At one time in my life I hastily made two promises to God:
1-) Never commit a certain sin;
2-) Never drink coffee again.
Certainly, promise 1 should never have been made, but I digress. My question is twofold:
Is it possible to be commute those two promises?
How should I proceed?
First, let’s get some definitions straight. We have to consider promises and vows. Also, you mean dispense, not commute.
A mutual promise, the breaking of which would harm the other party, is binding in justice. Breaking it would be at least a venial sin. Simple promises, proposed and accepted, bind only under pain of venial sins unless the the one making the promise also intended to bind himself in justice. However, the promise ceases if the circumstances under which the promise was made change significantly. A promise, furthermore, must be distinguished from a mere intention to do something. Diocesan priests make promises at the time of their ordination to their diocesan bishops.
A vow, on the other hand, is a promise to God made freely and deliberately to perform some good work or to embrace a higher state of life. The fulfillment of a vow is an obligation of the virtue of Religion (i.e., what we owe to God, rather than to men). Vows can be public (e.g., of monks and nuns) or private, simple or solemn (e.g., religious vows), personal or real (i.e., concerning property). A vow binds only the one making the vow. Vows made under grave extrinsic fear inflicted unjustly are null and void.
It sounds like you made a private vow to God.
Vows should not be undertaken lightly. It is a good idea to consult with one’s pastor or spiritual director or trusted priest before making a vow of any kind. Often in moments of despair or intense spiritual fervor, people make vows which they later come to regret. Some people simply “walk away”, ignore what they vowed. Vows should not be blown off, lightly.
Canon Law and moral theology remind us that a vow is a serious thing.
Can. 1191 says that: “A vow is a deliberate and free promise made to God, concerning some good which is possible and positively good. The virtue of religion requires that it be fulfilled.”
Can. 1196 tells us that a private vow can be dispensed (as long as dispensing the vow does not injure the rights of another) by the Roman Pontiff (i.e., the Pope), the local Ordinary (i.e., the diocesan bishop or his vicar general) or the parish priest (with respect to his subjects), a religious superior (with respect to his subjects, any novices, or residents of his house), or someone who has been duly delegated by the Holy See or the local Ordinary.
At the time the 1983 Code was put together, a suggestion was made to the Holy See that this power to dispense from vows be given to all confessors (i.e., priests with proper faculties to receive sacramental confessions and to give absolution validly). This was rejected. It remains today that only the Pope, ordinaries, and pastors have this authority.
I believe that in some dioceses, bishops delegate this authority to all confessors, or at least all parish priests, including parochial vicars. NB: Priests should occasionally review their faculties and remind themselves of what they can and cannot absolve, dispense, commute, etc.
So, if you are now ready to start ordering lots of Mystic Monk Coffee, I would make an appointment with your parish priest, or the vicar general or the bishop of the diocese. Explain the situation.
Don’t just blow this off! Vows bind under pain of sin. People harm themselves and weaken the whole Body of Christ when they screw up their relationships with God through sin and the breaking of vows.
BTW… Mystic Monk also has TEA. I’m just sayin’