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Faith wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Why can't a woman who is divorced become a Consecrated Virgin when she has not dated or been with any man since her ex— divorced her?

Faith

  { Why can't a woman who is divorced become a Consecrated Virgin when she has not dated any man? }

Eric replied:

Dear Faith,

I am not sure of the exact rules involved, but I can think of two reasons why this might be so.

  1. One, they are not virgins. That's the simplest explanation.
  2. Two, they need an annulment.

I know this is true for candidates to the priesthood. This establishes that they were never truly married in the eyes of the Church.

Someone who is merely divorced is still, in the eyes of the Church, presumed to be married. Only when they have an annulment are they considered to be single and free to be consecrated.

Eric

Faith replied:

Hello Eric,

Thank you for answering that question. I do have one other question for you if you wouldn't mind answering it. I was wondering:

  • Seeing I am divorced and wasn't married in the Catholic Church, how can I serve and devote myself to Jesus?

Faith

Eric replied:

Faith,

The idea that you can only serve God if you are a priest or a religious is not in keeping with Second Vatican Council. It's called clericalism.

Everyone should be serving God and devote themselves to Jesus, whether they are a priest, religious, or layperson. That's what it means to be a Christian; it's part of our baptismal calling!

First of all, we serve Jesus by following Him and His Gospel. This means seeking to know His Will and doing it. His Will includes chiefly His commandments but also includes whatever individual plans He may have for our lives. This might, for you, include such things as:

  • helping the poor through volunteer work
  • going on a missionary trip
  • evangelizing your friends and neighbors, or
  • even just doing your job, all for the greater glory of God.

We at AskACatholic.com are all laypeople, and this is our way of serving the Lord. Consult the teachings of St. Josemaria Escriva (who founded Opus Dei) for an excellent example of how to serve the Lord as a layperson. I also personally recommend studying the life of layman Blessed Pier-Giorgio Frassati. There is even a culture that prevails in some places where the priests and religious are seen as the church, as if She (the Church) were differentiated from the laypeople.

This is a profound error.

You can devote yourself to Jesus by living a life of prayer according to your state in life. All followers of Jesus should have a daily prayer discipline. Being a Christian means being a friend of God — and you can't really be friends with someone unless you talk with them. Catholicism has many ways for laypeople to be devoted to Jesus — we call them devotions.

Examples are the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and the Rosary. If you really want to pray like the consecrated religious do, pray the Liturgy of the Hours. You can also become a third order member of a religious order — these are laypeople who share in a certain way in the life of a religious order.

  • The idea that priests and religious are the ones who serve the Lord and are devoted to Him while the laypeople just — I don't know, do what?
  • What's the purpose of the laypeople then — to hunt, to shoot, to entertain?

This is the title of an excellent book you might enjoy reading. The Church needs us in the world to leaven it, to make it holy — certainly, the priests aren't going to do it. It's up to us.

Laypeople — the Church would look pretty silly without them!

Eric

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