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Friends, in today’s Gospel, the Lord teaches his way about oaths and vows.

Although Jesus prohibited oath-taking, the tradition of the Church has allowed oaths “made for grave and right reasons,” for example, in court. But the Church has traditionally employed vows to sustain the commitments of priests and religious so that they may, as the Catechism puts it, “conform themselves more fully to the obedient Christ.” 

For example, vows have sustained the holiness of many women religious who have become saints, including St. Katharine Drexel, a philanthropist who shows us what justice looks like when it is invaded by love; Thérèse of Lisieux, a Doctor of the Church whose “little way” demonstrates a prudence radicalized by Christ; St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), a philosopher and martyr who is an icon of evangelical courage; and St. Teresa of Kolkata, a missionary of charity who embodies the power of poverty and asceticism when placed in the service of Jesus.