Through our baptism, each of us receives a special vocational calling from God. What is God calling you to? Priest or deacon? Perhaps consecrated religious life? Married or single life? We continue our weeklong focus on vocations in honor of National Vocations Awareness Week with an emphasis on marriage today.
The Most Reverend Boyea, Bishop of Lansing, Michigan states in Faithmag.com: “We have a vocation crisis in America. This is not what you think. It is a vocation crisis in marriage. Many are no longer getting married — and too many do not see their marriage as a sacrament, a means of grace for themselves and their families. Yet marriage and family are the natural heart of our society and the spiritual core of our church.”
Do you view your spouse as a sacrament — a visible sign of invisible grace? The Church teaches that marriage is a Christian vocation involving a call from God and a response from two people who promise to build, with the help of divine grace, a lifelong, intimate, and sacramental partnership of love and life. Your spouse is a unique gift from God, intended only for you, to pour out His grace in your life and in your heart because nobody can reach into your heart like your spouse can.
However, that comes with a responsibility; that’s the vocation part. You are meant to be that same channel of grace for your spouse. Your job is to sanctify him/her by giving back all that you receive; that’s the divine deal.
Let me give St. Basil voice here: “If you live alone, whose feet will you wash?”
Now, one does not need to be married to be Basil’s foot washer, of course. But marriage is a stunningly exclusive call to sacramentalized foot washing, a lovely ego-slaying martyrdom that crowns its victims in a most intimate way with this truth: Christ is only to be had in loving the other whom we can see, and by loving them unto death.
When I die one day, I am absolutely convinced that my appearance before the ‘dread judgment seat of Christ’ will at core be about my wife, and how everything else in my life (children, work, etc.) served/didn’t serve the covenant-demands of my first love. My sacramental vocation is not to be married to Patti. My sacramental vocation is Patti, and her vocation is me (read full post here.)
Singer-songwriter Marshall Crenshaw summed all this up nicely in his 1982 hit “Someday, Someway”:
After all you’ve done for me
All I really want to do
Is take the love you’ve brought my way
And give it all right back to you.
Yeah . . . that’s the vocation of marriage in a nutshell.