Evangelical Counsels


Returning to our topic of pairing theological virtues with the three evangelical counsels, I want to first say more about the term "evangelical counsels.”

These counsels of obedience, poverty, and chastity are guides to imitating Christ and are described as being evangelical. The use of this term is not to be confused with the Evangelical church. The original meaning has always been connected with the work of evangelization, coming from the Greek word, euangelizesthai, which means to bring the good news. During the time of the Roman Empire, this term carried the connotation that whatever the good news was it meant that Rome was being strengthened and had achieved something.

The pairing of poverty with hope should direct our minds to recognize our own poverty compared to God. We are always in need of such things like, material necessities, peace, rest, happiness, forgiveness, help, guidance, etc. There is an inclination in our material oriented society to label "being in need" as always a negative. It is better to be independent, and this is the guarantee for reaching fulfillment. But if this is the case, then there is no point in having a relationship with God. Now here is the hope, we have a loving heavenly Father who so desires to provide for us. Consider chapter six in the book of Matthew, Jesus outright says it is the Father's desire to care for our every need.

In our relationship with God, it is good to share with Him what we are in need of. Let Him know what is lacking in your life. We can pray for these things, but there is also a deeper trust when we simply place our needs before God, and like a trusting child, we rest in the hope that God will provide according to what is best for our sanctification.

This aspect of our faith is counter-cultural, because with the gift of Hope we do not have to worry when we are in need. Hope bears witness to Our Lord's Resurrection and Ascension, that He reigns in heaven with all authority, seated at the right hand of God the Father interceding for us. Thus, poverty coupled with hope is evangelical; it shares the good news. And this is the good news, our souls and minds are being strengthened by Christ, who, by His grace, is sanctifying us.


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