Ramblings on being Single + the Church

The conversation of being single in the Church is a conversation that ebbs and flows. Me being single, it's probably talked about quite a bit more amongst my single friends. Ya know, because we all have that in common. It makes perfect sense. We need to feel like we are together, we aren't alone in the choices we are making as single, chaste, striving for holiness kind of people.

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.

Try it.

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.

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  1. I love this attitude, Jen. I really tried to live this when I was a single person too. (I got married at 29 so I had a bit of time in this state post-high school.) It is hard when you want to get married--and there's nothing wrong with wanting it--but the constant state of pining for what you don't have isn't helpful. And, you're right, there are SO many gifts single people can share with the Church. The freedom you have now, you may never have again. It is so good to give of yourself when you actually have ample time and the freedom to do so.

    1. Thanks, Laurel!
      You're right, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having the desire of marriage (or whatever Vocation)! It's just so much better when we are constantly learning to be the person God wants us to be now, so that when we enter into our Vocations, we know how to give of ourselves to that vocation.

      And this is not to say that married people/religious aren't giving of their time. Obviously. It's just a different way we are using the time we each have, respectively. It looks different as a wife and mom- your time is given to your husband and kids, which is how you are helping to build the kingdom! :)

  2. I love this so much! And trust me, on the flip side of the single coin, there are days you'll wish you had the freedom and time you once did! There's a whole post just in that! ;-)

    1. :) Thanks, Rakhi!

      Ha, oh I know! I am trying not to be ungrateful for this time I have now. And boy... do I have a lot right now before my job starts! haha. But, just as I was saying to Laurel, how we use our time to build the kingdom just looks different. I wasn't trying to say that married people with kids don't have ways to give of their time... by the very nature of being married with kids is taking time to build up the kingdom in your own way. Because you are a self-gift to your hubby and kids.

      I just wanted to bring attention to the single people that being a self-gift may require us to get involved in our parishes, instead of just complaining of the fact that "the church doesn't do anything for us." It's not about that! :)

  3. YES!! Stop the whining!!! Your post did make me think of the retirees and widows..you rarely hear them complaining the church doesn't have anything for them they are out in many different ministries helping.

    1. haha... so true! They are always around and doing stuff (although, I am SURE they have their complaints)... but they show up. And are involved. We should take not of that! :)


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