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I guess my question would be whether those eager to make private vows of obedience and poverty know the theology behind the vows and how much they wish to individualize them.  If it takes religious several years of formation on the theology of vows before making them plus an established set of rules and parameters built in, do we really feel comfortable in encouraging people to make vowed commitments to these two evangelical counsels without some serious preparation and thought to the practicalities?  Why did Teresa of Avila's vow of obedience to her spiritual director work out and St. Jane Chantal's not?  On a related note, do we really value lay life or do we pay lip service to it?  Many people I know who wish to make private vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience do not know what it means to be holy as a layperson and esteem the lay state as it should be esteemed.  That's not to say people shouldn't or can't make private vows, but that there has to be serious discernment, searching of motives, and a sound working theology.  Volumes have been written on the different vows.  How many who make private vows actually read them?  Yes, if I sound a bit cautious, it is because I've seen the aftermath of the havoc wreaked on enthusiastic but not well informed persons who made vows and their odd interpretations of said vows.

 

Any time someone makes a vow about anything, they should necessarily discern what it means and the consequences should they make that vow.

 

Perhaps I was assuming that those who are getting ready to make private vows will have already researched what this means and discussed it with a spiritual director.

 

Since we can't control what another person does, we can only pray that those who do choose to make vows to God, do so after much prayer, reflection, discernment, research, common sense and advice.

 

There will always be people who do not meet what we consider to be our own 'high standards' of care perhaps, but God can sort this out. The way I look at it, it isn't our place to judge another person who has decided to make private vows of some kind to God. He judges by the heart, which we can't possibly do. If someone's actions somehow intrude upon us, then we might be called to make some kind of judgment about what we should do with regard to this, but barring that eventuality, I prefer to leave each individual to their own conscience and relationship with God. The Church herself says

Can. 1192 §1 A vow is public if it is accepted in the name of the Church by a lawful Superior; otherwise, it is private.

 

No theology degree is required for one to make a vow to God - simply a sincere desire to make a commitment in their heart. When we start putting restrictions even on private vows then we really do wander into pharisee country.

 

Nothing to do with private vows - but probably the simplest and most sincere person I have ever met was Mother Teresa's auntie, a lay person. We were eating a meal together in the kitchen of the rehab centre where we were working and I asked her to say grace. She bent her head and quietly said, 'Thanks God.'

 

The reason I bring this up is because a very simple lay person with no understanding of theology at all, and no spiritual director, might decide in their heart to make some kind of private vow to God. Personally, I think God would be more impressed by that person's vow, than by someone who knew all the theology of vows and promises and commitments and evangelical counsels together but still didn't have simplicity of heart and quiet trust in Him.

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Dear Barbara Therese and all:   Thank you so much for the above post. I do not wish to Hijack this thread but only give some small witness which I pray will bear some fruit. I thought to wait longer

Just adding my two cents here...  Many people, myself included, do not think it is advisable to make private vows of obedience or poverty outside of a group context.  Chastity is the "hinge" of consec

This weekend I plan on asking Father about this as this is something I would love to do. I had in mind that I would like to make the private vow of virginity/chastity at the same time as my Total Cons

In any post relating to private vows to the evangelical counsels, I strive to point out that if a person is attracted to living the evangelical counsels and has the necessary qualities for religious life, then initially ideally the religious life - or consecrated life in one of its forms - should be considered and investigated - and certainly spiritual direction sought.

The Church in Canon Law has clearly told us that any baptized person can make a private vow and the terms of a private vow or vows without further qualifications.  There is nothing to state that the evangelical counsels are any sort of exception.  We are also clearly told that the evangelical counsels "are the living fulness of Charity" and that we are all called to "the living fulness of Charity" each as God has called each person and in accord with that call (see conclusion of my post here http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/topic/126164-questions-about-private-vows/#entry2527849 )

And I absolutely agree with nunsense in that "man judges appearances, but The Lord knows the heart".  And I agree again with nunsense that a person may be trained in theology, spent 7 or 8 years preparing for perpetual religious life vows and make them - and never quite live up to all that knowledge and Grace.    While a very simple uneducated person can move very sincerely from his or her heart - be totally uneducated in every way - and live a very holy and saintly life in a true spirit of poverty, chastity and obedience - and with or without any kind of vow whatsoever.

