Simplicity – Chastity – Obedience
For most of the history of Christendom, it has been readily acknowledged that voluntary adherence the “Evangelical Counsels” of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience helps us to to devote ourselves to the service of God. Yet, for most of us, it is also true that our Lord calls us to serve amidst the practical necessities of living in a Secular Society, and while continuing to honor already-made covenants to spouse and family.
Intended as tools for our spiritual growth, the Evangelical Counsels do not have to create a roadblock… Instead, as demonstrated by some ancient military, hospitaller, and secular religious orders, some Tertiary (3rd Order) groups, and amongst the early Norbertines, these vows can be adapted to our existing stations and calls. This allows us to honor those pre-existing covenantal commitments (such as marriage) while still strengthening our walk with Christ, that ministry that our Lord sets before us, and our Witness to His Good News.
So, to complement the previously posted, non-monastic Rule, here is a suggested non-monastic adaptation of those ancient counsels of Poverty, Chastity, and obedience :
+ Poverty is emphasized through a promise of Simplicity. Regardless of financial status, Simplicity is understood as staying constantly mindful that our real treasure is not of this world and that we are simply stewards of God’s gifts and provision. We are called to devote both time and the fruit of our labor to the service of God, to be contented with what is necessary for our own use, and to actively avoid inappropriate priorities or distractions. If our treasure is truly in heaven, we avoid temptation to idolatry and are freed to serve God rather than mammon. Simplicity of heart helps us to find joy and peace in Christ, who is, and must be, our heart’s true treasure. (Mt 6:24 / Lk 16:13 / Mt 13:44 / Lk 18:22)
+ Chastity is understood as being decent, modest, and striving to be morally pure in both thought and conduct. It calls us to live with all in true fidelity and love, without possessiveness, selfishness, or the desire to control. A chaste and virtuous life is of thought and word, as well as of deed. It finds joy in pureness of heart, and schools itself in offering grace to other souls. Therein providing a singular witness to the love of God in a world crowded with self serving demands.
NOTE: We bear witness that a faithfully chaste Christian life has only two expressions; within the bounds of chaste singleness or within the faithfulness of holy marriage between man and woman. (1 Cor 7 / Proverbs 4:18 / Proverbs 20:7 / Titus 2:11-14)
+ Obedience is understood as setting aside self-will, to faithfully seek and follow the call of God. As we see witnessed by our Lord Jesus, on the Mount of Olives (Lk 22:42), the path of Obedience calls us at all times to seek the will of God, rather than our own. We walk out our obedience to our Lord while prayerfully and seriously considering admonitions of Scripture, guidance from brethren and elders, and honoring covenant commitments to Family, Order, and Church.
The ancient Christian tradition of Obedience provides a strong means of following our Lord’s teaching that “he who loses his life for my sake shall find it.” (Mt 16:24-27 / Lk 9:23-26)
…….These are offered for your prayerful consideration.
Shalom, Christ’s peace!! — Michael+, MSJ