Vow of Nonviolence

The Vow of Nonviolence was composed by Eileen Egan and Rev. John Dear, S.J. Tens of thousands of people have taken the Vow. The Vow of Nonviolence can be pronounced privately, with a local peace community, as part of a parish liturgy, or any other way that suits you. Many profess the Vow each year as part of their New Year observance. 

RECOGNIZING THE VIOLENCE IN MY OWN HEART, yet trusting in the goodness and mercy of God, I vow for one year to practice the nonviolence of Jesus who taught us in the Sermon on the Mount:

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons and daughters of God…You have learned how it was said, ‘You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy'; but I say to you, Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. In this way, you will be daughters and sons of your Creator in heaven.”

Before God the Creator and the Sanctifying Spirit, I vow to carry out in my life the love and example of Jesus

  • by striving for peace within myself and seeking to be a peacemaker in my daily life;
  • by accepting suffering rather than inflicting it;
  • by refusing to retaliate in the face of provocation and violence;
  • by persevering in nonviolence of tongue and heart;
  • by living conscientiously and simply so that I do not deprive others of the means to live;
  • by actively resisting evil and working nonviolently to abolish war and the causes of war from my own heart and from the face of the earth.

God, I trust in Your sustaining love and believe that just as You gave me the grace and desire to offer this, so You will also bestow abundant grace to fulfill it.

Click on these links for a PDF version of the Vow of Nonviolence in English and Spanish.

20 responses to “Vow of Nonviolence

  1. I applaud the vow of non-violence. Each of us can make it more real and comprehensive in her or his own way. Can peace groups like Pax Christi
    work in a more focused and coordinated manner within its membership and with other peace groups? To me, unemployment and underemployment are forms of violence. To address these forms of violence calls for study and responsible citizenship.

    But as we approach 2012 let us emphasize the light graced story which Pax Christi is part of.

  2. New Year’s Eve/Day is a good time for believers to inspect our hearts and repent of any violent or unloving thoughts. And John, you’re right, it’s not just the big issues that matter; it’s how we treat and consider our family, our neighbors, even ourselves. Thank you for this; it will help me stay focused on what’s real.

  3. I vow to nonviolence. I will keep this in my,heart forever and always

  4. I took thePax Christi vow of nonviolence on February 9, 1986…I’m still striving…

  5. Made the vow, a part of the traditional vows of poverty, chastity and obedience upon my profession as Franciscan Brother

  6. Thank you, Friends, for this reminder. Will share widely…including within OccupyPgh community…and will hope & pray Christians the world over will make & practice this vow. Shalom, Salaam, Peace.

  7. Pingback: Making a nonviolent vow. « Living in Hebel

  8. In the Gospel of Luke 12:6 we read, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.” I feel that a crucial component of nonviolence that should be addressed by Pax Christi is the unimaginable violence inflicted by humans on our sentient, suffering cousins in fins, fur, and feathers. Worldwide about six million sentient, suffering land animals are killed every hour of every day (53 billion per year) to satisfy an unnatural appetite for flesh that is at odds with our natural constitution as primates and at odds with God’s repeated call for mercy and compassion instead of sacrifice. The Biblical ideal is one of an vegan Eden and indeed the prophet Isaiah (11:6-9) envisions a return to that vegan Eden where we will offer peace to the rest of Creation. For 99% of all people on the planet there is absolutely no need to eat the flesh, eggs, or milk of other beings. Indeed, vegan choices are potentially the single-most radical change one can make in their life to practice nonviolence and to reconcile their lives with the notion of a good and holy Creation. I encourage you to watch this beautiful 4-minute video that makes the connections between peace, nonviolence and veganism: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NMOfIu56LQ

    • Thank you for sharing this link and your comments Stephen. I encourage you to sign up for our PCUSA GReen mail email network if you haven’t already (PCUSA Global Restoration/Care for Creation Committee) on the E-NETWORKS tab on our website. Please also check out the links on our Global Restoration page of the PROGRAMS tab.

  9. John Anthony Boylan

    Pace. e Bene! Always and everywhere!

  10. Pingback: Dexter, theology, the Bible and Christ-like non-violence

  11. Does it prevent you from defending yourself from attack? And if so, do you not have a responsibility to your family to protect yourself?

    Does your vow of nonviolence prevent you from rescuing a child being beaten or raped?

  12. Pingback: “Wreck It Ralph” and the shooting at the elementary school in Connecticut today

  13. I have taken the non-violence vow. I invite others to join me in a vow to not watch gun violence, not on television, nor at the movies, nor in video games.Watching gun violence de-sensitizes us to its destructiveness and exposes our children to images they should never see as a normal part of life.

  14. Yes, I have taken the Vow of Non-violence and hope everyone also participates. How can we refuse when guns can cut down 27 people in an instant! We need to raise awareness of the dangers of assault weapons in our society.

  15. Sharing this link with you as well – for a beloved, free resource called A New Moment – it shares a little more about the Vow of Nonviolence and the Pax Christi model of prayer, study and action http://paxchristiusa1.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/a-new-moment-1.pdf

  16. Kathleen Barbera-Keen

    “Taming” is a wonderful and powerful skill to develop. Violent people are emotionally vulnerable and unstable. A calm countenance, in the face of that instability, can take the energy of that aggitation and turn it in another direction.
    The expectation of the violent person is that you will meet him/her with violence. By not responding in kind, you change the script and have the opportunity to write an ending that is without damage to you or the other person. You can do this by connecting to the humanity of the other person, rather than to their fearful and threatening persona. By holding up to them your vision of the beauty of their own innate goodness, you bring them to civility and even to grace.
    Once confronted by a man with a knife, I said to him, “A knife?! You weren’t going to use a knife on me! You’re not the kind of person who uses a knife on people.
    He hung his head and said, “Naw, I just have it for protection”.
    By defining that man in a different way, he experienced his own joy at being seen to be good. God gave me the grace to respond that way.

  17. Pingback: Vowing Nonviolence: What Does It Mean? | Vox Nova

  18. Pingback: Ascension of the Lord Lectionary Reflection June 1, 2014 | peaceonjustice

  19. Pingback: Ascension of the Lord June 1, 2014 Lectionary Reflection | San Pedro Region Social Justice Ministry

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