The blessings of this Parish Family continue to support and encourage all of our community, both those of us within the walls of our church as well as the world around us. It is the calling we all have a Catholics to take our faith and turn it into positive, loving action. In fact, there is a specific word that is used to describe this call: vocation. When you hear the word “vocation”, many of us immediately believe it means the calling to become a priest, or sister, brother or deacon. However, that is no longer the full definition of the word. All of us have a vocation, a calling from God. God speaks to all of us, asking us to live our life in His name and take that vocation into the world to make it a better place.
St. John is full of people living out their vocations, in ministry, in homes, and in their lives. I hope you all feel that calling from God and learn more about your own vocations. Our new Vocations Ministry will be actively engaging our community to educate us all on vocations and how we can all take an active role in our church and our world. In particular, there are four major categories of vocations: Priesthood, Religious Life, Married Life, and Single Life.
Let’s focus on one this week, Married Life. Many of us have chosen that vocation, but may not have realized just what a vocation it is. In his Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of Love, Our Holy Father illustrates just how important marriage is to our faith and our future:
The sacrament of marriage is not a social convention, an empty ritual or merely the outward sign of a commitment. The sacrament is a gift given for the sanctification and salvation of the spouses, since “their mutual belonging is a real representation, through the sacramental sign, of the same relationship between Christ and the Church. The married couple are therefore a permanent reminder for the Church of what took place on the cross; they are for one another and for their children witnesses of the salvation in which they share through the sacrament”. Marriage is a vocation, inasmuch as it is a response to a specific call to experience conjugal love as an imperfect sign of the love between Christ and the Church. Consequently, the decision to marry and to have a family ought to be the fruit of a process of vocational discernment.
There are challenges in married life, to be sure. If anyone is attempting to be an “ideal marriage”, they are fooling themselves. Instead, we are called in our vocation to love deeply, ask for forgiveness when we do wrong and give out that same forgiveness when requested, respect and honor our family members, and be open to the life that springs from our unions. It is where we teach the future generations how those same actions should be applied in their own relationships, both personal and in society. Love, honor, and cherish.