fr.-griffin-reflections

Vincentian View: “Promises”

I have been thinking about promises.

On Easter Sunday, I joined with a Christian community in renewing my baptismal promises.  I am sure that many of you did as well.  I rejected Satan and his empty promises, and I confessed my belief in the central teachings of our faith as captured in the creed.  With the other gathered members of the Church, I needed to speak my resolve out loud and acknowledge distinctly our core convictions. The whole process is very life-giving.  One feels the commitment which joins one to the Church.  We promise to be faithful Catholic women and men.

On Monday the 9th, I had the privilege of being with the Daughters of Charity in Bayside for the celebration of the Annunciation.  On this Solemnity, all the members of the Company throughout the world take a quiet moment to renew their vows.  Once again they promise the Lord to be poor, chaste and obedient in their service of our neediest brothers and sister.  These promises take place in silence.  No ringing of bells or sounds of applause accompany the moment, just the peaceful commitment of a consecrated soul.  A solemn promise.

On Friday the 13th, two members of my Province —Luis and Leo—took vows.  These promises are public and final.  Few words of a confrere have the same weight as those which express his willingness to give himself and his whole life to the poor in the Congregation of the Mission.  Each man pledges to work beside me as long as we live.  We promise each other to be vowed witnesses and servants of the Gospel as we follow the Lord minister after the way of St. Vincent.

And so, the importance of promises/vows.  They are ways and means by which we bring ourselves to bear around values and persons.  In their simplest and most radical form, they are simply a way to say “yes” without qualification.  And the “yes” embraces the whole of one’s life.  The practice of the Daughters of Charity to renew their vows on the Solemnity of the Annunciation allows the model of Mary to come to the center.  With her fiat, she freely changes her life.  May the ways in which we make our promises follow and be supported by her intercession and example.


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