You’re right to say that everyone is called to give up worldly possessions, practice chastity, and be obedient (e.g., to one’s spouse). These are, of course, spectrum concepts: one can give up more or fewer possessions, one can be so chaste and so obedient. But the evangelical counsels represent specific vows which are the means to the end of that spectrum of perfection: total poverty, no sexual indulgence of any kind (ideally virginity), and total obedience to one’s superior. These vows need not be made in the context of a religious community; Fr. Butler writes that in the first few centuries Christians simply made these vows and began living in proximity and giving everything they owned to each other.
I would not challenge the above at all if your comments might be directed to me:o. In my posts, I am hoping I made it clear that we are all called to perfection and this means the way of poverty, chastity and obedience - of kind. The religious life is “the state of perfection” and radical poverty, chastity and obedience. Some non religious lay people may live a more radical type of poverty, chastity and obedience, including celibate chastity, than some in religious life. Many of our saints who attained holiness were not religious, while probably many more were. Just as many non religious have been canonized and lived more holy lives than some religious. This does attest that it is not an ABSOLUTE that one MUST be a religious to attain holiness and a level of perfection of Charity. The Grace of The Lord to outstanding holiness is not confined to religious life.
The evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience are not ends in themselves, but a sure means to perfection of Charity.
Again, I did mean to make it very clear indeed that acceptance into a community is simply an indication that one MAY WELL have a vocation, but what follows are years of discernment within the community and both a discernment process and journey by the community and the candidate until the candidate makes final profession, when it can be said that the person ACTUALLY HAS a religious vocation. It is final vows that is the actual indicator of vocation to religious life.
Second, Fr. Butler makes the point that acceptance into a religious community is not a guarantee that one has a “vocation” to the religious life (indeed, this is proved by those former religious who have left their communities). Again, he stresses the important of a right intention, which it is partially the task of the vocations director to discern in the aspirant.
Again, I am hoping that I made it clear in my posts that acceptance into a religious community “is not a guarantee that one has a “vocation” to religious life”.
I have two questions :
Some do leave religious life even after final profession. I wonder if this is an indication that God may not call a person to religious life for their entire life span? Or is the person unfaithful to a religious life vocation?