We often hear that we have a vocation crisis in our Church. When we here this we automatically think of the priesthood. It is true that we do not have enough men answering the call to become priests and that there is not enough of them to meet the need. Without priests to consecrate we have no Eucharist. So goes the priest, so goes the Eucharist.
But the priesthood is not the only vocation in crisis. The diaconate is also a vocation. Deacons are consecrated servants of God. Can you have too many men answering the call to serve? If your diocese is like mine most of your deacons are getting up there in years and are serving much longer than they should be.
The consecrated life is another vocation people aren’t answering like they used to. Catholic hospitals and schools used to be staffed by the nuns in their habits. During the cultural revolution of the 1960’s and 1970’s nuns lost their habits and shortly to follow the Church lost many of their nuns. Catholic education is now taught mostly by secular teachers, many whom aren’t even Catholic. The vocation to the consecrated life is also in crisis.
There is one vocation that is in greater crisis than any other. This is the vocation of sacramental marriage. The crisis in secular marriage is that the culture is demanding that anyone should be permitted to marry anyone they wish and that this marriage should be accepted by everyone no matter what their personal beliefs may be. Sacramental marriage is not a right, it is a vocation. The call from God comes first. If God does not call one to a sacrament the sacrament does not exist no matter where a couple gets married.
A secular marriage is a contract, an exchange of goods and services for a time. A sacramental marriage is a vocation where we have a total exchange of self for life. God does not call everyone to the sacrament of marriage. The first thing a couple who are contemplating marriage should ask themselves is, “Is God calling us to this or is this something we want for ourselves?”
A sacramental marriage is a microcosm of the Holy Trinity. God is the head of every sacramental marriage. The husband and the wife work together to do the Will of the Father, that is, to be fruitful and multiply. Far too many marriages today start with two people who choose to take a sacrament that they were not called to and then live that sacrament for purposes other than what the sacrament was designed for. A sacramental marriage is the fundamental building block of society. God’s purpose for marriage is to fill heaven. Man’s purpose for marriage is to raise the next generation, or at least it used to be.
Knowing this, the devil has done everything he can to attack sacramental marriage. If sacramental marriage is destroyed it greatly limits the amount of children that are born and slows the growth of heaven. As goes marriage, so goes society and when society falls the creation of Saints goes with it. When sacramental marriage is not fruitful we have fewer men available to become priests. When sacramental marriage is not fruitful we have fewer people to become deacons and enter consecrated religious life. When sacramental marriage is not fruitful we have fewer students to fill Catholic schools. When sacramental marriage is not fruitful we have fewer people to answer every other vocation. Sacramental marriage is not only the fundamental building block of society but it is the primary building block of God’s Kingdom.
Pray for all vocations. We need more people to hear and answer God’s call in their lives. Pray especially for the vocation of marriage. Pray for marriages to be open to life and to God’s command to be fruitful and multiply. Without people answering this vocation there ceases the need for the others.