Many single Catholics choose to get married, some choose to go into the religious life or the priesthood and some decide to stay single for life. Why is it a good idea for single Catholic men and women to enter lay third orders? Many single Catholics in our society are looking to their Catholic faith for answers to their everyday problems and difficulties. Our Catholic faith is wonderful. It is the only faith that contains everything that is necessary for our salvation--Our Blessed Mother, the Holy Rosary, the saints, Jesus in the Sacred Heart and Divine Mercy, St. Michael the Archangel, the 7 Sacraments, the Holy Mass, Confession and the Holy Eucharist plus much more!
So why should single Catholics become members of lay third orders? Third order lay communities have been available to the lay person for centuries. Many single Catholics sometimes complain of feeling lonely and isolated from the Church at times because the Church tends to focus more on marriage and the priesthood or religious life but not very much on the single life. Single Catholics can contribute much to the Catholic faith. They can also be part of a lay religious community and still live their life in the world as a single or married person in the world. Any Catholic can become a member of a lay third order religious community of their choosing.
Many single Catholics become members of lay third order communities in order to become closer to the Catholic faith and in order to give their life to Christ and to Our Blessed Mother. as single or married people while still being able to live, work and participate in the world around them. Some third order lay communities are of the Franciscans, Augustinians, Dominicans or Carmelites, just to name a few. These lay communities exist throughout the world and are expanding in order to reach more Catholics worldwide.
"Where can you locate these third order lay communities?" some single Catholics ask. The answer to that question is "Everywhere." Bless Single Catholics Worldwide has a web page especially for people who are thinking about joining a third order lay community. You can find the page by clicking here.
Many saints throughout the centuries were, indeed, members of third order lay communities such as St. Catherine of Siena who was a third order lay Dominican. When a Catholic decides that they want to dedicate their lives to God, Our Lord Jesus and to Our Blessed Mother more fully, they can contact a Catholic religious lay community of their choice and attend a meeting of that lay community. He or she can then attend regular meetings in order to discern whether they can dedicate their life to the religious community for about one year.
In the case of the Carmelite Order, the person then receives their large Brown Scapular. Then, there is three years of Formation classes. It is after this three years of study that a person then makes their temporary promises to their lay community. Then, there is three more years before they make their permanent promises to the lay community.
Becoming a member of a third order lay community is very rewarding because when you commit yourself to a lay religious community, you are dedicating your entire life to Almighty God, to Our Lord Jesus and to Our Blessed Mother more fully.
It is my sincere hope that many more single Catholics will consider joining third order lay communities because they will be part of a community with other lay brothers and sisters. They will no longer feel or be alone in their life but will be in constant contact with other lay members in their particular lay religious community through monthly meetings, annual conferences and prayer life throughout their life. Single Catholics can share their faith, not only with their religious lay brothers and sisters but also share and evangelize their faith to this broken and sometimes, non-Christian world.