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I know there's been tons of threads on private vows but its still unclear to me :) so it seems the general consensus is that dedicated celibacy can be a vocation even if singleness is not (i mean if not giving it to God). So with vocations to celibacy we have - priesthood, religious life, consecrated life (consecrated virgins, hermits, secular institutes, etc). Private vows don't involve a consecration. Neither are they religious life. Soo... How do I not see them as some sort of no mans land :( if its not a consecration what is it? Dedication? What does that mean? Can you still see yourself as somehow given exclusively to God, maybe use the bridal imagery if that appeals to you? I'm still discerning my vocation but around this time my only possible option is private vows (I can't be a nun right at this moment and I don't know if ever), so I'd like to understand more :) thanks!

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If you make private viows then you simply carry on your life according to them for as long as you're bound and or discern otherwise. If you have an SD and priest to discuss and relate to then great. I

I think the reason why private vows aren't related to hermits very often here is because a vocation to be a canonical hermit involves a lot more than just "making vows outside a community" (just as a

The above thread has this beautiful quote from IndwellingTrinity, I hope she wouldn't mind if I post it here, I also hope she is doing OK :( 

"God calls  so gently and persistently and the love in ones heart burns so bright, to not respond is sheer agony for Love can only be answered by love to the heart that seeks God. Yes spiritual guidance is important, but i am afraid God called my heart even before i knew what spiritual guidance was!  Love for Love was the only answer I could comprehend in my heart. And it gave my heart peace." :love::love:

I also think that its just a good idea to ask an SD if its a good idea. Just to be humble and guided :) I made a private promise/vow of chastity when I didn't have an SD around me but later I told him about it. I hope someday I could say it again and make it more official before a priest though I realise its still private vow. (It would just be done with direction this time and in the Church). I am discerning also where to ultimately go in my vocation. But I wanted to learn more about living with private vows especially in case its not temporary for me but is my vocation. (I don't know).

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If you make private viows then you simply carry on your life according to them for as long as you're bound and or discern otherwise. If you have an SD and priest to discuss and relate to then great. If your situation changes then you can discuss withdrawing from private vows.  The priest can do that, as in oversee and acknowledgethe withdrawal of vows. That could happen for loads of reasons, but a change in direction/vocation would be one. Beyond that I'm not sure what you're confused about.

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I know there's been tons of threads on private vows but its still unclear to me :) so it seems the general consensus is that dedicated celibacy can be a vocation even if singleness is not (i mean if not giving it to God). So with vocations to celibacy we have - priesthood, religious life, consecrated life (consecrated virgins, hermits, secular institutes, etc). Vatican II made it very clear that the Laity has a cler vocation and call from God. Christifideles-laici - Vocation and Mission of The Laity 

Private vows don't involve a consecration. Neither are they religious life. Our Baptism and Confirmation is a Consecration - see Catholic Catechism #1294  Consecrated Life in its various forms builds on that consecration with a further consecrating taking the person out of the laity and into consecrated life. 

Soo... How do I not see them as some sort of no mans land :( If you research the teachings of The Church, it is clear that Laity is not, never any sort of "no man's land" - The Church states that the Laity are in the forefront of The Church and have very important and necessary roles to play.   

if its not a consecration what is it? Dedication? Private vows to the evangelical counsels according to Vita Consecrata (The Consecrated Life) is termed "a special consecration" via "dedicating oneself to God" Vita Consecrata - see "Thanksgiving for The Consecrated Life"  I have read that some educated women in Church matters would like "dedicated life" to distringuish private vows from consecrated life.  However, The Church has not made such a distinction other than in Vita Consecrata where dedicating oneself to God is termed "a special consecration".  My personal feelings are that a rose by any other name remains a rose i.e. I don't care what I am termed personally. I am simply what I am and call me what you will. A name cannot change facts.  

What does that mean?  If one has made private vows to the evangelical counsels, it means that the vows must be fulfilled (obliged to be fulfiled) under the Virtue of Religion.  If you wish to read more about private vows, consult Canon Law "Vows".  

Can you still see yourself as somehow given exclusively to God, maybe use the bridal imagery if that appeals to you? As a privately vowed person, I certainly see and experience my life as given totally and un reservedly to God. Bridal imagery does not appeal to me because of the real confusion and misunderstandings it can create in the minds of others even in Catholic minds too - who are not understanding what the bridal imagery is actually all about i.e. unity.   I'm still discerning my vocation but around this time my only possible option is private vows (I can't be a nun right at this moment and I don't know if ever), so I'd like to understand more :) thanks!

In discerning one's vocation, the very best option is spiritual direction.  Certainly, I would not advocate making private vows to the evangelical counsels without spiritual direction.  A director cannot tell you to either make or not make private vows - he or she can advise one however, without any obligation to take up that advice.  Private vows to the evangelical counsels to my mind are more, much much more, about a call to Lay Life than it is to any sort of quasi type of religious vows or living which they are not - again to my mind.  When I made private vows to the EC, I was conscious that it was the road that Jesus took i.e. poverty, chastity and obedience and as a lay person in His own times.  While all might not identify with that, it was the details of my own call and vocation.

