Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience

Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience

Religious orders take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. But did you know that the laity can live out these virtues in their own way? In fact, living out the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience can be a great way to grow in holiness.

The evangelical counsels are proposed by the Church as means by which we may avail ourselves to a conversation with the Risen Lord that takes up our whole manner of life. In today’s world, they are radically counter-cultural, a sign of contradiction. If lived by faith and prudently applied to each one’s manner of life, poverty, chastity and obedience open up the mystery of the beatitudes to all the baptized whether one is single, married or consecrated to the Lord. In his Theology of Body as well as other writings, John Paul II sheds light on the relationship of beatitudes and the evangelical counsels through his own reflections on “the Great Mystery”, the love of Christ for the Church. Chastity, purity of heart and contemplation converge on this Mystery of the Bridegroom and the Bride to reveal the salvific mission of sacramental marriage and the vital importance for those in consecrated life to bear themselves as living icons of the life of heaven and the end of time.

Religious orders embrace the evangelical counsels as a sign that we are created for something more than this world has to offer us. But even the laity are called to live radically different from the secular world, and thus they should also embrace the evangelical counsels in accord with their state in life.

To learn more about the evangelical counsels, the beatitudes, and how to live them out in your life, consider applying for the Avila Institute Graduate Program in Spiritual Theology. Dr. Ben Nguyen will be teaching this course in the Fall in the Graduate Program. The Graduate Program is a Master’s level certification in spiritual theology that equips students to better serve as catechists, evangelists, and spiritual directors. The Graduate Program courses are also offered in a less-academically rigorous format as personal enrichment and continuing education courses.

The Fall Quarter begins in September and registration is now open. For more information, and to see a list of all the courses offered, visit avila-institute.com.


Art for this post on poverty, chastity, and obedience:  Detail of The Sermon of Jesus on the Mount, Franz Xaver Kirchebner, late 18th century, PD-worldwide, Wikimedia Commons.

Profile photo of Dylan Jedlovec

About Dylan Jedlovec

Dylan Jedlovec is an Operations Administrative Assistant at the Avila Foundation, parent organization of SpiritualDirection.com, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, and Divine Intimacy Radio. Finishing up an undergraduate degree in Marketing and Economics from Samford University, Dylan is first and foremost a disciple of Christ and a son of the Church. Dylan has a heart for evangelization on college campuses, and has worked closely with FOCUS as a student missionary and served as President of the Catholic Student Association at Samford. As a member of the University Fellows Program at Samford, Dylan developed a love for the writings of the Saints, particularly the Doctors of the Church, through his studies of the core texts of the Western Intellectual Tradition. This love for the rich intellectual tradition of the faith brought him to the Avila Foundation, where he seeks to further the kingdom through feeding Christ’s sheep. In his free time, Dylan enjoys watching baseball, reading, hiking, running, and lifting weights (although you can’t really tell).

This article is reprinted with permission from our friends at Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction.

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