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Theology of the Body Lecture Series Lent 2012 St Patricks Catholic Church

Talk III: Single Blessedness A Vocation to Be Present to the Lord

OPENING PRAYER The Lord is gracious and merciful. The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness. The LORD is good to all and compassionate toward all his works. R. The Lord is gracious and merciful. The LORD is faithful in all his words and holy in all his works. The LORD lifts up all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. R. The Lord is gracious and merciful. The LORD is just in all his ways and holy in all his works. The LORD is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth. R. The Lord is gracious and merciful. Collect (from todays Liturgy) O God, who reward the merits of the just and offer pardon to sinners who do penance, have mercy, we pray, on those who call upon you, that the admission of our guilt may serve to obtain your pardon for our sins. Though our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. INTRODUCTION If you say the word, single, the popular mind immediately would immediately think of someone who is available, not yet married, or worse, that it has come to mean one is sexually active. In the mind of Christ, single means something else. Go ahead and look for the word in the Bible or Church documents: 1 Chronicles 12:38 Deuteronomy 28:12 Document on the laity: On the Church: All the rest of Israel were of a single mind And the LORD would single him out from all the tribes of Israel All branches of a single vine A single people, a people which acknowledges him in truth and holiness

We see here that it tends to the meaning of being focussed or unified and even set apart. It is only St Paul in his discussion on single life in 1 Corinthians 7 that he says,

To the unmarried I say that it is well for them to remain single as I do. (v. 8) Let her remain single or else be reconciled to her husband --and that the husband should not divorce his wife. (v. 11) Only here does he mean it in a similar way that we are used to hearing about in the world around us, however, here it also does mean focussed on the Lord or set apart for him. There are many ways we could approach a reflection on the vocation of what has started to be named recently, Single Blessedness, but we will approach it as having single-minded focus on Jesus Christ, a vocation of being present to the Lord. All too often even within the Church people would say that being single is like being suspended in gelatin, someone who has not yet found their focus or their vocation, hasnt found a man yet, or they missed the boat and have grown two old for marriage. First lets start off saying the obvious: the single life is the most misunderstood vocation there is in the Church. An old retired bishop used to get very upset when someone would say about his sister, She didnt have a vocation. She was single. This might be because vocations are mistakenly or superficially defined often by what someone has or does. A married woman has babies. A religious sister has vows. A priest says mass. A married man provides for his family. Even our theology may be presented this way. You might hear that a priest or religious, or even a married person has found a vocation, but a single person? Many would say that it is a state of life that a person is in because they just havent found the right lady or man. What is needed is a recalibration or redefinition of the Christian vocation by who we are in Christ. This is what the Second Vatican Council and the Pontificate of Blessed Pope John Paul II attempted to do. In this light, a priest lives in Persona Christi Capitis et Pastores, in the Person of Christ, Head and Shepherd. This phrase is mentioned over thirty times in Blessed Pope John Paul IIs document on Priesthood, Pastores Dabo Vobis. A religious sister is a Spouse of Christ, or a Spouse of the Word, a rich identity that is being recovered in recent years to preserve the vocation of consecrated women from being reduced to social work or merely defined by actions. SINGLE LIFE: A GENERAL OVERVIEW The lay vocation comes from the Sacrament of Baptism where we are immersed (baptizein in Greek means immersion) in the Most Holy Trinity and communion with him. Therefore a single lay person is called first and foremost to be instead of do, to be present to the Lord. The baptised vocation has : -To become a saint! To be holy as God is holy (1 Peter 1:16) The call to sanctity is also a call to sanity. Here there are two dimensions that are in constant tension: humanity and divinity. Sanctity means imitation of Christ (imitatio Christi) and the following of Jesus Christ (sequitur Christi), true God and true man. Therefore we need to become divinized in his divinity and humanized in his humanity. Some use the call to holiness as an excuse to be off-balanced or extreme, yet we know that the perfection of the natural or

