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The single person is often dismissed of having an important role to play in life. However, there is much significance in this state of life and the single person has much to teach us. Discover a different way of viewing the single life in the following article:


The Value of the Single Life, by Melissa Prazak

Sitting alone in a corner, I relaxed into the ambience of a cozy coffee shop. I sipped my coffee, pulled out my Bible, and waited for a friend to join me for breakfast. The room was filled with tables of new couples and old friends. Time passed slowly as I emptied and refilled my cup but my friend never arrived. As I paused to enjoy the jazz overhead I smiled to myself about the irony of this situation. I had recently begun pondering the unique witness of the Christian single person, and this moment was testing my hypothesis.

I think the single person, through their visible solitude, witnesses to the fact that every person is called to intimate communion with the Trinity. What is more, it is the single person’s desire for communion that witnesses to man’s longing for communion with God.

When God created us He made us for communion: “It is not good for man to be alone” (Gen 2:18). However, it is clear that the communion we experience on earth cannot fulfill us completely. Our relationships with loved ones are only a foretaste of the perfect communion we will have in heaven.

It is important to note that solitude is quite different than simply being alone. Being alone is a very isolating experience in which there is a lack of relation with anyone. Yet, in solitude one has a connection with others or God but is by oneself.

Blessed John Paul, in his general audiences that comprise A Theology of the Body, examines the second creation account in Genesis and suggests that God created Adam and delayed the creation of Eve to promote Adam’s self-discovery, namely, his desire for communion and his true relationship with creation and God. Blessed John Paul calls this experience “original solitude.” He writes, “without that deep meaning of man’s original solitude, one cannot understand…the situation of man…[He is] set into a unique, exclusive, and unrepeatable relationship with God himself”(6:2). For the purpose of this article, I am relating the single person’s state to original solitude.

It is because of the single person’s solitude that his or her longing for communion is more apparent. This longing is itself a great witness for mankind because it illustrates for us the longing we should have for communion with God. The single life reminds the world that from the moment we were baptized we entered into a covenantal relationship with God.

We must build this relationship now and long for complete fulfillment with God in heaven. In marriage, the spouse is God’s gift as a means to prepare one for the definitive communion with the Trinity.

The consecrated person has a slight taste of this relationship on earth through his or her consecration or ordination.

The single person is made ready for the heavenly nuptials by living in a state of longing for communion—a communion that will not be satisfied on earth.

Additionally, the solitude of the single person enhances the beauty of communion in the married and consecrated life. The choice of the single person to avoid intimate relations with another outside of marriage witnesses to the dignity of each human person.  It “keeps alive in the Church a consciousness of the mystery of marriage and defends it from any reduction and impoverishment” (Familiaris Consortio, no.16). Also, because the single person is unconsecrated, the spiritual communion of the consecrated person is all the more “a particularly profound expression of the Church as the Bride” (Vita Consecrata, no.19) and a sign of dedication.

Furthermore, the single person’s solitude is a reminder for each of us. At some point every person passes through the single state. It is meant to be a time of self-discovery, preparation, and purification as it was for Adam.

This time of solitude gives us the opportunity to discover how the Trinity is truly our complete fulfillment.  It also helps us to purify our motivations and to embrace with understanding the fullness of the commitment we make in choosing our vocation. Thus the single person’s solitude brings to mind this fruitful time in our life.

All of this passed quickly through my mind as I sat in the café and smiled at God’s humor. I could have sat there annoyed, embarrassed, or sulking because my friend did not show up. I could have been standoffish, pretending I did not want company. But in reality I desired companionship, and that desire sprang from my deeper longing for eternal communion with God.

Was I a witness to anybody there that morning? I honestly doubt anyone noticed me or gave a value to my solitude; maybe the experience was just for me. It is unfortunate that few notice the significance of the single state for it is a gift. The next time you talk with someone living the single state, allow their present vocation to stir your own longing for communion with God.