Living out Our Vows
This past weekend my brother Sydney and I made our final profession of vows! It was a moment of great joy but was accompanied by some nervousness and a sense of responsibility. Leading up to this moment were many nights reflecting on what the Evangelical Councils (vows) mean to me; chastity, poverty, and obedience. Much can be said about these vows and over the next few weeks I will write a brief reflection about each one.
As Oblates we also take a 4th vow, as some other religious orders do, and that vows is called Perseverance. Originally the vow was put in place so that the priests who joined the congregation, would remain with the congregation and the community in case they were called back to the diocese. It was/is a way, according to our Constitutions to “Publically attest our attachment to our religious family and our definitive commitment to its mission.”
As I thought about this vow in particular, it seemed to be more like a real and personal commitment to my community and, in a way, publically professing my love for them. For better or for worse, when they are sick or when they are healthy, when they drive me crazy or when I drive them crazy! Does this all sound a little familiar? It should because this is not unlike what a married couple will express to each other during the sacrament of marriage. But in order for me to digest the vow, live the vow and integrate the vow I need to continually reflect upon it and not just let it go at final profession. The same would apply toward a married couple. Once the vows are made a continual visit to what the vows mean becomes essential for the unity of the couple.
But as a religious it is a sign of fidelity, and though perseverance is directly implied in the other three vows, there is something that calls me to considerate it in a deep and spiritual way. Perseverance as a vow calls me to realize that when I make this vow as a sign of fidelity, I vow never to give up on my brother Oblates and they will not give up on me either. They will help me and support me in times of trial and I will do the same for them. It will be together, as a community, that we will grow in our fulfillment of our Baptism by upholding each other and continually looking at each other through the eyes of Christ.
Last weekend I made this vow “FOR LIFE.” It needs to be ingrained into my very being so I may let my brothers know that I will always be there for them. I will always try my best to provide the love, support and care that they need.
Wouldn’t it be a blessing if the entire world could make this one vow to each other?
This week I would ask you to pray for Bros. Gabriel Sobrevilla Alvarado and Juan Gaspar as they begin their internship year and focus deeply on the vows as their own final professions approach.