moral virtues means a certain moderation. The expression, virtus in medio stat, (virtue lies in the middle) clarifies this. We have to come to a certain integrity in our humanity, living a healthy life of rest, recreation, and social interaction. Our age is very dehumanizing. We need to humanize it by allowing the Gospel to leaven and form us in a very full human existence with the development of art, science, culture and leisure, the development of our personalities, a healthy and appropriate sense of humour, of sorrow, and of empathy. There needs to a be a serious approach to the intellectual life, understanding the value of study, a view of social and political life that is something to contend with, tha our contemporaries may find embedded Gospel values to lift up society. On the other hand, in charity there is no middle, no moderation, no limit, and since charity animates all the other virtues, we must be careful that we do not allow ourselves a kind of spiritual excuse for mediocrity. Balance does not mean luke-warmness. Authentic sanctity will always form our humanity and call it to something higher. To become divinized the Catholic spiritual patrimony suggests the following: -Frequent reception of the Sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist and Penance -Devout meditation on the Word of God, or lectio divina -Marian devotion, that is not only practiced in a practical way through the Rosary, Scapular, or other form of devotion but also one that is interior, tenderly trustful, constant, holy, disinterested. For a particular potency in this regard turn to St Louis De Montforts book, True Devotion to Mary to read about Consecration to Jesus through Mary -Close accompaniment of the Magisterium of the Church, the Holy Fathers writings and directives -Graced Friendships with others who are trying to become holy -Service of the poor, sick, elderly, and others in works of mercy -Ascesis and custody of the senses through mortification & fasting -Spiritual direction, retreats or pilgrimages, and other things in keeping with the spiritual patrimony of the Church -To be a contemplative - The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that we all have a Universal Call to Prayer (#2566). Every single baptised person is called to be, as Blessed Mother Teresa says, a contemplative in action. The best teachers of this are the doctors of the Church: St Thrse of Lisieux, St Teresa of Avila, and St John of the Cross, probably best in that order. They have insights into life of prayer to go a route that is more secure, easier, and quicker because they have cleared the path before us.

-To be a missionary, sent into the Vineyard of the Lord. You go too. The call is a concern not only of Pastors, clergy, and men and women religious. The call is addressed to everyone: lay people as well are personally called by the Lord, from whom they receive a mission on behalf of the Church and the world. (Christifidelis Laici - Bl Pope John Paul IIs document on the Laity) Our mission flows from the Word of God: -Proclaimed in the Sacred Liturgy, it always gives us a weekly and daily mission. It is there that we come to understand what God is asking of us in this moment. -From the Sacred Magisterium and Bishops in union with him -In the providential happenings, the life events, of the day and in the news events The lay vocation has as its proper focus, the sanctification of the temporal order, to bring about the reign of Jesus Christ on earth as it is in heaven. Today, there are more fruitful mission fields, or arenas upon which we will have a very fruitful harvest: Conscience- We must live the teaching of the Second Vatican Council to end the dictatorship of relativism that sits upon the throne of many consciences like a tyrant, destroying the potency of the Catholic faith, and making many people who sit in the pews, unbeknownst to themselves, worshipers of relativism. The teach of Dignitatis Humanae, the Declaration on Human Freedom is: "This one true religion subsists in the Catholic and Apostolic Church, to which the Lord Jesus committed the duty of spreading it abroad among all men... "On their part, all men are bound to seek the truth, especially in what concerns God and His Church, and to embrace the truth they come to know, and to hold fast to it... "Government is to assume the safeguard [NOT VIOLATOR] of the religious freedom of all its citizens, in an effective manner, by just laws and by other appropriate means... "The disciple is bound by a grave obligation toward Christ, his Master, ever more fully to understand the truth received from Him, faithfully to proclaim it, and vigorously to defend it. To sum up: we owe each conscience He for whom it was made CHRIST! We are bound in conscience to proclaim Christ as the Truth for which all men are created and bound to follow once they see it, especially in the proclamation of the lives of the disciples. N.B. THIS is the real teaching of the Second Vatican Council. No one can say in the name of conscience to be a relativist catholic, worshiping the idol of self in place of the only King who should sit on the throne of man's inmost sanctuary, Jesus Christ the Lord.

