“Most of You Are Probably Called To Marriage”, said Mark Hart at DCYC 2013. Suddenly, a look of annoyance crossed his face. “Excuse me,” he said, “Some of you are called to marriage. SOME of you, but not all of you.”
I remember, at the time, the fact that he went out of his way to correct himself on the matter of making blanket-statements regarding vocation to be incredibly disconcerting. But, in retrospective, I find his statement to be, indeed, quite brilliant.
In that statement, Mark Hart, without knowing it or not, acknowledged a problem in the way that we approach vocations. We look at percentiles in regards to vocations and present them to almost “comfort” the vast majority of people that would be young and without a vocation. I can’t tell you how many times that I have heard that statement and taken it as a comfort that I, statistically, had probably not fallen into the percentile of people that would not have sex in their vocation. Because God forbid God call me to a vocation that would bring me the peace, joy and fulfillment right? (winky-jovial-face here)
I argue that making the statement, “Most of you are called to marriage” is actually discouraging vocations. Father Brian McMaster has been going around the diocese and brilliantly saying that we need to be building a “Culture of Vocations” and this statement works against that. There is a shortage of priests and we do need them. It is incredibly important in this day and age to remind young people that God loves them for He sacrificed Himself for them. He desires their happiness more than he does. Rather than broadcast a message saying “Most of you are called to marriage” we should instead be broadcasting, “Jesus loves you so much and He desires you to be happy. And because of that divine desire He will call some of you to be celibate for the kingdom because it will bring you the most peace and fulfillment.”
Okay that is a little wordy, but hopefully you get the idea. Let us encourage vocations and not encourage people to shy away from their own happiness. Let us not be afraid of acknowledging the callings that God places in the hearts of all man and women so that we might continue to be Jesus’ Hands and Feet. Amen, Alleluia.