But, oh my gosh. Please, stop the whining.
I have read some articles recently (this one and this one) and there just seems to be this air of... whining. How the Church isn't serving us properly. She doesn't recognize our needs. Or that she just doesn't recognize us, period.
Are there WAY more single people today than there ever were before? Probably. So, sure the Church is trying to catch up and is still learning how to serve us best. Does she need to recognize all of the singletons, single parents, widowers and their place in the Church? Absolutely. Just as she needs to recognize and value all members of the body of Christ.
But in these articles and some chats I have with single people, the conversation always leans towards what the Church should be doing for me and not how I can best serve the Church.
And that for me, is the most frustrating thing.
Part of the problem with the Church not recognizing us is because we are choosing not to participate in our parishes. We choose to hop from one parish to the next to satisfy our spiritual needs. While this is important, we do need to be spiritually fed, so is being part of a community. Part of a parish family. Perhaps if we were around more consistently, participated in the big parish activities, then maybe, just maybe, the Church will realize that we are there. That we care. That we want to be involved.
I'm not saying that every priest will be open to starting some great young adult group or that the annoying comments from people, like "gosh! I can't believe you still aren't married!" won't continue once we involve ourselves in a parish. But, see... that's not that point.
The point is to give of ourselves. That is the BEST thing we can do right now as single people. Before we are giving of ourselves to a spouse/kids or to God as a religious/priest... we need to learn how to push ourselves to give more fully. To love. To serve. To show all those around us that we have gifts and talents and brains to be used to build up the Kingdom. Those things don't just happen when we are married or make vows to a religious community.
They happen right now. And "right now" may be a loooong time. There are no guarantees that all of the current single people will get married. Will enter a religious community. Will become a priest. Or take a vow as a consecrated single. From here until the end of time there will always be single people in the church. It's life.
So, let's stop whining about the fact that the church isn't doing enough for us! Let's start asking what WE can do for Her! How WE can best serve Her! How WE can give of ourselves!
Go to that parish BBQ.
Sign up to be a Eucharistic Minister.
Become a catechist.
Meet with your pastor to start a young adult group.
Contact the coordinator of the moms group to see what families need a meal.
See if there is an elderly person who needs a ride to/from Mass.
Volunteer with youth group.
Our goal is Heaven, right? Guess what?! Heaven is completely achievable without a vow ever taken. We can get to Heaven as single people. The thousands (millions?!) of single people in the Church today can absolutely get to Heaven without ever getting married. Or becoming a religious. Or a priest. We should be striving to be the person God created us to be, to live a life of holiness. Our call to holiness requires us to give of ourselves, even when- especially when- we don't want to, don't feel we have to, or don't feel we should.
Our church needs us. All of us.
We must show up.
We must put ourselves out there.
We must die to ourselves a little more.
Amazing things will happen once we put the needs of our Church in front of our own.
Let's do it.