by Fr Richard Heilman | June 1, 2016 6:50 PM
What is it that can snatch the Divine Life from us, killing off any zeal for God’s mission of battling evil and saving souls? There are actually three wounds that ravage souls and bring spiritual death to them by turning away from God. St. John speaks of these evils when he says: “For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh (craving for sensual gratification) and the lust of the eyes (greedy longings of the mind) and the pride of life (assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things) — these do not come from the Father but are from the world (itself)” (1 Jn 2:16). These three wounds destroy the original harmony we once shared with God and His creation in the garden. The greater one’s attachment is to these worldly desires, the more detached one becomes to God’s will and God’s Divine Life.
This triple slavery, which replaces the original harmony, is order overthrown. Christ came to restore the order that had been destroyed; with this end in view, He gave us the three evangelical counsels (or counsels of perfection). The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that these virtues have a clear application to everyone who aspires to a life of discipleship.
In the face of a materialistic, consumer culture where one’s value is often determined by earning power or the acquisition of wealth, a spirit of poverty testifies to our dependence upon God as the source of all gifts and our solidarity with one another, especially the poor. What does it mean to be “poor in spirit”? In Matthew 13:44 Jesus tells this parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” To be poor in spirit is to realize that nothing we have is worth more than the kingdom of God. Knowing this, we become willing to part with anything we have if it hinders us from receiving the kingdom. This is why Jesus said, “No one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions” (Lk 14:33). Being poor in spirit does not always mean taking vows of poverty or despising the blessings God has given us. Instead, it is a condition of the heart. The main point is always “detachment.” It’s not whether you have it or not, it’s how you have it.
Chastity is a commitment to purity and fidelity no matter what your state in life, whether married, single, or consecrated. Sex is used in our society for so many purposes, including the selling of products and recreation, and the prevailing message is that one must be sexually active to be fully human — even if that means promiscuity. Chastity reminds us of the deeper meaning of sexuality. Those who are reverent and respectful toward their bodies and those of others, with God’s grace, will maintain their purity. Many in society treat people like animals and detach the “marital act” from the reverence it deserves. They accept it and promote it in the wrong context and thus betray its sacredness.
Obedience actually means the practice of listening. It is a commitment to listen to God through the mediation of Sacred Scripture and through the teaching of Christ’s Bride, the Church. We choose obedience to indicate a preference for the common good over personal desire. The modern-day definition of freedom is to be able to do whatever one wants to do as long as it does not interfere with the rights of others — freedom from responsibility. Obedience demonstrates that the most perfect form of freedom is that which makes a commitment to another person (divine or human) or a cause.
Impressive warrior saints like St. Francis of Assisi taught these “Counsels of Perfection” by wearing a cord around their waist with three knots in it; each knot would denote poverty, chastity, and obedience. Today, some have followed their lead by wearing a cord around their wrists with these three knots, reminding them how to be free, no longer tied to the world but to God.
These Monk Cord Bracelets are made in “military green” paracord, to remind warrior saints of the battle we face against the flesh, the world and the devil. And every bracelet includes the powerful “devil chasing” St. Benedict Medal … the father of monasticism.
Are you free to enlist in Christ’s elite fighting force and be the warrior saint He is calling you to be?
Coming soon to ….
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