The violation of the conscience which the Obama administration attempts in its HHS healthcare, in which it seeks to force Catholic institutions to go against the natural law in providing abortions, contraceptives, and sterilizations is not fighting the Catholic Church. Let's be clear: Obama fights God. Bring it! We know who is going to win. Family Life - There needs to be a clear proclamation of marriage as a one-man one woman covenanted union which is meant for the procreation and upbringing of children. Same-sex unions can never match the same psychological health, wholeness, and blessing of marriage between one man and one woman. For more info, read here. The UK attempting to redefine marriage between same sex partners is ludicrous and the first consultation showed this. 70% said no and 78% said it's not a priority. However, the government has discarded the first consultation for redefining same-sex marriages and made up a new three month long one, or they need to "redefine consultations before they redefine marriage." Clearly this is so they can try to shake the tree until the fruit they want will fall from it. Not going to happen. Time for Catholics to sign the petition to stop this madness and write their MP's. Please do this now if you are reading this. It is so easy. Just a single email with a few lines. Click here for a directory. There has to be a very clear proclamation from every Catholic Church and the life of every Catholic about the culture of death and the lies of contraception, abortion, sterilization, in vitro fertilization, same-sex unions, cohabitation, and everything that attempts to present itself as a legitimate form of family life that is really the seed of destruction of human civilization. Digital Arena- You can watch live the Holy Father on a digital device. You can know the teachings of the Church in a few clicks. You now have no excuse to not know the Church's teachings. You are not alone. There is so much help for you and so much encouragement online to preach the Gospel. The Holy Father said in his Message for World Communications Day a few years ago that especially priests, but all need "to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources (images, videos, animated features, blogs, websites) which, alongside traditional means, can open up broad new vistas for dialogue, evangelization and catechesis. Using new communication technologies, priests can introduce people to the life of the Church and help our contemporaries to discover the face of Christ." Social Teachings of the Church - The teachings of Christ about economics, politics, and civic life need to be lived and shared by Catholic to the world that is in desperate need of reordering. The collapse of the economic order is because it is now based on

materialism and greed, when it needs to be based on charity and solidarity. There is an excellent online resource, the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. Read it! -The Call to Communion - Now more than ever the Church needs to move in the way of communion precisely because it is the very witness that our world needs the most. In a time of broken relationships we are called to be men and women of communion, of friendship and solidarity. It has been said that the first Christian millennium lived out the words of Christ, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. (Matthew 22:37), for this was the rise of all the monastic orders which focussed on the holiness of the person. The second Christian millennium witnessed the words, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark 12:31), and this was when the works of charity of the Church blossomed such as schools, hospitals, orphanages, and so on. In the third Christian millennium, it is clear there is a call to see holiness no longer as merely personal, or merely the perfection of charity to neighbor, but a matter of loving one another well in the words of Christ, love one another; even as I have loved you (John 13:34). OK, BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR ME? You might have already heard this overview of the lay vocation a few times, and you are probably still asking, but where does this leave ME? What is my way of living out the single lay vocation? Here let us repeat the fact that it is a vocation to be present to Christ. It is precisely in living out the call to holiness, mission, contemplation, and communion that we present ourselves to him. We know Jesus as the one who reveals the Father, for he said, he who has seen me, has seen the Father (John 14:9), and so he is a kind of window to God, but if we look at him from a different angle we see that he is also a mirror, to reveal who we are to ourselves. The truth is that only in the mystery of the incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light. (Vatican II on the Church in the Modern World) What is YOUR vocation? Jesus! He IS your vocation. Be present to him and he will be present to you in your thoughts, words, actions, and even your life decisions, your vocation. If you follow him every day in small things he will one day ask you to follow him in great things, i.e. larger decisions. Simply do this, ask God what is it that he wants for you today and allow him to lead you by living a holy life and being present to him. Then the excitement begins. So where every you are in the single life, a teen-ager, a middle-ager, not so young ager, whether you find yourself looking for a relationship, looking for a mission, discerning priestly or religious life, committed, promised, engaged, betrothed, separated from your spouse and living a single life although still married, single mother or father, happy, unhappy, healthy or hurt, widowed, living or dying - YOU ARE CALLED TO BE PRESENT TO CHRIST! All too often we think something monumental has to happen to us to reveal our vocation, like spilling the milk and it coming out in form of a cross or meeting the

