Fall 2004

Evangelical Counsels in Marriage?

Jörg Splett

“I and Thou do not belong simply to each other. Each of them has to share the other with God. This involves all three counsels. And it finds new application in relation to children.”

I. The Consecrated Life?


1. We have to acknowledge the facts: many people do not expect much from the consecrated life, either for themselves or at all. It has always been a matter of sober realism to regard the consecrated life as “impossible.” The theologians were making just this point—seriously—when they talked about grace and insisted on its special necessity. One could expect something from the consecrated life because one could expect something for it, something that transcended one’s own capabilities. As the horizon of supernatural hope fades, one is left only with the natural impossibility.

The fading of this horizon is due to the mentality that Paul Ricoeur has traced to the “three Masters of Suspicion,” Marx, Freud, and Nietzsche. There is an a priori suspicion of nobility, of the willingness to sacrifice, and of magnanimity; a deep mistrust of any talk about “great love,” especially of a great love for God that changes one’s whole life.


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