giving up Everything
25:14-30 The parable of the talent

8:34-38 Conditions of Discipleship
9:33-37 Taking the Lowest Place among society
10:17-31 the Rich Young Man
12:41-44 The Poor Widow (sacrifice even when you have little)

5:1-11 Calling of Disciples
6:27-36 The importance of giving freely
9:23-26 Conditions of Discipleship
9:46-48 The least are the greatest
9:59-62 Would-be followers of Christ
12:13-15 Against Greed
12:16-21 Treasures in Heaven
12:22-34 Treasures in Heaven pt. 2
13:22-30 The Narrow Door
18:18-23 The Rich Official
18:24-30 Renounce Riches
21:1-4 The Poor Widow

Monday, February 4, 2008

Unit 2 - Sacrifice

Before moving into our second full-fledged unit we will stop and examine a few Chapters from Fr. William Miscamble's collection of homilies given at the University of Notre Dame, entitled Keeping the Faith, Making a Difference.

We will then take a brief, but systematic look at the sacrifices that are part of any given vocation.

Before doing all of that, however, I would like to set you to work on your project for Unit 3, Formation. Simply stated, every vocation has responsibilities, and one must be prepared by education and experience to take on a responsibility. Therefore, every vocation is preceded by formation.

Rather than teach the unit myself, we will be breaking up the various vocations and you will be presenting on the formation for one specific vocation - while taking good notes as your peers present as well.

Helpful links can be found in the sidebar - please note that if you are studying single life I am yet to add these, but will do so shortly.

Ad Jesum per Mariam,
Mr. B