It is my understanding that Catholics teach that you can commute personal vows to an equal good. What exactly does an equal good mean? Like if you said you were giving something up then decided to give something else up because it was harder to give the first thing up is that equal good? For example someone gives up tv for a while but changes it to something else because they get anxious without tv at night? Thank you
These are not the sort of things one ought to be making **vows **about. Giving up TV? Vows also ought not be something that is open ended and vague like that.
If you have trouble with making vows, talk to your pastor. Vows should not be undertaken without spiritual direction especially if one makes vows compulsively.
If one “gets anxious” without TV at night, one has something else going on and you might want to talk to someone about anxiety.
VOWS are promises made, usually at critical times in
one’s life so that one could BELIEVE in victory in a matter.
One example is Jephthah who vowed in battle that he
will devote to God something IF HE CAN WIN the battle
against the Ammonites. God gave him the victory but
demanded his daughter in exchange.
Our vows are an indication of how MUCH we want what
we are sacrificing for, Jesus told His disciples NOT to
vow, but let our yes be yes and no, no. Matt 5:34, so it
is obvious that vows are prompted by satan who wants
us to DOUBT whether God will give us victory in some
area of our lives.
It is not wise to make personal vows without spiritual direction as stated above.
If someone has already done this and feels the need to get out of a personal vow, a priest may release him from it if he feels it is prudent to do so.
This is wildly incorrect. When someone enters religious life, the Counsels are not temptations of the Evil One.
OP - Do you understand the more basic things about a vow? What exactly a vow is, for instance? That’s important for answering your question.
In any event, you should not be the one doing the commuting - it should be done under obedience (through a director or pastor or bishop).
Sorry, I think you are correct concerning PUBLIC vows
as in Holy Orders, but I am referring to private, personal
vows, I see them as more influenced by the devil than
for the benefit of the vower.
Currently I’m reading the autobiography of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque. At a very early age she felt an irresistible urge to make a private vow of chastity - she didn’t even know what that was, but she did it.
This is a bit extraordinary, but it is a long tradition in the Church to make private vows. I also seem to remember reading that Cardinal Newman had knowingly made such a vow at the age of 11. (These are more to be admired than imitated…) These vows also have a clearly defined standing in canon law.
The words of Our Lord are simply not speaking about such things - they were aimed at the obsessive tendency at the time to invoke God as a witness, or to swear on His honor, etc… which is an abuse of His Name. It is essentially a second commandment issue. And yes, turning every little thing into a promise to God is a bad, bad idea. If this is what you are talking about, yes, you are right. “I promise You, God, I am going to get an A on my test,” “that I am going to buy my son a schnauser,” “that I will dye my hair green,” etc.
FWIW, I would submit that Martin Luther made a good private vow on the ship that one night during the storm. How he carried it out is another matter.
Of course God can use what satan intended
as binding to give His Children more freedom
to serve Him and their fellow man!!
Taking personal vows is just silly. We’re already obliged to do God’s will, so why vow to do just that? It seems to me an exercise of self-will and therefore something to be avoided at all costs.