Is the previous statement any reason to not consider nor seek if feasible education nor religious life or the public consecrated state?  Not at all and totally ridiculous if I did entertain such a thought.   Vocation is from God who with His Call provides all the necessary Graces to live out His Call to holiness in a particular manner - and it is in this spirit that we each seek to find or discern our place in His World.

 

 

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Praised be Jesus Christ! And Happy Christmastide! :)

 

I was just searching through some threads and a few times I saw that there are some that have made private vows. I was wondering if anyone could share information on what these mean and how one goes about making them?

 

I know this is something to be discerned. For one living in the world and desiring to give myself only to Our Lord and to be united to Him as close as I can be out here, I am very interested to learn more. I would love to find my place in the religious life, but for right now I need to wait before contacting communities.

 

I'm very thankful for the help!

 

Now & forever! Very good question. I am in a similar situation as you and have made a private vow of virginity before a priest, although not perpetual as I would wish it to be! I am still hoping for this.. although ultimately I hope to make Solemn Vows, God willing, in religious life.

 

Many of the saints made private vows of virginity/chastity before entering religious life. And of course Our Lady did :heart: (according to the writings of many mystics like Ven. Maria de Agreda) Two Carmelites that come to mind are, St. Maravillas, who made one at age 5 &  Blessed Elizabeth who made one just before turning 14. Both of these were perpetual I am pretty sure. I do not believe in either of these cases these were made under the advise/witness of a priest. St. Maravillas' was in her family home, and again, at age 5. Blessed Elizabeth's was an inspiration after Holy Communion, which she made spontaneously. 

 

For St. Teresa of the Andes however, her spiritual director would only allow her to make a temporary vow, and I believe she made several for periods as short as weeks between when she would see him, if I remember this correctly. Okay, a reference to this here, http://www.kilmacudcarmel.ie/teresaandes.html

 

Also, Sr. Marie-Angelique made a private vow of virginity before entering Carmel .. and she describes this with great enthusiasm as her wedding day with Our Lord. I was lucky or rather blessed enough to get a copy of that book with her writings Flame of Joy. I still need to read the whole thing (there is so much on Carmel to read!!) but I have skimmed through it a bit, and one part I remember very well .. the first lines of a chapter. She was saying how many graces followed after making her vows. At first my heart sunk a bit after reading that, as it reminded me of how very far I am from, God willing, make profession in religious life. But reading further I realized what she was referring to was the private vow she made ... and this wasn't early in her youth, but after she was already sure of Carmel for some time, but faced delays.

 

Seriously, this book needs to be put online or at least be made available again! I have it with me now and just read the section where she describes the day she made this vow... :heart: I will see about posting this or emailing you/or maybe even putting this online at some point.

 

But yes, this seems to be a perfectly legitimate and very good thing to inquire about as you continue to discern.

 

Okay, so here is a thread from the Catholic Answers Forum with some good links and replies, both from a Consecrated Virgin, Therese Ivers & Sr. Laurel, a Diocesan Hermit who is here too - http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=543929 I am LaudemGloriae there (not LG here though) I was incorrect in my reply to let you know in advance. Private vows do not need to be made in the presence of a priest. 

 

However, I did ask a good priest this once and pointed him to this CA thread, plus the example of saints like Blessed Elizabeth and St. Maravillas who did not first seek the advise of a priest/make their vows with a priest to witness, as St. Teresa of the Andes did and Sr. Marie-Angelique. Here is his reply:

 

Some of the saints were moved to make private vows without speaking to a confessor, but I think these are the exception. And they later submitted everything to the confessor. There are many reasons for this. Here are some.... It prevents the devil from getting into our acts of religion. It prevents us from making a mistake. It subdues our pride. It prevents scruples too. Our Lord always works through His Church.


Here is what one of the best spiritual directors in the Church’s history had to say on this matter. This is from the maxims and counsels of St. Philip Neri for Dec 12-13. You can find them on wikipedia.

12. Penitents should never make vows without the advice of their spiritual fathers.


13. If we do make such vows, it is best to make them conditionally: for example, “I make a vow to have two masses said on S. Lucy’s day, with this bargain, If I can, If I do not forget it, because if I do not remember it I do not wish to be bound.”