right lady or man and hear a voice saying, this is the one for you. However, much of the time God does not relate that way with us because he wants us to develop our freedom. Many times the answer to the question, Lord what is it that you want of me? might be silence, as if God smiles at you and allows you to hear clearly that he is not going to answer you. In this case, which I find is frequent in the lay vocation one ought to hear in the silence of God: My child, I have given you a mind. Use it. I am delighted when you gift yourself freely to the good, which I know you can perceive with the mind I gave you. Exercising your mind and will, freely gifting yourself and growing in maturity greatly delights me. For God, created man in the beginning, and he left him in the power of his own inclination. If you will, you can keep the commandments, and to act faithfully is a matter of your own choice. He has placed before you fire and water: stretch out your hand for whichever you wish. Before a man are life and death, and whichever he chooses will be given to him. (Sirach 15:14-17) Sometimes people ask me as a priest questions which I refuse to answer because I know that God would never answer them, but desire a person to use their head and chose wisely. What stock should I buy? What outfit should I wear? What should I eat? For some it may be frustrating to not hear Gods voice when they ask a question that they think God ought to answer, like is this the man you want me to marry? Does he have some grave moral problems that wont be resolved easily? Does he treat his mum, sister, or other women in his life like dirt? Is he married and still bonded to a person he doesnt live with? Use your head! God gave you a mind. Figure it out! Dont do anything stupid, and if you do something stupid, dont do something even stupider to react to initial stupidity. Begin again to live the Gospel and make sound decisions based on Gospel living. PARTICULAR EXPRESSIONS OF SINGLE LIFE The Young and the Restless If you are a teenager or not yet thirty, chances are you need simply to grow up. Who can help you grow in a solid way that will be a blessing to you and help you be a blessing to others? Christ. Pope Benedict XVI, in his first homily addresses young people: Are we not perhaps all afraid in some way? If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to him, are we not afraid that He might take something away from us? Are we not perhaps afraid to give up something significant, something unique, something that makes life so beautiful? Do we not then risk ending up diminished and deprived of our freedom? And once again the Pope said: No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation. And so, today, with great strength and great conviction, on the basis of long personal experience

of life, I say to you, dear young people: Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ and you will find true life. Amen. All too often young people go with the flow and submit to peer pressure and find themselves in very unhealthy relationships, perhaps because they are told or may feel that they are not acceptable, not lovable, unless they find a boyfriend or girlfriend to tell them that they are beautiful or good. What happens is that they seek to find fulfillment, happiness, and wholeness from someone who in no way has any capacity to provide it - another broken, needy, and underdeveloped teen-ager like themselves. Sadly these relationships often end up in pre-marital sex, and if not fornication, at least the spirit of impurity soils their capacity to see God. Thus, they turn away from the living water who is Jesus Christ and turn toward empty cisterns that cannot quench the thirst for deeper love. Remember in our last talk we discussed how everyone needs healthy masculine and feminine affirmation before one becomes an affirmed person, or adult. If a person goes into relationships when they are young in any way unaffirmed, unloved, needy, and seeking from the one person what they should have got from their father and mother, there is going to be a mess. Grow up first. Be friends with many young men and women. Gift yourself to others. Dont get me wrong. I have nothing against teen love. It is just when teenagers dont permit themselves to grow first and then try to enter into a mature relationship which is the context of discerning marriage. The problem we face today is that we live in an age of radical materialism, egoism, and lust, which greatly inhibits the maturity of young people. In times past a young man or woman in their late teens were certainly ready to start a family because they had the capacity to begin to give more than they received. Now it seems like people grow up in the same level in their thirties and forties. What is necessary for young people? Be present to Christ! Give yourself to him. He understands you. He loves you. He knows you. He will guide you to a happy life, a life lived in intimate friendship with himself and service of others. DATING AND FINDING A SPOUSE There are a great many singles out there who desire marriage. This is normal. This is good. Most people have this vocation, and we would fail to approach the topic of singles if we didnt talk about dating, but what is dating? Is it for pleasure? Some would say it is for pain. Christian dating is about trying to find the right person you want to spend the rest of your life with. If it is not about looking for a husband or wife but rather for making yourself feel good about yourself or pleasure-seeking, it is not Christian, not of Christ at all. If dating is about looking for the right mate for life, then dating is about dumping. It is like looking for the right fruit in the grocery. You have to pick out the right one. If it isnt, put it back! You shouldnt be able to say, nope, sorry, you are not the right one for me.

