I never considered marriage to be a real vocation. As a young student who had converted to Catholicism and attended a small Jesuit College on the prairies in Canada, I was convinced I was called to the active religious life. I wanted to serve God and this was the only option I knew. My spiritual director agreed. I did not even bother dating. What was the point? I only desired to dedicate my life to God in a dramatic way, embracing a sacrificial vocation to make a difference in the world.
I loved my life and didn’t foresee any changes. I was a student chaplain, working on a nun/priest team and enjoyed gardening, painting, reading spiritual literature, praying, and growing in my faith; I was content. I never considered marriage to be a real vocation like religious life or being a consecrated single, laywoman.
In the midst of preparing for a religious vocation, God surprised me. He upended my life in a single day when I met Michael, my future husband. I was secretly disappointed I was not going to be a nun because I imagined myself embracing a heroic calling. I literally felt a sinking feeling when I surrendered my grandiose schemes and dreams, even though I knew without a doubt marriage to this man was the will of God.
Marriage Demands Faith, Prayer, and Sacrifice
Looking back I have to laugh because I discovered the truth: a Christian marriage is a vocation, demanding faith, prayer, and sacrifice. It is a vocation which has the potential to transform couples into saints if they give God permission to transform them.
When Pope Francis spoke to young volunteers who had served at World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, he first called the young people to be revolutionaries. Then the pope explained vocations, equating Christian marriage and family life with the priesthood, consecrated and religious life.
God calls you to make definitive choices, and he has a plan for each of you: to discover that plan and to respond to your vocation is to move toward personal fulfillment. God calls each of us to be holy, to live his life, but he has a particular path for each one of us. Some are called to holiness through family life in the sacrament of Marriage
The Catechism of the Catholic Church outlines an inspiring view of what a Catholic marriage really means. It unequivocally declares the power and grace showered on couples through this sacrament:
The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman form with each other an intimate communion of life and love, has been founded and endowed with its own special laws by the Creator. By its very nature it is ordered to the good of the couple, as well as to the generation and education of children. Christ the Lord raised marriage between the baptized to the dignity of a sacrament (CCC 1659-1660).