Q. What is a vow?
A. A vow is a voluntary promise made to God, to carry out a more perfect act.
Q. Is a vow binding in a matter which is the object of a commandment?
A. Yes. The carrying out of an act which is the object of a commandment has a double value and merit; and the neglect of such an act is a double transgression and evil, because by breaking such a vow we add to the sin against the commandment, the sin of sacrilege.
Q. Why do religious vows have such value?
A. Because they are the foundation of the religious life approved by the Church, in which the members bound together in a religious community undertake to strive always for perfection by means of the three religious vows of poverty, chastity and obedience,observed according to the rules.
Q. What is the meaning of the words, “strive for perfection?”
A. To strive for perfection means that the religious life does not in itself demand that perfection be already attained, but obliges, under the pain of sin, that we work daily to attain it. Therefore, a religious who does not want to become perfect neglects his principal duty of state.
Q. What are “solemn” religious vows?
A. “Solemn” religious vows are so absolute that, in extraordinary cases, only the HolyFather can dispense from them.
Q. What are simple religious vows?
A. These are vows which are less absolute – the Holy See dispenses from perpetual and annual vows.
Q. What is the difference between a vow and a virtue?
A. A vow pertains only to that which is commanded under pain of sin; the virtue goes beyond this and helps in the carrying out of the vow; on the other hand, by breaking the vow we fail in the virtue and do it damage.
Q. To what do the religious vows oblige us?
A. The religious vows oblige us to strive to acquire the virtues and to submit ourselves completely to our Superiors and to the Rules which are in force; thus, the religious gives his own person to the Community, renouncing every right over himself and his actions,which he sacrifices to the service of God. The Vow of Poverty 49 The vow of poverty is the voluntary renunciation of the right over property or to the use of such property with the purpose of pleasing God.
Q. What objects does the vow of poverty concern?
A. All those goods and those objects which appertain to the Community. We have no longer any right over anything that has been given to us, once it has been accepted,whether an article or money. All these donations and presents, which may have been given us out of gratitude or in any other way, belong by right to the Community. We cannot make use, without violating the vow, of any wages we may receive for work or even any annuity.