Monday, May 23, 2011

No "Cookie Cutter" Vocations-Catholics, take note!

In the Catholic faith, we recognize everyone's life choice as a "vocation," from the Latin vocare, "to call." While used to describe a call to priesthood or religious life (nuns, monks), this term is also used to describe a call to married life or the single state. Regardless of the choice, these represent the states in life in which an individual can best serve God. Of course within these vocations, God's call is unique to each person. Not all priests, monks and nuns do the same things, not all single people do the same things. What bothers me is that people often believe that married people must do the same things.

I've read too many Catholic and Christian sources that proclaim a woman's duty to stay at home, have a bunch of babies, homeschool and submit to her man. Meanwhile, the man is expected to provide for all the family's needs. Of course, these are not all inherently bad. I know people who do well with big families. Sometimes, homeschooling is best (and may allow kids to go further academically) and, in many cases, it may be better for at least one parent to stay at home (day care prices being what they are). The problem arises when people proclaim these as expected roles and duties for all husbands and wives.

God created us male and female. Yes, female means our bodies are designed to bear children and to provide care after their born (yes, boobs are for food, get over it, America). However, God also gave brains to women and may call a married woman to use them in His service, whether as a teacher, a doctor, a politician, an economist or what have you. God also gave hearts to men, so that they may fulfill His call to love. As such, maybe a man is called to stay at home with his children, or to take a job that is more about nurturing (nursing, teaching, social work) than about money. Maybe God wants a family to only have a couple of children, so that they can best love them and give time and resources to them. Maybe God wants a family to put their kids in public school, so that the kids can get the best education to serve Him (not all public schools are crappy) and learn to love and respect people who are different from them while also living out their faith. Maybe God wants a family to travel.

Just because something is good doesn't mean something is good for everyone. In fact, persuading others to follow a cookie cutter path can cause much damage. Rather than direct their talents to God and His Kingdom, couples are encouraged to conform to an image, found nowhere in Scripture or the Catechism, at the cost of their sanity, finances, physical health (for mothers), and possibly their own faith. Further, to bury the talents God has given you are a horrendous crime in Scripture and Jesus Himself had very harsh words for those who chose to. We work to build a Kingdom, not an image.

1 comment:

  1. I like this point, love. I agree, God did not call men to always be the breadwinners and women to be barefoot and prego or in the kitchen forever. Infact, I think the world (and religion along with it) has regressed in that area. 5000 years ago, the Suman's (prob spelled wrong) held woman in a higher esteem and with more independence and reverence than we saw in the 1950s. However, I do believe that part of the problem is like what we were talking about the other week. Everyone is hot-to-trot to give their opinion and how their way is the only way to do things. People, and societies, have forgotten that not everybody can do things the same way. It doesn't work that way. I like your point, I'd love to see it developed a little further as to why it is now the way that it is, though. I feel that it could be a great discussion.