A big problem for dating is that there is much pressure to move it into an exclusive relationships, before the couple has a chance to get to know each other. Since marriage, especially one that is happy and solidly founded, is based on friendship, this should be the key ingredient to help a person get to know the other. Love, as Blessed Pope John Paul II said in his book Love and Responsibility, ought to be viewed in different aspects, a metaphysical aspect, a psychological or experiential aspect, and an ethical one. Metaphysically, love has different dimensions that respond with the different parts of the being of the person, which have been called by different people the three kinds of love: agape (self-sacrificing love), filios (friendship), and eros (attraction or desire). These are all important but the communion of persons in marriage rises and falls within the scope of friendship. Then the Pope spoke about the experience of love, that it is a sensual, sentimental and relational experience. Again this experience is most healthy when it unfolds along the lines of friendship. Finally he spoke of the fact that if it is love, it can never be separated from the ethical dimension, it wont lead a person to do what is evil in an ethical sense, even if at times this may do violence to a persons sensual or sentimental attractions, or if this may deeply fulfill a persons need for deeper love. That is to say, the friendship is also ethically good, not just emotionally good or personally fulfilling. Christian formation means that all these expressions of love that is the heart of marriage unfolds for singles in friendship that naturally progresses in a healthy way according to the law of God, while not denying any of the richness of sensual, sentimental, and interpersonal attraction, and allows the eros, filios, agape kinds of love to bloom. CULTURE OF LUST The HUGE problem nowadays is that we live in a culture of lust and all too often this is the predominant ingredient in dating, its discerning factor, with no ethical dimension of love. The most frequent pattern we see around us is that men give love to get sex and often women give sex to get love. Because sexual intercourse is an act that is meant for marriage, certain chemicals in our bodies that are released in order to bond a person for life are released and a sexually active person finds themselves bonded to another without having a sufficient understanding of who they are, what they are really about, and if they can be a best friend to them for life. Also because fornication is a grave sin, the spiritual blindness that accompanies the chemical blindness of a persons hormones terribly impede her sense of judgment. A woman thus finds herself with a guy instead of a man, whom she could not be happy with. Then separation happens and the ripping apart of the hormones and chemicals rip a hole wide open in her heart, which she would have wanted to give wholly and undivided to the man she would marry for life. She then finds herself emotionally wounded and incapable of searching and discerning marriage in a healthy way. Thus begins a downward spiral of unhappy relationships. For these reasons, it seems the best place singles can grow in friendship with others is when the first concern is not actually an exclusive relationships, but simply friendships. The first example of this we see is where a group of families live in a community and they grow over time together. However, since this is often broken down, an alternative is Catholic communities, where people are permitted to interact with each other and grow in friendship in a disinterested way.

When a couple realizes together that they want to start looking at an exclusive relationship together, then an alternative to dating that is more in keeping with the idea that an exclusive relationship is headed for marriage, but not necessarily must end there is courtship. Courtship may sound like an antiquated term, but it is most sound in allowing two persons to grow in knowledge of one another, deepening their attraction and longing for the other, while protecting them from not polluting it with premature sexual encounters. OLDER SINGLES There is a whole category of Catholic singles that, for whatever reason, have aged beyond what they may think is the normal time for getting married. These people may feel they have missed their opportunity for love. To these I would like to say, DO NOT GIVE UP HOPE! In a few months in our parish we are marrying two people who are eighty. A few months ago we married two sixty year olds. Why? Because they can. Because they want to, because they are free to. Sometimes older singles may be in battle attack mode with their shields up and swords blazing because they have been hurt many times in the past, but Jesus, out of the great love he has for them, desire to peel away the armor, the masks, to heal the hurts and give hope for the newness of life. It is important to always return to the basics of the single lay vocation and simply ask the good Lord, What is it you want of me today? It is so important to continually center ones activity and vocation on Christ. Only in this way will one be free of the fears and hurts that are accompany the single life. SINGLE LAY VOCATION FOR LIFE Perhaps the most misunderstood vocation in the Church is to be present to the Lord for ones entire life. These are persons who are called by the Lord to be singularly focused, even consecrated to making the Lord Jesus present on earth as it is in heaven. Although they are consecrated or set apart for God, they do not take the identity of being a lay religious brother or sister, but instead they are persons that God desires to leaven the temporal order with the riches of the Gospel. How desperately we need this vocation today! The world needs people who are doing what every body else is doing: teachers, doctors, lawyers, politicians, bankers, and every other profession, yet doing it with a single-minded focus of making Christ present in their sphere of influence. In the country of Belize, there was such a witness, who greatly effected the history of this small country. His name is George Cadle Price. He was trained to be a Jesuit priest, then left the seminary to tend to his dying mother. In the mean time, he saw the people of his country living in squalor, deprivation, and unrest, and God called him through life events to respond to the temporal situation by becoming what people today call him, one of the principal architects of the country's independence, and is today referred to by many as the Father of the Nation While he lived in evangelical simplicity of life, attending daily mass and also attending to the needs of the poor, he wrote the constitution of the country. In it, he

