Marriage is a vocation in the Church. It is a concrete way of fulfilling the fundamental vocation to love and be a saint. In the context of married life, Christian married couples manifest and grow to holiness by supporting one another in grace all through life with faithful love, being open to the gift of children and training them in Christian faith and morals. They are sent as light to the world, that is, in their work and in the ordinary circumstances of social and family life, they behave according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and so manifest Christ to others.
Being single or unmarried as a layperson is a specific vocation within the Church. It is a state of life in which a person manifests, and grows in the fundamental calling to love. Single lay Christians live their discipleship within the Church using the means Christ gave to his Church including Christian doctrines, the sacraments, the commandment of love and the life of prayer. Like married couples, they are sent as light to the world, that is, in their work and in the ordinary circumstances of social and family life, they behave according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and so manifest Christ to others.
After a process of discernment and formation, they become members of a religious order or religious congregation like the Franciscans, the Dominicans, the Carmelites, the Missionaries of Charity and so on, through a rite of religious profession. They are called to perfection of Christian love by “practising chastity in celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom, and poverty and obedience.” They live in community and their call to mission is fulfilled by serving God and the people either in contemplative life in the cloister or through active life of apostolic outreach in the most diverse situations of our modern world.
After a long process of discernment and formation, they receive the sacrament of Holy Orders making them bishops, priests or deacons. Assisted by priests and deacons, the bishops continue the mission of the apostles in the Church. Their call to holiness and mission is lived out in their service for the people by teaching, divine worship and pastoral governance. Thanks to the sacrament of Holy Orders, bishops and priests act in the exercise of their ministry in the name and person of Christ. Deacons minister in the service of word, liturgy and charity.
Lismore NSW 2480
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