When you take a vow the spiritual benefits will overtake you. What do I mean? Well, when you take a vow, to become a Catholic, or to be married, or to be a monk, or to be a religious sister, and when you take it for life, and when you promise to stick to it through thick or thin no matter what, then what you are really doing is, at a very profound level of your life, submitting yourself to the Divine Providence.
The Value of Vows
You are saying to God, “Whatever you want to do with me through this commitment. I’m yours.” You’re saying, “I believe that you are in charge and I am going to pursue this commitment no matter what because I believe that through this submission to whatever comes you know me better than I know me.” You are saying, “Because you know me better than I know me, then I am accepting whatever comes, no matter what. You are there in the good times and the bad. You are there bringing me home and doing the best for me even when I can’t see it —especially when I can’t see it.”
Now when we do this the graces that come thundering through are like Niagra. When we submit to God in this radical way he takes control of our lives and works a marvel, and when we are tempted to cop out. When we are tempted to run. When we are tempted to seek relief, when we are tempted to change our mind and tell God that he doesn’t know what he’s doing and we know best after all and we want our comfort blanket and we want some respite, then that’s just the time when we might be learning the most and when we duck and run for cover it might just be back to square one for us.
Furthermore, the sobering thing is that this endurance test, through which we learn the difficult lessons of love, this is not just for the Mother Teresa’s of this world. It’s for every single baptized Christian. This is the universal call to holiness, and it means this: that sooner or later in one way or another we are going to have ourselves knocked into shape.
It was all there in the gospel on Sunday: the Father is the vinedresser. The branches that bear fruit he prunes to bear more fruit, and that hurts. If you’re being pruned right now, take heart!
Then there is the more sobering part: the branches that bear no fruit he cuts off and throws onto the fire.
The fact of the matter is, the Christian life is tough. Can you take it?