Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

March 4, 2008

A Lesson on the Evangelical Counsels



Objective:
Students will spend time learning the meaning of the evangelical counsels and the impact they can have on society if lived or not lived. They will then identify how others live them and discover ways to put them into practice in their everyday lives.

Procedure:
1) Give the students the three evangelical counsels: poverty, chastity and obedience, and the definition of each. Read over them together in class.

2) For each counsel, have the students make a list of ways how they may see lifestyles in society that contradict these counsels. Have them give examples wherever they can. The following examples may help if they are at a loss:
• For poverty – consumerism
• For chastity – intimate relationships between boyfriend and girlfriend
• For obedience – disobeying parents

3) Take time to discuss the ideas they come up with being careful to define any terms that might seem new or unclear. They may want to debate the ideas in class. This can be good if done in a respectable manner and for a limited period of time.

4) Next have them brainstorm about what can happen if the counsels are not lived in society and the repercussions. They should write down their ideas. Discuss their ideas and any foreseeable consequences.

5) Next have them write down how they can live each counsel in their own everyday life. This should be very concrete with specific examples. If time permits have them share them out loud with the class.

Media Probe
1) Have the students identify a billboard which is in contrast to one of the counsels. Let them re-create the billboard with a message more in line with that counsel.

2) Have the students identify a song is in contrast to one of the counsels. Let them re-write the song with lyrics more in line with that counsel.

This can lead into a wonderful discussion about the effects of media in our culture.

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