Saturday Symposium: Frameworks for Understanding Celibate Vocations

Good morning everyone. We’re off enjoying a quick fall getaway together. We appreciate the chance to be somewhere with a different pace of life, even as we’ll be back home tomorrow. We’ve been praying for many of our readers this week. Please don’t hesitate to let us know how we can be praying for you.

Let’s get on with our weekly Saturday Symposium question:

How this works: It’s very simple. We ask a multi-part question related to a topic we’ve blogged about during the past week or are considering blogging about in the near future, and you, our readers, share your responses in the comments section. Feel free to be open, reflective, and vulnerable…and to challenge us. But as always, be mindful of the comment policy that ends each of our posts. Usually, we respond fairly quickly to each comment, but in order to give you time to think, come back, add more later if you want, and discuss with other readers, we will wait until after Monday to respond to comments on Saturday Symposium questions.

This week’s Saturday Symposium question: This week, we’ve been talking about some overlooked dimensions of celibate vocations. Sarah shared about how socioeconomic status impacts our life together as celibates, and Lindsey discussed the role of caregiving. We also took a look at historic examples of celibate vocations such as the Beguines and children raised in monasteries. Looking at celibacy historically, it’s inaccurate to dichotomize celibacy by suggesting that people either receive the spiritual gift of celibacy or they are forced into it by oppressive religious systems. We’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on: Are there ways of discussing celibacy and marriage that respect people’s abilities to make choices (that may or may not involve “gifts”) within their specific circumstances? What kinds of circumstances might compel a person to follow a particular vocational pathway? How do we avoid dichotomizing the reasons why people embrace vocations? How have you seen people discern how God is calling them to live their lives, especially when God seems to be calling people towards lives that they don’t appear to have clear, natural, and innate abilities to live?

We look forward to reading your responses. If you’re concerned about having your comment publicly associated with your name, please consider using the Contact Us page to submit your comment. We can post it under a pseudonym (i.e. John says, “your comment”) or summarize your comment in our own words (i.e. One person observed…). Participating in this kind of public dialogue can be risky, and we want to do what we can to protect you even if that means we preserve your anonymity. Have a wonderful weekend!


Sarah and Lindsey

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