Toward a Sacralization of the Religious Vows?
Religious Consecration and the Solemnity of the Vow in Thomas Aquinas’s Works
This article examines how the notion of consecration became a key-concept for Thomas Aquinas’s understanding of religious vows. It demonstrates how his conception of religious vows progressively moved away from the human and contractual perspective, developed in his early works, like in his Commentary of the Sentences. Under the influence of the controversies with the Parisian secular masters, he developed a spiritual understanding of the vows, first outlined in his three opuscules on religious life and more precisely formulated in the Summa theologiae. He insisted, therefore, more strongly on God’s action who consecrates the monk or the nun. This new emphasis also coincides with a deepening of Thomas’s theology of grace.