 

Besides wikipedia, you can find these in many other places like here

 

So anyway, I would say this priest, Therese Ivers & Sr. Laurel are definitely all correct. But yes, I would recommend talking to your SD about this for sure. He may only want you to make a temporary one, but going back to St. Teresa of the Andes (we can't go wrong following her, right?) I remember reading somewhere that in her heart as she continually renewed her temporary private vow, she was making it forever :heart:

 

 

p.s. I just picked up Flame of Joy again and realized she made private vows of all of the evangelical counsels (and that it was chastity she vowed, although I would have to do a double check on the translation) This was all with the permission of her spiritual director. Personally, I feel called to make a private vow of virginity/chastity only at this point. But this is most interesting to read and relates to the discussion on this in this thread :like:

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This weekend I plan on asking Father about this as this is something I would love to do. I had in mind that I would like to make the private vow of virginity/chastity at the same time as my Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary. I am considering March 25th, The Annunciation, as this would be very fitting and also I will have more time to prepare for both.  It will also be good for patience because I know I want to do it right away! I really like the idea a having a ring and having it blessed too. It is just exciting (if this is the right word) when we can have all these ways of becoming closer to Jesus.

 

May God reward you all for the advise and information; all very helpful. :)

 

 

 

 

 


 

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Sponsa Christi is also a member of Phatmass and a Consecrated Virgin.  According to her website, private vows are made immediately prior to or after a Mass (with agreement of celebrant) but not during Mass : http://sponsa-christi.blogspot.com.au/2011/02/how-do-i-make-private-vow.html

 

Really quick, I wanted to say after reading her post, in case you didn't get the time to, that she means they would be before or after Holy Mass if someone wanted to do them in the context of a Mass, but not during. But you can also do them in a much more private manner as I did, just in a rectory room with the priest to witness and a friend. Very short and simple formula/prayer I used..

 

Also, in case your SD is not in the area, you could simply do it in private like during/after your thanksgiving (without him to witness or anyone else) but with his approval I would think :like:

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Yes, private vows can be made in a variety of ways, including in the complete secrecy of one's heart.  I had not been aware, however, that private vows should not be made during Mass, rather before or after - until I read the blog in question.

It is always prudent and wise, I think, to seek spiritual advice prior to making any private vow or vows, after all it is a vow/promise to The Lord and not something to be done lightly.  However while spiritual direction is most wise and prudent, advisable, it is not absolutely necessary to seek spiritual direction for a private vow or vows to be valid.

 

 

http://www.catholicdoors.com/faq/qu238.htm

A. 2. Many, with all good intent, when they are young and zealous, they make a vow to God with the intention of keeping it for life. Not having consulted a spiritual director prior to making such a vow, they do not realize that a vow for life is a long time. Also, those who make private vows often walk a lonely spiritual life without the support that religious vocations find in Dioceses or religious Orders.

Such vows or promises may consist of a vow to remain celibate for life, a promise to be a missionary for life, a promise to pray the Rosary on a daily basis throughout one's life, a promise to never commit a certain sin, etc...

Knowing that many individual do make private vows and that some may want to be dispensed from such a vow during their lives, the Church covers this matter in the Canon Laws

 

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Any time someone makes a vow about anything, they should necessarily discern what it means and the consequences should they make that vow.

 

Perhaps I was assuming that those who are getting ready to make private vows will have already researched what this means and discussed it with a spiritual director.

 

Since we can't control what another person does, we can only pray that those who do choose to make vows to God, do so after much prayer, reflection, discernment, research, common sense and advice.

 

There will always be people who do not meet what we consider to be our own 'high standards' of care perhaps, but God can sort this out. The way I look at it, it isn't our place to judge another person who has decided to make private vows of some kind to God. He judges by the heart, which we can't possibly do. If someone's actions somehow intrude upon us, then we might be called to make some kind of judgment about what we should do with regard to this, but barring that eventuality, I prefer to leave each individual to their own conscience and relationship with God. The Church herself says

Can. 1192 §1 A vow is public if it is accepted in the name of the Church by a lawful Superior; otherwise, it is private.

 

No theology degree is required for one to make a vow to God - simply a sincere desire to make a commitment in their heart. When we start putting restrictions even on private vows then we really do wander into pharisee country.

 

Nothing to do with private vows - but probably the simplest and most sincere person I have ever met was Mother Teresa's auntie, a lay person. We were eating a meal together in the kitchen of the rehab centre where we were working and I asked her to say grace. She bent her head and quietly said, 'Thanks God.'

