by: Fr. Robert Leus, CJM
Most of us are familiar with the stages of formation in a religious community. It is usually started from aspirancy to perpetual profession and one of the highlights of the celebration is committing oneself to the congregation and to the Church and to profess publicly the famous “evangelical vows” – the three evangelical vows.
The vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience where in our gospel today, explicitly say that those who are sent in and to mission are “vowed” persons also.
In the Gospel of St. Mark, after some series of orientations and teachings, Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority.
On his instruction, we can identify that the “three” vows are included, and it will be done together with the mission and the way of life.
The Vow of Poverty.
It is very clear that “take nothing for the journey but a walking stick – no food, no sack, no money in their belts.”
This instruction connotes the simplicity of life and to rely everything in God’s providential care.
Everything we need God already knows.
It is already in God’s own plan but because his love for us is overflowing, he let us decide with the gift of freedom we received.
And we must live day-by-day in the presence of God and let God be God in our lives.
The Vow of Chastity.
“To wear sandals but not a second tunic,” depicts the vow of chastity or celibacy. Wearing sandals means we need to be open and transparent of our lives especially when we are sent in a mission.
People nowadays usually look for the physicality of a human person and because we are visual, thoughts are coming in and sometimes we can’t help but entertain it.
But we are taught “to be holy because our Father in heaven is holy!”
The “second tunic” refers to those persons who bound themselves in the covenant of matrimony.
In this “vow,” God united two persons into one and no one can separate them until death.
It is also applicable to those consecrated persons who “vowed” their personhood to Jesus and to the Church. They “married” Jesus and the Church.
The Vow of Obedience.
Upon hearing the instructions, they went off and preached repentance, drove out many demons, and they anointed the sick and cure them.
They obeyed what Jesus told them.
Like Jesus who does the will of the Father, we are also challenged, to be obedient to follow God’s commands and teachings.
In doing so, we are acknowledging God’s presence and authority over us.
The three vows were given to us for reflection and to imbibe it in our lives.
Loving Father, we praise and worship you every moment of our lives and as we continue to live the “vows” may you unite us for us to proclaim the beauty of the “Word of God!” We make this prayer through Chris our Lord. Amen.