The Vows We Profess
Saturday, January 15, 2011 by Fr. Santo Arrigo C.Ss.R.

Poverty

This is living the common life. Jesus lived a life of simplicity reminding us that it is not the “things” in life that are important but rather the people in our lives. The vow of poverty means that we hold everything in common. We contribute to the common pot what we earn and we take from the common pot what we need.

Chastity

Chastity is a call to faithfulness. Like Married couples called to live in chastity, we care called to be faithful to live out our commitment as professed Redemptorists.

We live our vow of chastity by being celibate since none of us are married. Celibacy prohibits sexual or romantic relationships. It implies a giving of generous love that is not exclusive. Jesus is the model of celibate love as he loved all people equally.

Obedience

Obedience says that there is someone in our lives whose opinion should be respected in a special way. Married couples are obedient to each other. Religious priests, brothers and sisters are obedient to their community. The community is represented by the superior. For Redemptorists, the vow of obedience reminds us that we belong to a group in Canada with a common mission. This common mission sometimes has to take precedence over our own personal wishes and desires.

Vow and Oath of Perseverance

This last vow is not a traditional vow. Instead, St. Alphonsus incorporated the vow and oath of perseverance as a way of entrusting the commitment of those who were making a final commitment to the Congregation.

Today, Redemptorists profess the Vow and Oath of Perseverance at Final Profession.

The Evanglical Counsels

The “evangelical counsels” of poverty, chastity and obedience distinguishes our common life. At the heart of a religious vocation are the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. At the end of novitiate one becomes a Redemptorist when he publicly commits himself to the mission of the congregation and to the three vows. At first these vows are made only for a period of three years, but with the intention of making them for life. After three years in temporary vows there is an opportunity for final (permanent) vows. In our secular world these vows make little sense unless they are seen as a way to unite ourselves closer to Christ the Redeemer. In a true sense the vows are life-giving. It is true that in our world of limitless opportunities any choice is regarded as an unnecessary limitation. The happiness Jesus invites us to seek is a joy that comes with fidelity and commitment and caring for others (or another) more than ourselves.