Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Will you help them or will you spit in their faces?
I usually have two reactions when I read the com-boxes of articles about single Catholics: tears and rage.
First, there are many, many single Catholics who are suffering with the Cross of being single. They have discerned that marriage is their vocation, and yet they are not married. They’ve watched family, friends, and acquaintances who are not devout Catholics marry in the Church. They’ve wondered, “Why them, Lord, and not me?” but there is no direct answer. They try their best to fit into the universal Church. They serve in various capacities. Some are shy; some are outgoing. They work as hard as they can. They cling to the Cross. They console themselves with the fact that Jesus was single, and he must have experienced some of the ostracization that being single can bring.
Statistically, married men and women are better off financially, emotionally, and physically.* Single men die younger than married men. Single women experience depression in greater numbers. So yes, being single is more difficult than being married. I cry and pray when I read their stories and hear of their pain.
Then, I rage. Inevitably, there is always a comment or two (or three or four) that says something to the effect of, “If you want to be happy, why don’t you actually go the Mass, stop looking at porn, serve the Church, and stop worrying about yourself!!! Maybe then you’d be married instead of single and bitter. Don’t expect the Church to provide your social life. And why don’t you try chastity for a change?”
How rude to assume the worst of others! How terrible to paint everyone as bleak sinners who aren’t even trying to live holy lives. How exactly does that comment build up the Kingdom of God? How does it bring Christ’s peace and hope to people who are truly suffering?
If a married woman is having a hard time in her marriage, does it help to write, “If you want to be happy, how about you try daily Mass for a change? And maybe stop complaining and serve your husband and kids like you vowed to do? Ya sinner.”
To the husband struggling with NFP, “How about you stop lusting after your wife???? Try marital chastity for a change! Get some self-control.”
I don’t understand why Catholics are so vexed to discover that the single men and women in our Church are struggling. Pray for them. Engage them. Support them. Stop with the snark and the holier-than-thou approaches. People are suffering. Their Cross is heavy. Will you help them or will you spit in their faces?
This post was prompted by the com-box of Jennifer Fulwiler’s most recent article, “Single Catholics: The World Needs Your Witness.”
*Source: Being Single in the universal Church