 

The reason I bring this up is because a very simple lay person with no understanding of theology at all, and no spiritual director, might decide in their heart to make some kind of private vow to God. Personally, I think God would be more impressed by that person's vow, than by someone who knew all the theology of vows and promises and commitments and evangelical counsels together but still didn't have simplicity of heart and quiet trust in Him.

 

From my perspective I have run into too many people who actually fail to understand that their baptismal consecration obliges them to live the evangelical counsels in their own state of life. They are already obliged to poverty, chastity and obedience and we do NOT make vows for things we are already obligated to. When religious make vows they embrace religious obedience, religious poverty, and consecrated celibacy or religious chastity. If one finds their baptismal promises inadequately demanding, then perhaps it is time to take a look at them and consider why that is so. One can specify how these call one at this particular time without making added vows.

 

Ordinarily it makes no sense to vow obedience which is akin to religious obedience unless one will have a legitimate superior and a Rule to which one is obligated to conform one's life and will. (Obedience as listening already binds each Christian.) That is why some canonists and I agree that a vow of obedience is usually meaningless apart from either community or solitary vowed life.

 

Sincerely,

Sister Laurel M O'Neal, Er Dio

Stillsong Hermitage

DIocese of Oakland

http://notesfromstillsong.blogspot.com

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From my perspective I have run into too many people who actually fail to understand that their baptismal consecration obliges them to live the evangelical counsels in their own state of life. They are already obliged to poverty, chastity and obedience and we do NOT make vows for things we are already obligated to. When religious make vows they embrace religious obedience, religious poverty, and consecrated celibacy or religious chastity. If one finds their baptismal promises inadequately demanding, then perhaps it is time to take a look at them and consider why that is so. One can specify how these call one at this particular time without making added vows.

 

Ordinarily it makes no sense to vow obedience which is akin to religious obedience unless one will have a legitimate superior and a Rule to which one is obligated to conform one's life and will. (Obedience as listening already binds each Christian.) That is why some canonists and I agree that a vow of obedience is usually meaningless apart from either community or solitary vowed life.

 

Sincerely,

Sister Laurel M O'Neal, Er Dio

Stillsong Hermitage

DIocese of Oakland

http://notesfromstillsong.blogspot.com

 

While I usually agree with most things you post Sr Laurel, perhaps I am a little more flexible here than you are. I don't object to anyone making the vows that they consider necessary to God as private vows. I still believe this is between their conscience and God, and not something that anyone else should evaluate or judge. I do recommend that anyone planning to make a vow to God, because of the serious nature of such a promise or commitment, discuss this with their spiritual director or Confessor and obtain advice about exactly what they are promising in their vows and what this means to them. Just because the vow of obedience is usually meant as being under obedience to a superior and a Rule, there may be other interpretations or variations on a vow of obedience that are unique to an individual after they have discerned it carefully.

 

Canon law allows for private vows but does not limit them according to state in life. To me, private means just that, private.

 

But I can see that this might be interpreted many different ways, even by canonists and religious and priests. I made my private vows to God, as  sanctioned by canon law and under the guidance of a spiritual director and since they have meaning for me, I don't really care what some canonists or others think about them. :)   No offence however.

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From my perspective I have run into too many people who actually fail to understand that their baptismal consecration obliges them to live the evangelical counsels in their own state of life. They are already obliged to poverty, chastity and obedience and we do NOT make vows for things we are already obligated to. When religious make vows they embrace religious obedience, religious poverty, and consecrated celibacy or religious chastity.

 

It is true that the evangelical counsels (as per my quote from the CCC) obliges all the baptised and for those outside religious life etc. – ACCORDING TO their state in life and vocation as Charity may ask. Those in the lay state are not necessarily called to a stable form of the evangelical counsel – all as I have quoted from the CCC.  Those in the lay state are not living in a stable form of canonically vowed RADICAL poverty, chastity and obedience and on a continual basis at all times in all circumstances.  While Jesus has addressed the evangelical counsels to every disciple or all baptised not all are called to live in a stable state of the evangelical counsels and radically so.  And I have quoted from the CCC in this regard.

The privately vowed person to the evangelical counsels chooses to live in a stable form of these counsels not in imitation of religious life necessarily (some may feel a call to do so) rather in imitation of Jesus Himself – as the CCC states - as I have already quoted.

