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Mind-blowing thinks about the Evangelical counsels


Once, when I was little and sharing the room with Christine (dewd, some things don’t change), she was not falling asleep and I could tell, so being the older/ wiser sister that I was/ am, I asked, “Christine what’s the matter?”

She was like, “I don’t understand it! I know that God created everything, but all I can think about is: when did He begin? But! I know He didn’t begin! So then I think about things that have been around for a long time, like the world! But God made the world, so he had to be before that, too, but my mind can’t think that far back!”

And then she almost started crying.

Nothing like pondering then mysteries of the universe when you’re three years old and still require a teddy bear music box to put you to bed each night.

But, let’s be real, that’s kind of where most of us still are, right? God being way bigger than we can understand. But, sometimes I forget that and when I’m reminded again, which is an awesome place to be. And it happened again last week!

A really cool friend of mine went on retreat and attended confession on retreat (reconciled with GOD ALMIGHTY, people, it’s gigantic) and the priest told something so cool about the Evangelical counsels.

This is our beloved Father Pio Maria. He's a Franciscan.
This is our beloved Father Pio Maria. He’s a Franciscan. The knots on the left part of his belt there represent the Evangelical counsels. Just FY and I.
Quick review: the evangelical counsels are vows or promises made by certain men and women who decide to dedicate their lives to service and love. (Some might refer to all of these women as “nuns,” but that’s technically inaccurate. But, if it helps you picture what I’m talking about, we’ll go with it).

There are three vows and they are: poverty, chastity and obedience to God.

Now, if you just sit and think about them for twenty-five seconds, those are already pretty dang counter-cultural, right? In my culture there’s a literal game called “Life,” and the winner is determined by who has the most money. Yeah, it’s a silly board game, but it isn’t that far off-base from what people assume their life-purpose is. So: poverty, dang. Vowing to embrace simplicity.

Ya’ll remember my friend Father Pio Maria, right? I could be making this up, but I’m pretty sure part of his life is begging for food and donations.

Chastity. Log onto Buzzfeed/ HuffingtonPost/ that one UK site with all the images/ any top-40 hit music vid and it will become relatively obvious what our culture thinks about SEXSEXSEXSEXSEX. I don’t think I need to elaborate, right?

So. The vow of a deeper love.

Obedience to God. I’ve told you before that a priest told me once that, “The hardest prayer to pray is, ‘Thy will be done’,” right? So. Yes, this too.

Those are the evangelical counsels. Now that that refresher is done, back to where we had started. My girlfriend, listening to a priest. He told her that the evangelical counsels directly combat our deepest deterrents to holiness. So, the things that make us less ourselves/ less free/ less open to God. Here goes: control. Our desire to “control” is addressed through obedience. Our desire for affirmation is confronted through chastity, and our desire for security is handed over to God through the vow of poverty.

In table form:

Weakness Evangelical council
Control Obedience
Affirmation Chastity
Security Poverty


It blew my mind just a little bit, too.

Just like when Christine was a beebee and we were trying to understand God–the subject is too big to understand, but it sure is awesome to try.

3 thoughts on “Mind-blowing thinks about the Evangelical counsels

  1. Great post!
    The counsels are indeed amazing. I have long been interested in how St. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 7, while in the process of advising (counseling!) Christians to embrace the evangelical counsel of chastity, seems to indicate that even those who do not follow such counsels are called to live them in some sense. In verses 29-31, he says,
    “I mean, brethren, the appointed time has grown very short; from now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the form of this world is passing away.”
    So even if some Christians don’t give up marriage they are to live “as if” they weren’t. Even if they don’t embrace poverty but instead “buy” and “deal with the world,” they are to live “as if” they did not. In the face of the approaching Kingdom of God at Christ’s Second Coming, these things (earthly control, affirmation, security) have to take second place. And their current emotional state (mourning and rejoicing) are also made relative – What is earthly sadness and gladness in the face of what “eye has not seen, ear has not heard … what God has prepared for those who love him”?

    1. Thank you thank you for commenting. I’m sorry for the delay–I’ve been catching up since I was away. But, this is super good and super beautiful and I thank you for stopping by and sharing. You are forever welcome with your wicked insights, yo.

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