What are the ʻEvangelical Counsels'?

Those who enter the consecrated life (Religious brothers and sisters) make a public religious vow declaring their desire to seek a ʻmore intimate' consecration to Christ. This vow includes the profession of the ʻEvangelical Counsels' (cf. CCC 914 - 916)

The ʻEvangelical Counsels', or Counsels of the Gospel, are three:"Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience. They have been recommended by Christ in particular as means of perfection. By voluntary poverty, the right of possession and free disposal of property is renounced. Perfect chastity, which voluntarily renounces not only unlawful pleasures but even the married life, is recommended by our Lord in the following words: “There are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven. He that can take, let him take it” (Matt. 19:12). Perfect obedienceunder a spiritual superior has for its object the perfect regulation of such actions as of themselves are not prescribed and regulated by any law. By such obedience our will is not only preserved from transgressions and forced to the performance of many acts of self-sacrifice, but also, by the fact of being subjected to the will of God’s representative on earth, it is wholly conformed with the divine will." (Thein, J. (1900). In Ecclesiastical Dictionary)

St. Thomas Aquinas explains how these councils, though not necessary for salvation, are means to perfection

"Secondarily and instrumentally, however, perfection consists in the observance of the counsels, all of which, like the commandments, are directed to charity; yet not in the same way. For the commandments, other than the precepts of charity, are directed to the removal of things contrary to charity, with which, namely, charity is incompatible, whereas the counsels are directed to the removal of things that hinder the act of charity, and yet are not contrary to charity, such as marriage, the occupation of worldly business, and so forth. Hence Augustine says (Enchir. cxxi.): Whatever things God commands, for instance, ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery,’ and whatever are not commanded, yet suggested by a special counsel, for instance, ‘It is good for a man not to touch a woman,’ are then done aright when they are referred to the love of God, and of our neighbour for God’s sake, both in this world and in the world to come. Hence it is that in the Conferences of the Fathers (Coll.i., cap. vii.) the abbot Moses says: Fastings, watchings, meditating on the Scriptures, penury and loss of all one’s wealth, these are not perfection but means to perfection, since not in them does the school of perfection find its end, but through them it achieves its end, and he had already said that we endeavour to ascend by these steps to the perfection of charity." (STh., II-II q.184 a.3)

image via wikipaintings in the Public Domain. Nuns convent of the Sacred Heart in Rome

Encouragement from St. Thomas More


“The times are never so bad that a good man cannot live in them.” - St. Thomas More

image via wikimedia commons in the Public Domain. St. Thomas More

Even the punished were allowed meat & wine on Sundays!

It was a custom in some ages of the Church to hand down, as punishment, a restriction on eating meat and drinking wine. However, this punishment was often lifted on Sundays. At the council of Tribur in 895, lead by several Archbishops under Pope Sergius, it was declared as a penance that the: "penitent might not eat meat nor drink wine, except on Sundays and festivals.

(Landon, E. H. (1909). In A Manual of Councils of the Holy Catholic Church. Edinburgh: John Grant.)

image via wikipaintings in the Public Domain. The Council

Lenten Journey: Hang in there! (Rules of Matthew 6:16-18)

"And when you fast, be not as the hypocrites, sad. For they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward. But thou, when thou fastest anoint thy head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not to men to fast, but to thy Father who is in secret: and thy Father who seeth in secret, will repay thee." 

image via wikipaintings in the Public Domain. Still Life: Fast Day Menu

The Biblical Basis of the parts of the Holy Mass (4 of 7)

PRAYER BEFORE THE GOSPEL
Is 6:6–7
P. The Lord be with you.2 Ti 3:16
R. And with thy spirit. 2 Ti 4:22.

THE HOLY GOSPEL

Mt 28:18–20

The next post in this series will be much longer since it will go through the biblical basis of the Creed

(Post 4 of 7)

See all 7 posts here: Part 1 / Part 2 Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6 / Part 7

image from the 'FSSP' via wikimedia commons. Tridentine mass FSSP – Fraternitas Sacerdotalis Sancti Petri
Source of Scripture references: ʻThe Divine Armory of Holy Scriptureʻ Vaughan, K. (1894). 

Lenten Journey: Be converted to God with all your heart!

Part way through our Lenten Journey the words from Joel 2:12 - 19 (from Ash Wednesday) are a powerful reminder of our call to conversion during this penitential time! 

"Now, therefore, saith the Lord. Be converted to me with all your heart, in fasting, and in weeping, and mourning. And rend your hearts, and not your garments and turn to the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, patient and rich in mercy, and ready to repent of the evil. Who knoweth but he will return, and forgive, and leave a blessing behind him, sacrifice and libation to the Lord your God? Blow the trumpet in Sion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly, Gather together the people, sanctify the church, assemble the ancients, gather together the little ones, and them that suck at the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth from his bed, and the bride out of her bridal chamber. Between the porch and the altar the priests, the Lord’s ministers, shall weep, and shall say: Spare, O Lord, spare thy people: and give not thy inheritance to reproach, that the heathens should rule over them. Why should they say among the nations: Where is their God? The Lord hath been zealous for his land, and hath spared his people. And the Lord answered, and said to his people: Behold I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and you shall be filled with them: and I will no more make you a reproach among the nations." 

image via Public Domain. Horne, C. & Bewer, J., 1909. The Bible and its Story

Diocesan Project: Catechetical Video Series

The Holy Father, in “Evangelii Gaudium”, challenged the laity to stay true to the Church's central mission of preaching "the beauty of the saving love of God made manifest in Jesus Christ". Modern advancement in technology has given us the opportunity to take on this challenge and to fulfill the call of the “New Evangelization” , championed by Pope John Paul II,  by using modern methods of catechesis to bring Christ to all people.

With this in mind I am currently working on a project with the Diocese of Honolulu to create a Catechetical Video Series. The initial goal of the series is the creation of 4 catechetical videos based on the core theology modules required by the Diocese for basic catechetical certification. The hope is that the completed videos will be dynamic, effective, and uniquely depictive of our island culture. Here is a short snippet of an early trailer we have created:

Fasting on Sundays? No!

"CARTHAGE (398). Held November 8th, 398, under Aurelius of Carthage, at the head of two hundred and fourteen or two hundred and fifteen bishops, including St Augustine. One hundred and four canons were published . . . 

The 64th declares those persons not to be catholics who fast upon Sunday."

Landon, E. H. (1909). In A Manual of Councils of the Holy Catholic Church. Edinburgh: John Grant.

"[DS 454] 4. If anyone does not truly honor the birthday of Christ according to the flesh, but pretends that he honors (it), fasting on the very day and on the Lord’s Day, because, like Cerdon, Marcion, Manichaeus, and Priscillian, he does not believe that Christ was born in the nature of man, let him be anathema."(Council of Braga II, 561AD)

(Anathemas against Heretics, especially the Priscillianists) Denzinger. The sources of Catholic dogma (p. 93).

image via wikimedia commons Public Domain. Food