To demand that vowing the evangelical counsels privately is questionable, is to deny persons to vow to live as Jesus lived in poverty, chastity and obedience a life in the spirit of The Beatitudes – and in a consistent state in life.  While my obedience may not be as radical as in some expressions of religious life, my poverty is certainly more radical than in many forms of religious life.  "Radical" is a very big word. 


 If one finds their baptismal promises inadequately demanding, then perhaps it is time to take a look at them and consider why that is so. One can specify how these call one at this particular time without making added vows.

 

This is very true and quite skillfully, if unkindly, worded.  It is not necessarily finding baptismal promises inadequate - rather to build on them and in imitation of Jesus and His Person and His Life - and for the sake of The Kingdom.  However to deny or challenge that there is a vocation such as private vows to the evangelical counsels in the lay state is to be opposed to what The Church tells us. It is also opposing those who are aware of a call to make private vows and denying their consciousness as valid. This is challenging Canon Law and you are quite free to do so, while any person vowed (privately or canonically) to obedience is not - without compromising obedience per se.

  All vocations no matter which build or have a foundation in Baptism.  Those in private vows to the evangelical counsels renounce as it were for one the married state in life and in order to live more radically the call to Chastity and for the sake of The Kingdom. They also vow to live the counsel of Poverty in some radical form along with the vow of obedience.  As the CCC tells us, the evangelical counsels remove what might be opposed to GROWTH in Charity, while not necessarily opposed to Charity. 

 

Radical is a very big word – even in religious life forms of this radical state vary and in degree.

 

I would point out also that there may be some who have clear impediments to any form of canonical vow and as The Church permits have decided to embrace the vows in imitation of Jesus (and religious life) anyway and in the lay state with a desire to give their whole life to Jesus and for the sake of The Kingdom.  If  their choice is to imitate the vows of religious life in some way (and in the person and life of Jesus) why all the fuss and bother?

 

Ordinarily it makes no sense to vow obedience which is akin to religious obedience unless one will have a legitimate superior and a Rule to which one is obligated to conform one's life and will. (Obedience as listening already binds each Christian.) That is why some canonists and I agree that a vow of obedience is usually meaningless apart from either community or solitary vowed life.

 

What Jesus has called us to in obedience as a counsel for all the baptised is obedience to The Will of God - in whatever form it is expressed and for Catholics, canonically vowed or not,and  this is expressed in and through The Church.  With the canonically vowed, The Church authorizes some authority to be a direct expression of The Will of God for those vowed.  A privately vowed person is free to choose some authority  in The Church to which to vow obedience.  This is not “meaningless” since obedience as a counsel will assist in the growth of Charity as the CCC states.  This is one of the things that disturbed me in some posts into some threads – that Charity seemed not to be present at all. 

 

The privately vowed person is also quite free to write a ‘rule of life’ for themselves since The Church has not stated to the contrary.  In fact in Vita Consecrata JPII has put the dedicated life as a form of consecrated living (“special consecration”) and under the sub-heading of “Thanksgiving for The Consecrated Life”.

 

To state anything else is simply to be contrary to what The Church tells us.  We are quite free to have our own concepts; however, there is a limit, a very clear boundary, on those concepts as a Catholic and under the counsel of obedience.  One’s concepts are either in line with The Church or they are not, either within the boundary of any vow of obedience, or outside it.

 

If you consider the lay state under private vows questionable, then you are free to do so.  I choose to hear and apply what The Church states and as coming under my private vow of obedience.  Also, I consulted two theologians on the matter (for two Church authorities only) prior to making life vows.  Of course, you are quite free to disagree with their affirmation of life private vows as a quite valid potential.  This is simply a theological disagreement between those who have some education in the science – and nothing new, nothing new whatsoever. 

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A person is completely free in Church law and understanding to make a private vow of virginity - and completely free to make a private vow to live eremitically in a stricter life of separation from the world and a life of asiduous prayer and penance, and to determine for themselves how these things are to be lived out.  Just as a person is free to make private vows to the evangelical counsels and how they are to be lived out.

