I am delighted to learn that a friend of mine, Br Paul Rowse, O.P., has been accepted to make solemn vows as a Dominican Friar on the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the 19th of June this year. Well I remember the Master of the Order clothing him with the white wool of St Dominic on Trinity Sunday 2003, marking his reception as a novice; while (owing to work commitments) I most likely, unfortunately, will be unable to attend the ceremony at St Dominic's, East Camberwell, in Melbourne, I do pray and give thanks to God that Br Paul may live and die a religious - and, one day, a priest - through his upcoming enunciation of his vow usque ad mortem, the formula of which would run as follows:
I, brother Paul Rowse, make profession,
and promise obedience to God,
to blessed Mary, to blessed Dominic,
and to you, brother Kevin Saunders,
Prior Provincial of the Province of the Assumption,
in place of brother Carlos Azpiroz Costa,
Master of the Order of Friars Preachers
and his successors,
according to the rule of blessed Augustine
and the Constitutions of the Friars Preachers
that I will be obedient to you and to your successors,
The Dominican formula of solemn vows is notable in that it is an oath of obedience, since by promising to observe the rule and Constitutions of the Order it includes the avowal of poverty, chastity, and all else that a religious and a Friar Preacher must undertake to observe as a holocaust of himself to the Lord. The vow is a free oblation to God, willingly laying aside things lawful in themselves that the great race may be run in liberty without hindrance, the better to serve the Lord and carry out His evangelical mission after His own model and that of His Apostles; and is at once also made to Our Lady - a consecration to and through her to the Lord - and an entrustment to the Apostolic Patriarch Dominic, the man of the Lord, to live after his pattern and so more closely, more surely and more sacrificially cleave unto Him, for His glory, for the preaching of the Gospel and the salvation of souls.
The vow taken must be lived! The religious life is defined as the state of acquiring perfection (that most high calling that all must strive to answer, but the vowed in a most strict way). Please pray that Br Paul, and many more like him, may, following in the footsteps of Our Divine Master (himself the Model and engenderer of obedience, poverty and chastity in the service of the Father in the salvation of all), of Our Lady (and her unceasing Fiat) and of all saintly religious moved by the Holy Spirit, give themselves to God for His honour and glory and the salvation of mankind.