Religious life is the living out of one’s calling within a particular community according to the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience. This lifestyle would be considered to be radical in today’s society as it is an alternative lifestyle, one that is culturally different. It’s a simplistic life, consumed by prayer and reflection. In this sense it is radical to our lifestyles, where we depend upon material possessions, the need to work, money and are faced with many distractions. It is radical in the sense that in society’s eyes, it seems that it is an ‘extreme’ sort of lifestyle.
The vow of poverty is generally defined as the promise made to God of a certain constant renunciation of temporal goods; in order to follow Christ. The object of the vow of poverty is anything visible, material, appreciable at a money value. A person who has made this vow gives up the right to acquire, possess, use or dispose of property except in accordance with the will of his Superior. This vow is not related to being poor, but rather to sharing everything for the common good of the religious order.
The vow of Chastity takes its inspiration from Jesus’ life as a single person who remained unmarried. This vow requires members of religious orders to remain celibate and refrain from sexual relationships as an expression of total commitment to God and the Church. This vow is a promise to love in a way that frees the religious sister or priest to respond to all of humankind, especially those people most in need.
Obedience actually means the practice of listening. It is a vow by which religious orders seek to listen to God through the mediation of their religious community. Not only do they need to be obedient to God but also to the authorities of their Order. The vow implies that religious are to be open, receptive, ready and eager to respond to the will of God, especially as it comes to them through those in authority in the Order.
These three vows describe...