 

Again one is most wise and prudent to seek spiritual direction prior to any private vow or vows -  and on an ongoing basis.  During this spiritual direction motivation will be discerned and discussed - ideally that is - as well as that the person understands what they are doing in making a private vow or vows including how they are to be lived out.  It will also be discerned, ideally, whether a person might have a potential call to the consecrated state or not.  Rather recently Pope Benedict did advocate spiritual direction including for all those in the laity who are striving to lead comitted spiritual lives.

 

It doesn't particularly worry me either on a personal basis what the theologically educated in some way may say either.  I always choose to obey what The Church states - always - and ignore theological disagreements of any kind by any person that are not in line with The Church.   Not all however understand what The Church teaches and does not teach and with the proliferation of the internet and the ability to spread both sound and unsound information without limitation, it is quite concerning.

 

 

 

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http://notesfromstillsong.blogspot.com.au/search/label/public%20vs%20private%20vows

The above links to Sr Laurel O'Neal's blog.  For some reason I as unable to highlight and copy and paste - but then the whole entry on the above link is worth the read for the interested and is related to private vows in the lay state to the evangelical counsels - and does not speak directly against them.  It is quite possible that Sr Laurel's personal insight and understanding might have moved on (to some degree anyway) from the above entry in March 2012.

It would be impossible to live as I do (for the sake of The Kingdom) outside of a radical form of poverty and chastity.  Obedience came into play not long ago when my director advised me that I not move in a certain direction.  There is no need to make private vows to the evangelical counsels to live in such a way - private vows are a radical form of living as one's commitment - and for me, the commitment is for life by private vow and come what may.  It is a commitment to my baptism in a quite radical manner- and not necessarily asked by baptism in the lay state.  It was in response to a very clear invitation and call to live in a certain quite radical manner in the lay state - and I thoroughly researched what I was doing by seeking advice.  In I hope prudence and wisdom, I did delay any sort of perpetual life vows for quite a few years and made the vows for 12 monthly periods renewable each year.

Any seeking of dispensation for me personally would be a quite serious move for me on a personal level, other than if a greater good was involved, and for a few reasons.

 

 

 

 

 

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Again, I'm very thankful for all the information; it has been helpful!  :)

 

I had another question concerning obtaining permission from a spiritual director. I do have a priest that has been very helpful to me in certain situations and he's the one to whom I ask questions and to talk about my spiritual life. He isn't in my area, actually very far away. I don't know if he knows me well enough to be able to give me the permission for this so I don't know if he would be able to or not.

 

I know my intention is pure and I know where my heart stands; that this vow is most likely already in my heart. I would though like to do this while remaining in the world and Lord willing that I would be able to enter a religious community at some point. However, I wouldn't want to do this if I knew it would be displeasing to Our Lord because I don't have the proper permission before making this vow (receiving the permission from a priest.) Would it be more prudent then not to do this if I weren't to get permission because the priest doesn't know me well enough? 

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Again, I'm very thankful for all the information; it has been helpful!  :)

 

I had another question concerning obtaining permission from a spiritual director. I do have a priest that has been very helpful to me in certain situations and he's the one to whom I ask questions and to talk about my spiritual life. He isn't in my area, actually very far away. I don't know if he knows me well enough to be able to give me the permission for this so I don't know if he would be able to or not.

 

I know my intention is pure and I know where my heart stands; that this vow is most likely already in my heart. I would though like to do this while remaining in the world and Lord willing that I would be able to enter a religious community at some point. However, I wouldn't want to do this if I knew it would be displeasing to Our Lord because I don't have the proper permission before making this vow (receiving the permission from a priest.) Would it be more prudent then not to do this if I weren't to get permission because the priest doesn't know me well enough? 

 

As I see things, it is entirely up to you.  To my mind it is unwise and imprudent to make any sort of private vow or vows without first seeking spiritual direction.  The Church does not place any restrictions on private vows providing one is over 14 years I think it might be.  I am unsure of any age restrictions so dont take me as 'gospel'.  It does remain a very serious move to make a vow to God even privately, be assured of this.

 

You do realize of course that if you hope to enter religious life at some point, there is no need for any sort of actual private vow in the interim.  There is no need to make a private vow to God in order to live a certain way.  To live a holy life does not ask any sort of vow.

