Single life in the world
#21
(03-17-2021, 10:36 PM)Evangelium Wrote: Would anyone seriously hold that St. Joan of Arc had no vocation?  That's ridiculous.

Let me preface this by saying that I love St. Joan of Arc and pray to her regularly for intercession.  With that said, in the technical sense that MM has pointed out, St. Joan did not have a vocation.  If she did, what would that have been?  She led the armies of France into battle and dealt serious defeats to the occupying English forces.  Another way of putting that, is that she led one group of men to slaughter another group of men (the French were justified in defending France, of course).  That's her special calling from God as a single person?  I think not.  She was called to holiness, as we all are, and she lived out a holy life and is an inspiration and model for millions of Catholics throughout the world.  There's nothing about that that would require us to think of her as having a special vocation from God.
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#22
If you believe the stories about Joan of Arc, it's pretty clear she did have a "special calling" to "lead one group of men to slaughter another group of men". That's a vocation in an analogous sense.

ETA: Just saw jovan's post above. I agree with him that she's an outlier.
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#23
Yes, a Vocation in the proper sense, a "Capital V Vocation" we can say, is to the Priesthood or Religious Life. Thus, Priests, Monks and Nuns have a Religious Vocation.

A small v vocation can refer to whatever one is called by God to do in one's own life in order to fulfil His Perfect Will for our lives. Our Lord makes following the Will of God for our life a condition of salvation when He says, "Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Mat 7:21). He also says, "For whosoever shall do the will of my Father, that is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother" (Mat 12:50)

Pope Ven. Pius XII wrote a great Encyclical on the topic being discussed in this thread in Sacra Virginitas. Someone asked whether one can make a private vow to God to remain single forever simply and solely for love of Him, and desire for greater union with Him, and the Holy Father answers that in the affirmative, writing: "6. And while this perfect chastity is the subject of one of the three vows which constitute the religious state,[9] and is also required by the Latin Church of clerics in major orders[10] and demanded from members of Secular Institutes,[11] it also flourishes among many who are lay people in the full sense: men and women who are not constituted in a public state of perfection and yet by private promise or vow completely abstain from marriage and sexual pleasures, in order to serve their neighbor more freely and to be united with God more easily and more closely.

7. To all of these beloved sons and daughters who in any way have consecrated their bodies and souls to God, We address Ourselves, and exhort them earnestly to strengthen their holy resolution and be faithful to it." http://www.vatican.va/content/pius-xii/e...nitas.html

Edit: I believe the referenced work of Rev. Fr. Dominic Unger, "The Mystery of Love for the Single" was also written after Sacra Virginitas and referenced it. Someone can please correct me if I'm wrong on that.
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#24
(03-17-2021, 07:53 PM)Evangelium Wrote: I believe that each person has a personal vocation, as the eminent theologian Germain Grisez has written and as Pope St. John Paul II taught. This includes, but is not limited to, one's state in life.  It is up to each person to discern what Our Lord wants him to do in his life, his personal vocation.

I recommend the book Personal Vocation: God Calls Everyone by Name, by Germain Grisez and Russell Shaw.

First point : The website and your text here confuse three notions throughout using the term "vocation". There is the (1) "vocation" of Eph 4.1 which is the "universal call to holiness" and is everyone's, (2) then there is the way in which this is lived out often called a "vocation", and there is (3) the call of God to religious or a priestly "vocation" communicated to a person by the Church.

My contention is that (3) is the prime analogate of "vocation" and that (2) is only a "vocation" in an analogous sense, which is to say, it may be useful to use this term, but it also could be problematic, if its use warps the prime analogate, or inverts the analogy. I think Grisez (and the website you cite, which spares no incense to worship his texts) does.

This is a huge problem, and Grisez's text (and the characterization by that website) suggest that a priestly vocation (3) is no different from (2), except that perhaps it is a higher degree of fulfillment from other "vocations". That is fully contrary to Canon Law itself, which requires, as a pre-condition for admission to Orders, a "divine vocation" to the Order, which is the decision of the bishop to call the candidate. The personal decision (2) to live out (1) might be to enter the seminary to offer oneself, but (2) is not enough to be a priest. The website and Grisez certainly suggests it is, though.

