Rules of private vows?

This might seem like a silly question, but I have an over-scrupulous personality, so it’s really been bothering me. Anyway, I made a personal vow to God to omit a certain activity, and to show God that I was serious, I vowed on pain of forfeiting all my blessings. I broke the vow one time, and I intend to keep it in the future. However, the fact that I vowed on pain of such a serious penalty is hanging over my head. So I have two questions:

  1. Do personal vows even work like that? Can you vow to omit an activity on pain of a penalty that you choose, or is it soley God’s prerogative to decide what the penalty will be if you break a vow?

  2. If it is valid to vow on pain of forfeiting your blessings, is there anyway to get dispensation?

Again, I’m sorry if this seems ridiculous, but it is really eating away at me.

“Private vow” can signify several things things, and it would not be wise for me to speculate about the meaning with which you use that term.

However, raising the question is neither ridiculous nor silly, but I would recommend that you raise it with your pastor. Church law gives pastors the powers of dispensation regarding private vows, but again, I’m not certain of how you are using the term. So again, I recommend contacting your pastor.

Set up an appointment with a holy, orthodox priest, pray the Rosary before the meeting that God give him light, and explain the situation to him. Your questions are very serious, not silly or scrupulous in the least bit. I wouldn’t make that sort of vow again, with a penalty anyway. For the future, my suggestion would be to maybe give yourself a penance for breaking a vow, or ask the priest for a penance (as obedience adds graces). God Bless.

I would not make vows without the consent of my Confessor. Be careful here; go to a wise Priest and take his counsel (and not that of the Internet*).

  • take that the kind way I mean it. :thumbsup:
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