Private Vows to the EC in the Laity is a vocation in its own right and not just a fallback because one cannot enter consecrated life for some reason.

When I was in religious life in my teens and asked about why I would seek to make vows to the evangelical counsels, my VD was very surprised at my answer. I was 16yrs of age.  She asked me who had told me or where I had read it.  I told her no one and nowhere.

As long as one is attracted to religious life or some form of consecrated life and has the necessary qualities, then I advocate very carefully and prayerfully discerning that vocation.  It is a holy and important call and vocation from God and in our day desperately needed as in none other.  The attraction and the necessary qualities are Gifts from God.

The problem we do have with private vows to the EC embracing the Laity vocation in secular life is that there is nothing official from The Church in one place..........one needs to research - and this reaps its reward with real gold on this vocation in many places from The Church.  There is even a theological movement being given consideration in Rome re a potential fourth category in Canon Law to bring private vows to the EC as it stands now into the consecrated state.  See "The Apostolate in Every Vocation to Follow Christ" (Fr Hardon - decd - was regarded as one of the most important theologians of the 20th century.........scroll down to "There is a fourth category contemplated by The Holy See".  Personally, while I hope The Church will make a 'one location statement' on private vows to the EC, I am hoping personally that there will not be a fourth category in consecrated life for this vocation -  which would keep the vocation intimately linked (as now) with the Laity and secular life. 

MLF, if you have more questions, do not hesitate - and other members may contribute more too.

 

And how do we find the vows?

I am not sure what you mean by the above, DH.

I renewed my life private vows (over 30 years standing) at a Home Mass with a few close friends and family attending.  My Archbishop gave approval for The Mass and for its reason.  My SD (priest religious) asked me to write my own vows which I submitted to him and he accepted.  My renewal of vows was made at the Offertory.  My residence was blessed at the same time and Father gave me certificates for the house blessing and vow renewal.

Under Canon Law, there is no reason for a dispensation of vows if one is transferring to a higher good (such as consecrated life).  A dispensation from a priest is required if one is transferring to a lesser good, or has decided to abandon the vows.  This does remain a serious step to take, since one has made vows to God.

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Thanks for the reply! Of course I believe the laity are important. I think what confused me is that most of the laity have some sort of other thing to mark a vocation: like the Sacrament of marriage. Though Baptism does set us apart for God, some become consecrated as a vocation in religious life or in the world. If private vows are a type of consecration, then it would just fit with the other forms of consecrated life.

But if not, as some call it a dedication, then its hard for me to understand what it is, because other Laity have either a Sacrament or a consecration, and this doesn't.

It is beautiful anyway... The day i did this was such a blessing i will always treasure. I do have an attraction to religious life but the main part of it is belonging fully and exclusively to Jesus, and if this happens in some other way, I would be glad too. However even if I become a nun, it would take time until i can pay loans etc and I would love to still commit myself more fully to God where I am... Whether I'll eventually take public vows or not. It is this wish to act somehow on this 'need' to give myself to God, that I made that promise and hope to say it again with my SD. :) 

Maybe DominicanHeart meant how they are said and done practically? Mine had zero ceremony and was just a prayer in my own words. If I do it again I'd love to make it more symbolic cause that helps me. I think mostly people would write their own vow, probably ask their SD what they think, and then say it... Either before or after Mass, or just in prayer, before an SD or not. He doesn't have have to be there even if he agrees its a good idea, but I think its nice if he is! Some people may want to get a ring and have it blessed, if they like the bridal imagery and that's meaningful to them. I wear a sterling silver wedding band engraved with "Ego Dilecto meo" (I am my Beloved's). Some people have more ceremony. :) its kind of up.to you!

If you make private viows then you simply carry on your life according to them for as long as you're bound and or discern otherwise. If you have an SD and priest to discuss and relate to then great. If your situation changes then you can discuss withdrawing from private vows.  The priest can do that, as in oversee and acknowledgethe withdrawal of vows. That could happen for loads of reasons, but a change in direction/vocation would be one. Beyond that I'm not sure what you're confused about.

just the distinction of them from other vocations and the fact that there's so little about them in Church law/documents .

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But if not, as some call it a dedication, then its hard for me to understand what it is, because other Laity have either a Sacrament or a consecration, and this doesn't.

What you are looking for I think, is a special Church ceremony specifically for private vows.  At this point, it does not exist as a formal Church ritual for private vows.  Will there be such a ceremony in the future? This remains to be seen. 

Vita Consecrata calls private vows to the EC a "special consecration" and Vita Consecrata is an Apostolic Exhortation out of Rome.  Also private vows fall under "Vows" in Canon Law.  As I said, our Baptism and Confirmation is a Consecration to the Laity - consecrated life and private vows build on that consecration.

What you are looking for, I think too, is the place of private vows in The Church.  It very clearly does have a place as The Church has acknowledged in many documents -  and as an important place and role in The Church.

I hope that you will make private vows with your SD if this is what you want.  I hope too that you will find your way into religious life if this is your desire.