The result of this is to turn a religious or priestly vocation into just a job choice and no different than one choosing to be a plumber. It guts the notion that the Church has had since the beginning following Our Lord's own words "you have not chosen me, but I have chosen you." It "democratizes" the whole notion of Orders which was the main push of the liberals at Vatican II : to turn the priest into a Protestant-style pastor and leader, reduce the Pope to a constitutional monarch and the bishops to a parliament, and introduce the laity into the governance of the Church.

That brings up the second point : Grisez (whom very traditionally-minded priests I know who went to Emmitsburg were not fond of) and John Paul II were pushing Vatican II's notions into a kind of "personalism". The whole Theology of the Body is exactly this, for instance. Given those same priests taught by Grisez jokingly referred to as "Theology of the Bawdy" when they had to learn it, and the horrific unrepented-for crimes against the First Commandment of John Paul II, coupled with the fact that before the mid-20th century no one seems to have approached "vocation" in this personalist way, I simply do not trust these people.

If you could provide a major ascetical figure or author from before the mid-20th century who affirms this notion of a "personal vocation" I would be keen to read it.
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#25
(03-18-2021, 06:10 AM)Filiolus Wrote: If you believe the stories about Joan of Arc, it's pretty clear she did have a "special calling" to "lead one group of men to slaughter another group of men". That's a vocation in an analogous sense.

ETA: Just saw jovan's post above. I agree with him that she's an outlier.

That's I think the point here.

We're being analogous in this use of "vocation".

The question is whether this is a good use of analogy, or serves, rather, to undermine a vocation in the strict sense.

I think it does tend to undermine that strict sense notion, since it does not seem its use as the personal way one lives out his sanctification was a traditional notion.

If it were, I would be happy to be corrected on this, but I find it in no standard traditional ascetical manuals, nor in any papal documents before the 1950s, and even the Sacra Virginitas is extremely careful not to use the term.
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#26
MagisterMusicae Wrote:If you could provide a major ascetical figure or author from before the mid-20th century who affirms this notion of a "personal vocation" I would be keen to read it.

St. Francis de Sales (died 1622), a Doctor of the Church, taught this concept of personal vocation.  He wrote:

Quote:A good vocation is simply a firm and constant will in which the person who is called must serve God in the way and in the places to which almighty God has called him.

Quote:When God created the world He commanded each tree to bear fruit after its kind; and even so He bids Christians,--the living trees of His Church,--to bring forth fruits of devotion, each one according to his kind and vocation.

I recommend his books Treatise on the Love of God and Introduction to the Devout Life.
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#27
(03-18-2021, 02:37 PM)Evangelium Wrote:
Quote:A good vocation is simply a firm and constant will in which the person who is called must serve God in the way and in the places to which almighty God has called him.

Indeed this is from St Francis de Sales ... writing about religious vocations. It can be found in one of his letters to a religious sister in the book Letters to Persons in Religion.

This is why he writes in this letter, "To know whether God wills one to be a religious man or woman, one is not to wait for him sensibly to speak to us, or send us an angel from heaven to signify to us his will," and later, "It is a certain thing that when God calls any one by prudence and divine Providence he obliges himself to furnish all the helps necessary to make him perfect in his vocation ... when he calls anyone to be priest, bishop, or religious, he obliges himself at the same time to furnish him all the means required to be perfect in his vocations ... in making me a religious Our Lord is obliged to furnish me all that I need have to be a good religious."

In short, the quote is about a religious vocation, so a vocation in the strict sense, not about this personalistic notion of each Christian having a special calling from God.

(03-18-2021, 02:37 PM)Evangelium Wrote:
Quote:When God created the world He commanded each tree to bear fruit after its kind; and even so He bids Christians,--the living trees of His Church,--to bring forth fruits of devotion, each one according to his kind and vocation.

I recommend his book Introduction to the Devout Life.

I've read the book a long time back, and yes, this quote is found in several English editions, but it is not what the original French suggests, and extracting from this this modern personalist notion of a vocation is just not the correct reading.

Rather from Part 1, Chapter 3 we read : "Dieu, en créant le monde, commanda aux plantes de porter leurs fruits, chacune selon son espèce. Ainsi commande-t-il aux chrétiens, qui sont les plantes vivantes de son Église, de produire des fruits de dévotion, chacun selon sa qualité et son état." Literally this says "each according to his capacity and his state," meaning one's State in Life, which is not a vocation, properly, but the prudent choice one has made to reach this State, or the circumstances which have established it.

