The Evangelical Counsels and the Total Gift of SelfJacques Servais
“Gospel obedience, which is the interior form of the counsels, because it is the essential and decisive act of the gift of self, in effect conforms the consecrated person to the obedience of Christ who redeems the world.”
1. Obedience: the constitutive element of the evangelical counsels
As St. Thomas Aquinas affirms, and with him the entire tradition, obedience is first among the three evangelical counsels. These counsels, of course, constitute an organic whole; it is impossible to separate them one from another. Like faith, hope, and love, they reciprocally complete each other in the one and multifaceted grace of the imitation of Christ. However, just as of the three that “abide,” “the greatest is love” (1 Cor 13:13), so too does obedience have pride of place among the counsels.
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