 

The Lord is never displeased with what we do with the very best motives and intentions and especially when what we do is a good in itself with the intention of performing some good.  This is not to state that for our human part, it may be an unwise and imprudent move.  Were it me in your instance, I would be talking with Father anyway - it is entirely up to him and whether he feels he may know you well enough to give you advice on the matter. From there you can make up your own mind and decide.  While, again, we are probably very wise and prudent to follow what a priest may state as some sort of advice, there is no actual obligation in obedience to obey everything a priest may advise or state (unless of course one has made a private vow of obedience to him, AND he has accepted such a private vow and the terms of the vow).

 

Is there any way you can seek out regular spiritual direction.  This is only a discussion forum and not at all in any way very often a place of any sort of personal spiritual advice, which does ask a spiritual director again if one is wise and prudent.

 

Personally, I do value obedience immensely (along with my other private vows).  We read of Jesus in the Gospel that "He learnt obedience" and also "Not My Will, Father, but Thine be done" and other references in the Gospel to obedience - and powerful references.  Primarily, we owe obedience to The Church as Catholics and through whom The Will of God is expressed for us.

Edited by BarbaraTherese
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Sr Laurel : "Ordinarily it makes no sense to vow obedience which is akin to religious obedience unless one will have a legitimate superior and a Rule to which one is obligated to conform one's life and will. (Obedience as listening already binds each Christian.) That is why some canonists and I agree that a vow of obedience is usually meaningless apart from either community or solitary vowed life: "

 

 

 

This may be well a common agreement by "some canonists" that a private vow of obedience is meaningless outside of community or solitary vowed life and they are most certainly entitled to an opinion on the matter -  such opinion is not necessarily at all an agreement by all canonists I suspect nor a binding opinion on anyone whatsoever.  Nor is there any sort of official statement by The Church on the matter which precludes a lay person from making a private vow of obedience as well as determing what that obedience embraces.  I would be personally guided by The Church until such time (if it occurs) as The Church decides against a private vow of obedience for a lay person or decides any other matter relating to private vows and in this case to the evangelical counsels. Privately vowed obedience as that listening which binds every Christian is not of necessity whatsoever the content of every private vow of obedience - just as I suspect the opinion you have expressed is likely not the opinion of all canonists or all other educated people in Church matters.  Primarily to me however, it is not an instruction from The Church re a private vow of obedience.

 

Nor does it of necessity mean that a lay person making private vows to the evangelical counsels misunderstands their baptism.  The CCC clearly states that while Jesus recommends the evangelical counsels to all disciples, this is not necessarily in a consistent form of life in the lay state.  The lay person making private vows in the lay state to the ECs makes a commitment to a consistent form of life under the ECs as determined by the person making the private vows and therefore it goes beyond the askings of our Baptism.

 

Catholic Catechism:

1974 The evangelical counsels manifest the living fullness of charity, which is never satisfied with not giving more. They attest its vitality and call forth our spiritual readiness. The perfection of the New Law consists essentially in the precepts of love of God and neighbor. The counsels point out the more direct ways, the readier means, and are to be practiced in keeping with the vocation of each
 

  • [God] does not want each person to keep all the counsels, but only those appropriate to the diversity of persons, times, opportunities, and strengths, as charity requires; for it is charity, as queen of all virtues, all commandments, all counsels, and, in short, of all laws and all Christian actions that gives to all of them their rank, order, time, and value.

 

Even in religious life per se and perhaps even in the eremitical life under Canon 603, the radical nature of each of the vows to the ECs may vary greatly insofar as each religious order states how the particular vow is to be lived out within their various communites.  These statutes (or whatever is the correct term) do receive some form of Church approval, although I am unsure by whom exactly and this may vary too depending on whether a religious community is of diocesan approval only or whether it has Papal approval.  Nowhere does The Church state that a rule of life must receive either diocesan or Papal approval in the case of individuals writing a rule of life for themselves alone and to which they obligate their life and their will by private vow to God.  Such a private vow between the person and God may even be made in complete secrecy.  Nothing in Church law to preclude it.  However, to my mind it would be wise and prudent to seek spiritual direction per se before making any private vow at all.  Is it necessary in Church law - no it is not necessary but might indicate immaturity in the spiriutal life and possibly a lacking in prudence and wisdom not to seek spiritual advice.  Of course, private vows to God are not necessarily related to the ECs alone -  and while we have made a vow to God, the breaking of that vow might involve different levels of seriousness and grave or non grave matter -- and best submitted to a priest in Confession along with the fact that a private vow to God had been made.

Edited by BarbaraTherese
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