In the same English editions, we read one's devotional practices "must be modified according to the strength, the calling, and the duties of each individual" but that is, again, not what the French says, and clearly is interpreted. "[I]l faut encore accommoder la pratique de la dévotion aux forces, aux affaires et aux devoirs de chaque particulier," says nothing of a "calling".

The title of that chapter is "Devotion is suitable to every Vocation and Profession" and while he does later in the chapter use "vocation" in the wider sense, St Francis de Sales never speaks in this chapter about these "vocations" as callings emanating from a special calling of God, which is why he likewise speaks of "state" and "profession" and other such terms.

In fact, the whole chapter is about how one actions need to support his chosen state in life, and not about how God "calls" people to this state.

So, while I am happy you have provided these quotes, from these alone we cannot say that St Francis de Sales was teaching the concept that John Paul II or Mr Grisez was.
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#28
St. Francis de Sales is widely acknowledged as the champion of the lay vocation, which God wills for the majority of people.  

I think you are relying too much on semantics.  If God wills the lay vocation in some form for certain people, then He is calling them to that vocation.  It's all about the will of God.  He has numbered the hairs of our heads.  Surely He cares what we do with our lives and has a will in that regard.

Your position seems to be that God has no positive will in regard to our lives if we are laypeople.  It is a kind of Deism.
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#29
And God is like Tom Brady, but better
he can call an audible on the line
i don't know who said it earlier about entering a monastery if he can't find a wife
before he hits old age at 30
ok, clearly you want to find a wife
so go ahead and do it
trust me, you can find a wife
a religious vocation taken on as a sort of second-best, life gave me lemons so I'll make lemonades
is not a vocation, but a distraction
may i suggest a secular, non-religious dating web site
just don't be crazy about the religion
and you'll do all right
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#30
(03-18-2021, 07:00 PM)Evangelium Wrote: St. Francis de Sales is widely acknowledged as the champion of the lay vocation, which God wills for the majority of people.

But you've provided no sourcing for that, and the two quotes you did provide do not support the personalist notion of a unique and personal "calling" for each of us.

The one quote you misuse (along with pretty much everyone online using it) since it was specifically about a religious vocation. The other you cite does not really mean what you suggest.

I'm happy to accept what you claim, but you need to demonstrate the truth of that claim.

(03-18-2021, 07:00 PM)Evangelium Wrote: I think you are relying too much on semantics.

Well, theology demands precision in language, and if "vocation" is an analogous term, there is a serious danger in not worrying about precisely what is meant when we use the term.

For instance, if God has a unique and personal "vocation" for each of us, and knowing that God's Will is unchanging and has been from all eternity, then that would mean one of two things :

1. That there is one unique thing God expected of us, and if we do not do this precisely, then we will certainly go to Hell. So, if I were meant to be a priest, but instead decided to become a plumber, then I'm hosed. This is basically Calvinism.

or

2. That there is one unique thing God expected of us, and since we cannot thwart the will of God, then whatever I end up doing is God's will for me. This is essentially Universalism or Lutheranism, depending on how one approaches other issues.

So, yes. Terminology or "semantics" matters, most especially in theology.

(03-18-2021, 07:00 PM)Evangelium Wrote: If God wills the lay vocation in some form for certain people, then He is calling them to that vocation.

But that begs the question. Is there a "lay vocation" in any proper sense? You say there is, but when asked to demonstrate it, have cited quotes which do not suggest this at all, or modern authors whose orthodoxy is extremely dubious, and seem to say that this "lay vocation" idea is something new, suggesting the Church got it badly wrong for 2000 years.

(03-18-2021, 07:00 PM)Evangelium Wrote: It's all about the will of God.  He has numbered the hairs of our heads.  Surely He cares what we do with our lives and has a will in that regard.

Who said God does not? Certainly not I.

Nevertheless, to put all to the "will of God" without the necessary distinction easily turns us  into Nominalists or Calvinists. We need, rather,  to be Realists who see there is a balanced interaction between God's Will and the Free Will He has given us by which we are meant to choose the means which we think best achieve our goal, which is ultimately Him.

(03-18-2021, 07:00 PM)Evangelium Wrote: Your position seems to be that God has no positive will in regard to our lives if we are laypeople.  It is almost a kind of Deism.

That is not my position at all.
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