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Jesuits take Final Vow - Jesuits of North-West Africa Province | Society of Jesus

Gratitude Magazine March 2015 Edition

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Jesuits take Final Vow

The essence of religious life is rooted in the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. After two years of novitiate, the Jesuit pronounces first vows, which are perpetual. If the first vows are perpetual, what is the purpose of final vows? This is the question that stares many in the face. After the first vows, a Jesuit is committed to the Society of Jesus, but the Society becomes definitively committed to the Jesuit after final vows. Final vows mean final incorporation or membership in the Society of Jesus. Before pronouncing final vows, Jesuits must complete a Third Year of Probation or Tertianship (Norms, Part V, 120), which is the School of the Heart for renewing and deepening the fervor of his Jesuit life. Although tertianship is called the “third year of probation,” there is an interval of many years between the two years of novitiate and this “third year” or tertianship. During tertianship, a Jesuit brings to completion “a synthesis of spiritual, apostolic, and intellectual or technical formation…” (Norms, Part V, 125). Tertianship is one of St. Ignatius’ innovations in religious life (Harney, 1962, p. 106); after tertianship, those admitted to final vows are required to be “outstanding in the following of Christ proposed to us in the Gospels…” (Norms, Part V, 120). The Society requires at least ten full years of formation before a Jesuit takes final vows (GC 31, d. 11, no. 2; GC 32, d. 10, no. 1; Norms, Part V, 119). A fourth vow of obedience to the Pope that some Jesuit priests pronounce during the solemn vows places the entire Society and its members “at the complete and absolute disposal of the vicar of Christ, for any service whatsoever” in any part of the world (De Guibert, 1964, p. 595).

 

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