God bless.

 http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19641121_lumen-gentium_en.html Lumen Gentium Dogmatic Constitution on The Church".(215) However, this holiness of the Church is unceasingly manifested, and must be manifested, in the fruits of grace which the Spirit produces in the faithful; it is expressed in many ways in individuals, who in their walk of life, tend toward the perfection of charity, thus causing the edification of others; in a very special way this (holiness) appears in the practice of the counsels, customarily called "evangelical." This practice of the counsels, under the impulsion of the Holy Spirit, undertaken by many Christians, either privately or in a Church-approved condition or state of life, gives and must give in the world an outstanding witness and example of this same holiness. "

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"Canon Law, there is no reason for a dispensation of vows if one is transferring to a higher good (such as consecrated life).  A dispensation from a priest is required if one is transferring to a lesser good, or has decided to abandon the vows.  This does remain a serious step to take, since one has made vows to God."

Yup :)

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Yes what I mean is, like do we Google the vows specifically to know what to say or as MaryslittleFlower said, just whatever is in our hearts?

Because it's personal between you and God, you can choose whether to just say what's in your heart at the time, or you can choose to prepare something a little more structured or formal in advance. Mine were made in a Cathedral in front of the Archbishop (who was a friend), so I chose to write them in advance. And I had my ring blessed as a sacramental. But many people simply make a vow or vows privately between themselves and God.'s 

I like Barb Home Mass version, but maybe not everyone feels comfortable having Mass in their own home. You can choose a way to make it something memorable for you. 

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What you are looking for I think, is a special Church ceremony specifically for private vows.  At this point, it does not exist as a formal Church ritual for private vows.  Will there be such a ceremony in the future? This remains to be seen. 

Vita Consecrata calls private vows to the EC a "special consecration" and Vita Consecrata is an Apostolic Exhortation out of Rome.  Also private vows fall under "Vows" in Canon Law.  As I said, our Baptism and Confirmation is a Consecration to the Laity - consecrated life and private vows build on that consecration.

What you are looking for, I think too, is the place of private vows in The Church.  It very clearly does have a place as The Church has acknowledged in many documents -  and as an important place and role in The Church.

I hope that you will make private vows with your SD if this is what you want.  I hope too that you will find your way into religious life if this is your desire.

God bless.

yes that's basically what I'm looking for :) I mean,there are consecrations that don't put you in a consecrated state (like Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary, which I've done). So is this similar? Or does it put us in consecrated life? Cause I'm thinking it could be a special consecration but also not a type of consecrated life (in the way religious etc are I mean).

I'm not saying that makes it unimportant, after all I'm hoping for it myself (once my SD decides its a good time) but it would be nice to understand it. However... Even without such detailed canon law understanding, I believe its truly the heart that matters. If someone wants to give themselves to God. . as long as its an approved way... Then its a beautiful loving thing. I believe Jesus is very happy with it too..I hope :)

Yes what I mean is, like do we Google the vows specifically to know what to say or as MaryslittleFlower said, just whatever is in our hearts?

Hopefully others can confirm :) that's what I've been told. It can be good to write it out and show a priest 

 

It would be nice to read some examples from Saints or history .. Just how this is done... Like do you say "I vow chastity to Our Lord Jesus Christ for (how long)"? Mine was totally in my own words

Edited by MarysLittleFlower
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Because it's personal between you and God, you can choose whether to just say what's in your heart at the time, or you can choose to prepare something a little more structured or formal in advance. Mine were made in a Cathedral in front of the Archbishop (who was a friend), so I chose to write them in advance. And I had my ring blessed as a sacramental. But many people simply make a vow or vows privately between themselves and God.'s 

I like Barb Home Mass version, but maybe not everyone feels comfortable having Mass in their own home. You can choose a way to make it something memorable for you. 

Absolutely, one can choose how one makes private vows including in complete secrecy from all, while some forms more formal might ask agreement by a Church authority of some kind, priest or bishop.  My ring and neck chain cross were also blessed at the Home Mass.  Also, one can make them in the secrecy of their own hearts if they desire as Vita Consecrata (link in pervious post) acknowledges . "Together let us thank God for the Religious Orders and Institutes devoted to contemplation or the works of the apostolate, for Societies of Apostolic Life, for Secular Institutes and for other groups of consecrated persons, as well as for all those individuals who, in their inmost hearts, dedicate themselves to God by a special consecration

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Absolutely, one can choose how one makes private vows including in complete secrecy from all, while some forms more formal might ask agreement by a Church authority of some kind, priest or bishop.  My ring and neck chain cross were also blessed at the Home Mass.  Also, one can make them in the secrecy of their own hearts if they desire as Vita Consecrata (link in pervious post) acknowledges . "Together let us thank God for the Religious Orders and Institutes devoted to contemplation or the works of the apostolate, for Societies of Apostolic Life, for Secular Institutes and for other groups of consecrated persons, as well as for all those individuals who, in their inmost hearts, dedicate themselves to God by a special consecration

I love how you back up your posts with information from the Church. Thank you.

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