Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience for the Rest of Us

With the start of the new year, many of us have made resolutions to grow in our faith and do more to share the Good News with those around us. And while resolutions such as reading Scripture, praying more, and going to Mass more are crucial, you could also make a resolution to grow in the evangelical virtues.

The evangelical virtues of poverty, chastity, and obedience are not just for priests and consecrated religious, they are for all of us. But how can they help us spread the Good News of Jesus Christ?

Recently, Rev. Francis Hoffman “Father Rocky”, Executive Director of Relevant Radio®, stopped by Morning Air® to explain the importance that poverty, chastity, and obedience hold for all of us in our efforts of evangelization.

“Whenever I hear the word evangelize, I always think of the evangelical virtues,” Fr. Rocky said. “Evangelize means to spread the Good News, and the evangelical virtues are poverty, chastity, and obedience.  Many times we think of these as only belonging to members of a religious order, consecrated nuns, priests, or monks.  In fact, you see that these provide dynamism, strength, and energy for those who want to spread the Good News. So those evangelical virtues are often taken as vows among consecrated religious.”

Fr. Rocky went on to explain these virtues, and why we should all make an effort to grow in them this year:

The virtue of poverty allows someone to be authentic.  So how that plays out in evangelization is that people always smell a rat when someone is making a killing, in terms of money, by preaching the Good News. The Church is always suspect when there are claims of an apparition and somebody is getting wealthy off of that.

Not that we’re supposed to be so deprived of income that we can’t have a decent style of life, but poverty is really the key to dynamism. We see it in somebody like St. Damien of Molokai, who went to the island in Hawaii to serve the lepers with literally the shirt on his back and the Gospel in his hand. That gives people power to evangelize.

Chastity allows people to persevere against obstacles. That’s chastity in the broad sense, not just regulation of the sexual appetite, but self-discipline and temperance.

Obedience in evangelization allows people to work miracles. Almost all the miracles of Our Lord in the New Testament required the cooperation of human beings. The first miracle was the one at Cana. Water was changed into wine, and when the servants were asked to fill the jars they filled them to the brim. They could have delayed, they could have said it was never going to work, or that they had a better idea. But it’s like if you are on a football team and the quarterback calls an end run and you run a post hoping you’ll get a pass. You’ll never get anywhere that way.

These are very important virtues that equip people to spread the Good News in our world. Poverty, chastity, and obedience make people joyful.”

Listen to the conversation below:

Morning Air can be heard weekdays from 6:00 – 9:00 a.m. Eastern/3:00 – 6:00 a.m. Pacific on Relevant Radio.

Stephanie Foley serves as a Digital Media Producer at Relevant Radio®. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she studied journalism, and she has worked in Catholic radio for 12 years. Stephanie is a wife, a mother of three boys, and in her free time she enjoys reading, running, and really good coffee. You can find more of Stephanie’s writing at relevantradio.com and on the free Relevant Radio mobile app.