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Charthusian Vows

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Carthusians actually profess vows of Obedience, Conversion of Life and Stability. Poverty and Chartity are implied in the vow of Conversion, although the vow contains much more. So, officially and canonically there are three vows. Morally and religiously the observance is of the five vows.

With the rise on non-monastic orders which didn't have the context to observe the monastic vows, poverty and chastity were teased out of the monastic vows to constitue the "religious vows".

There has been a long debate in the Catholic Church about the difference of monastic verses religious vows, and of the differences in the monastic and religious states of life. Before Vat II it was said there were two main types of consecrated states of life: the monastic and the religious. The monastic life was generally viewed to be something more involved and demanding than the religious life. We used to see this especially in the distinction of Nuns and Sisters. Nuns had solemn vows and were strictly cloistered. Sisters has simple vows and were uncloistered.

Of course, final monastic vows are always solemn and meant to be permanent and non-dispensible or irrevocable. Religious vows when final, more often than not, are Simple, meaning they do not have quite the gravity and irrevocable permanence of Solemn perpetual vows. The Church has tried to be careful in not allowing people to publicly bind themselves in ways that may eventually not be possible to fulfill or sustain.

When a Carthusian professes Conversion of Life, what is included in the vow is perpetual cloister in eremetical solitude, silence, the Divine Office, observance of the Statutes and the practice of the spirituality contained within them, and a Charitable participation in the common life of the Charterhouse. Conversion also requires the constant effort to really change ones ways, mentality, attitudes, behaviors, values and beliefs to perfectly return to God's Will and Ways conformed to the Divine Wisdom of the Divine Word Incarnate, Our Lord Jesus Christ. It's really a promise for a total transformation, Transfiguration, divinization, deification, complete Christification.

The Carthusian vow of Stability makes one a perpetual monk of the Charterhouse of his first profession ( one is always known as Monk of Chartreuse, or Monk of Transfiguration, etc. regardless of where you go or how long you stay) and always gives one a place to return to once other assignments are completed for the good of the Order. Stability also binds one to the Order and at its service and disposal, and makes one available for assignment to any other house of the Order. The ancient monastic practice of ascetical exile from home is kept alive by such a practice. One has to be detached even from ones establishedness in a community of choice and ready to leave at a moments notice to where God will send him.

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