There were a couple of Catholic Single Life posts floating around National Catholic Register, as well as various little comments I found on tumblr, that I thought it urgent to address Catholicism and being single.
A little more than a week ago, I linked to a post by Jen Fulwiler: Single Catholics, the world needs your witness.
The more I think about this, the more I think that single Catholics are going to play an increasingly important role in the evangelization of modern culture. The truth about human sexuality is counter-cultural to an extent that the average person immersed in a secular worldview is going to find it hard to believe; and while we can share the truth in words, and that’s important, nothing speaks the truth more powerfully than the poetry of a real human life.
Almost the next day, Jackie Francois came out with a post, Seek Holiness Before Marriage.
When there are days that I begin to idolize marriage as the ultimate fulfillment of this life, I remind myself of my God-directed priorities.
If I died tomorrow, would I be happy? Of course! I would be so excited to be with the One whom my heart loves…
Both together, it is clear that the world will be better off that Single Catholics witness, and life will be better for you as a Single Person who seeks God first. I wished I had more time when these articles were published to say a few things about Singleness, chastity, & celibacy over the years, particularly against this backdrop. I already did a massive chastity series earlier this year.
For the young Catholic who wants to sink into despair that they are still single, it is good to remember that you can easily quit being single anytime, immerse yourself into the hookup culture of your average hungover irresponsible twentysomething, and pay all kinds of emotional, and perhaps physiological consequences.
When I was in my second year of community college, I made a commitment to being single. Honestly, I was heavily convinced that I was too incredibly unholy and unworthy of a vocation to consecrated life, but I still felt a certain call to singleness. I had thought of being in one of the Lay Third Orders, or an Oblate, while remaining single, and in the world rooted in a very specific sort of Catholic Spirituality.
My commitment, however, was temporary. I realized that I chose it, while all of my guy friends were lamenting (or whining and complaining) that things weren’t working out for them. I was so frustrated because I was the only one who was satisfied in himself, and I had nobody who could understand this satisfaction with me. Unlike them, I was not single in circumstance, I was single by choice.
Looking upon this experience, It makes me wonder at how many young people are missing out at a chance to really learn who God is making them to be. I wish every person after college would consider travelling far away to do volunteer work for 6 months to a year, or go out on a limb and spend a year or two discerning religious life. Perhaps one school year/term might be adequate, if your at a university with a good campus ministry.
If none of these options are available, I think it would be wise to consider a structured, supportive, disciplined, spiritually directed and accountable form of single life for anywhere from 6 months to a year, particularly the kind that will force you to get outside of your self-pity lonely bubble.