Marriage is a Vocation of Love and Service

A Reflection for St. Valentine's Day

I have always felt called by God to service, and through volunteering and work I have been blessed to be able to respond to that call.  So when, as a young adult, I started to really think about my vocation in life, I knew that God was continuing to call me to service.  But what might that look like? 

For a long time I thought that the only way I could truly serve God would be through living a single celibate life.  Many people suggested I should become a nun, but I never felt that call. Maybe God knew I wouldn’t be able to handle the vow of obedience. 😊  But on the other hand, I couldn’t see how marriage, loving another human being above all other humans, would leave room for loving God.  I guess I was placing the vocations of priesthood and consecrated life higher than the vocation of marriage.

That commonly believed hierarchy of vocations is wrong, however.  The vocation of marriage is just as much a call to love God and love and serve others as are the vocations of priesthood and consecrated life. 

In the Sacrament of Marriage each spouse is called to love and serve the other.  Through their life together they are called to support each other, bring out the best in one another, and work together toward the Kingdom of Heaven.

Those living out the vocation of married life are also called to serve others.  First, they are an example for others of the love God has for humanity.  Love within a marriage should mirror God’s love for us; it should be unconditional, forgiving and everlasting. This sounds rather daunting, and we know there are times in every couple’s marriage when they fall short of this ideal of love.  But just like God’s love for humanity, married couples are called to forgive each other, to try again, to come back together. 

In addition to being an example, married couples are called to serve others together.  What a blessing to have the support of your spouse as you volunteer in the community, or donate to those in need.  How wonderful to share the love you have for each other with those who may not have the blessing of love in their lives. 

It has taken me a long time to come to understand Marriage as the Sacrament and Vocation it is.  I am grateful for God’s patience and the man He brought into my life to show me how wonderful this vocation can be. 

On this St. Valentine’s Day, may all couples be blessed by God’s love in their relationship,
and may all those still discerning their vocation be open to all the possibilities,
including Marriage as a Vocation of Love and Service.