included many of the key ideas of the social teachings of the Church - one of the primary works of the lay single vocation. Reading this constitution is like reading, Rerum Novarum, the foundation of the teaching of Christ of the Churchs engagement in the modern secular order. Since he was solely dedicated to the common good and the temporal order of Belize for over twenty years, the countrys modern foundation was set on sure footing. This is an example what is possible for the single lay vocation. SINGLE PARENTS, SEPARATED, DIVORCED, AND WIDOWED Another group of persons that is frequently forgotten by the Church are the single parents. How Christ loves you, single parents, and how the Church ought to draw near to you! Great is your need of the consolation of the Gospel! There are many whose marriages, usually because of the infidelity or uncooperation of spouses, have broken down, and what are they left with? They must figure out how to answer the call of Christ to be faithful to their marriage, that they are still very much bonded to the Lord despite the infidelity of their husband or wife, and need extra help to raise their children and help them depart on the road of life. All too often these people are also misunderstood, misjudged even by wellintentioned catholics, and may feel forgotten by the Church, which is rightly intent on building up marriage and the family, yet may appear to neglect those in difficult situations. To these people Blessed Pope John Paul reaches out in Familiaris Consortio, 83d: Loneliness and other difficulties are often the lot of separated spouses, especially when they are the innocent parties. The ecclesial community must support such people more than ever. It must give them much respect, solidarity, understanding and practical help, so that they can preserve their fidelity even in their difficult situation; and it must help them to cultivate the need to forgive which is inherent in Christian love, and to be ready perhaps to return to their former married life. The situation is similar for people who have undergone divorce, but, being well aware that the valid marriage bond is indissoluble, refrain from becoming involved in a new union and devote themselves solely to carrying out their family duties and the responsibilities of Christian life. In such cases their example of fidelity and Christian consistency takes on particular value as a witness before the world and the Church. Here it is even more necessary for the Church to offer continual love and assistance, without there being any obstacle to admission to the sacraments. Another group that is also forgotten about are the widowed. However, these people, often quietly living out their days in thanksgiving and praise in having lived a full life, are a great benefit to the Church. Since the earliest of times consecrated widows have been a blessing to the Church, who live in imitation of Our Lady, in whose widowed years was a great intercessor and bullwark to the Church of God, by supporting and praying for the ministers of the Church, serving the poor, and by a witness of spiritual maternity matured by years. In recent years there have been different expressions of consecrated widowhood.

CONCLUSION - MOTHER OF SINGLE LAY VOCATION The holy Mother of God was single before getting married and experienced widowhood after St Joseph died. She loves the single vocation with ineffable affection and care. She is also the mother of each Christian vocation, the Virgin most Pure, who guards single against loneliness and fear of being forgotten and misunderstood. May the merits and prayers of the Immaculate Virgin Mary help and guard all single lay vocations to Be Present to Jesus Christ and give eternal glory to the Triune God.

CLOSING PRAYER - Magnificat My soul glorifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour. He looks on his servant in her lowliness; henceforth all ages will call me blessed. The Almighty works marvels for me. Holy his name! His mercy is from age to age, on those who fear him. He puts forth his arm in strength and scatters the proud-hearted. He casts the mighty from their thrones and raises the lowly. He fills the starving with good things, sends the rich away empty. He protects Israel, his servant, remembering his mercy, the mercy promised to our fathers, to Abraham and his sons for ever. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.