The Evangelical Counsels

Men and women religious give their lives over to God within the Church by vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. In this way, they pledge to own nothing of their own, to forego marriage and its joys, and to embrace the will of God as it is proposed by the Church and discerned with superiors. Inasmuch as they include the essence of what man is, has, and loves, they express the whole person. In pronouncing them, religious consecrate themselves totally to God and make themselves available for the service of others.

These vows are sometimes called the evangelical counsels because Jesus proposes them as a way of following him more closely. They are founded on the sacrament of baptismal by which each Christian already belongs to God. They confirm what is authentically human – that is, they highlight human limitation, but also confirm the truth that we are cared for by a Father in whose presence being poor, chaste, and obedient constitute the proper posture of loving dependence.