In the Fall 2004 issue of Communio, Jörg Splett has an article entitled, "Evangelical Counsels in Marriage?" As one might rightly infer from the title, he discusses what it might mean to be married and live the life of poverty, chastity, and obedience.
In setting the stage for his discussion, he offers a couple citations which impressed me. The first comes from a 1975 address by Cardinal Hermann Volk to religious women superiors in Germany:
- You don't need to join an order to care for the sick or to run schools with a consciously Catholic spirit. In most cases, the majority of personnel in hospitals or schools run by the orders are laypeople. They also want to serve in a Christian and Catholic spirit. This means that it has to be the order itself, and not what it does, that first attracts young people.
- The decisive service that consecrated life performs for the Christian world is its existence as such in the state of the counsels. It is the fact that "in response to today's chronic question, 'what do you do?' says 'I am--and by God's grace at that.'"