Obedience, Chastity, and Poverty

August 30, 2021 • 1 min

From Introduction to the Devout Life, page 128

Charity alone can place us in perfection, but obedience, chastity, and poverty, are the three principal means by which to attain to it.

​Obedience consecrates our heart, chastity our body, and poverty our means to the love and service of God.

These three branches of the spiritual cross are grounded on a fourth, viz., humility.

I shall say nothing of these three virtues, when they are solemnly vowed, because this subject concerns religious orders only; nor even when they are simply vowed; for though a vow may add many graces and merits to virtues, yet, to make us perfect, it is not necessary that vows should be made, provided they be observed.

For though being vowed, and especially solemnly, they place a man in the state of perfection; yet, to arrive at perfection itself, they must be observed, there being a very great difference between the state of perfection and perfection itself; since all bishops and religious are in a state of perfection; and yet, alas, all have not arrived at perfection itself, as is too plainly to be seen.

Let us endeavour then, Philothea, to practise well these virtues, each one according to his vocation; for though they do not place us in the state of perfection, yet they will make us perfect: and, indeed, everyone is obliged to practise them, though not all after the same manner.

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