I’ve been teaching my second grade church school class about vocations. Our book keeps it really simple and straight-forward, which is something I appreciate:
The word vocation means ‘what we are called to do.’ Every Christian has the vocation to live as a follower of Jesus. God calls us to do this in different ways in the Church.
Straight and to-the-point. I like it.
More than that, I like the expounded definition of what this looks like.
In a nutshell, God calls some men to serve the Church as bishops, priests, deacons, or brothers. He calls some women to live as sisters. Some people are called to live a single life. And God calls many men and women to live a married life.
Really, this doesn’t seem like anything earth-shattering, right? Yes, lots of people get married.
But I think it is remarkable. Here’s why…
You see, the view of marriage the Church believes in– and the one that I’m teaching– is that it is a calling. Marriage isn’t just a good thing that some people choose to do. It’s not just the right thing to do if you want to have kids. It’s not a tax deduction or good step for buying a house.
It’s a calling. In the same way that some are called to be priests or nuns, some are called to be married.
And that distinction? Is HUGE.
Because marriage isn’t just something we do for the heck of it, it carries more weight. I’m not just married because I thought this guy was attractive and fun and we’d make cute babies.
I’m married because that’s the way God has called me to live. That is a huge part of my role within God’s family. And it’s an important one! In my role, I work alongside everyone in both the same or different roles to continue the work of Jesus.
When we view marriage as a vocation, rather than just a choice, it becomes a lot more apparent why the Catholic church has such a history of vehemently opposing divorce– this isn’t about turning your back on a relationship that’s not as good as you’d hoped; it’s about rejecting the calling God laid on your heart. And — and this is important — if both parties go in with that same perspective, marriage becomes something critical and worth every effort in the world.
Isn’t that huge? And isn’t it a wonderful thing to be sharing that perspective with these young hearts and minds so they understand the amazing value (and responsibility) of married life?
If being married is part of the life God is asking of me, I’m far less likely to just throw it away.
Marriage involves a call from God and a response from two people who promise to build, with the help of divine grace, a lifelong, intimate and sacramental partnership of love and life.
And that’s a lesson I’m blessed to be teaching.