Teaching Healthy Marriage
Growing up, I received most of my education from Catholic schools, thanks to the sacrifice of my parents. Each year, we would celebrate Vocations Week and have guest speakers come in and talk about vocations.
There was only one problem.
In 10 years, I never heard from a married couple. Yes, we do have a shortage of Priests and Religious, and we do need to invite young people to consider the call. However, we need to also recognize that the majority of Catholics are called to the Married Life.
It is plain to see that, even in the Catholic Church, we have another type of vocations crisis. Our divorce rate is almost even with the general population. We are not getting the message out about the importance and the reality of the married life.
As a Church, we need to look at how we are teaching about marriage. We need to look at the message that we are sending. As married people, much like Priests and Religious, we need to radiate joy. How can we not?
How can we not be joyous that we found the one single person, out of all of human history, that is our perfectly suited mate? That is not to say that they always appear to us as our perfect mate, but we must acknowledge Divine Providence. Two completely different lives converging in the same place at the same point in time cannot be anything but Providence.
We must refocus our efforts in Vocational Instruction. Parents must take the lead as the prime educators. We must be talking to all youth, at appropriate levels, about vocations. When kids are “playing Mass,” they are open to hearing about the goods of a vocation to the Priesthood or Religious Life. When they are “playing House,” they are open to hearing about the goods of a vocation to the Married Life.
Choosing one’s vocation in life, discerning the call, is enormously difficult. I remember driving with my wife one day and saying, “I’m so glad that I finally know what my vocation is in life.” It is true, the mystery and pressure were gone. I had found the answer.
We must support our young people in their discernment and we must take every opportunity to give them quality information that they might choose well.