You’ll notice that there was very little activity today. That is because today was the vow day for most Jesuits: August 15, Feast of the Assumption. We the Scholastics who write here made our first vows in these words:
Almighty and eternal God, I, N., though altogether most unworthy in your divine sight, yet relying on your infinite goodness and mercy and moved with a desire of serving you, in the presence of the most holy Virgin Mary and your whole heavenly court, vow to your Divine Majesty perpetual poverty, chastity, and obedience in the Society of Jesus; and I promise that I shall enter that same Society in order to lead my entire life in it, understanding all things according to its Constitutions. Therefore I suppliantly beg your immense Goodness and Clemency, through the blood of Jesus Christ, to deign to receive this holocaust in an odor of sweetness; and that just as you gave me the grace to desire and offer this, so you will also bestow abundant grace to fulfill it.
Following this profession, we all received the eucharist from our Provincial. After that moment, we were Jesuits, though we also made a promise to enter into the Society. Unlike other Orders, these first vows are not temporal but perpetual. But they are perpetual conditional vows. The condition is this: “If the Society will desire to retain them. For although they on their own side bind themselves perpetually for their devotion and stability” the Society can still dismiss a man under certain conditions. But from this moment on in the perspective of the new vowed man, a new way of proceeding takes over. One is no longer in charge of his own life. A vowed Jesuit is “free to represent his thoughts and what occurs to him,” says Ignatius, but “he should be ready in everything to hold as better that which his superior judges to be so.”
This is a special day for all Jesuits. Please pray for each of us that we have the “abundant grace to fulfill” those vows that we have offered up to the Divine Majesty.