Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Value of Obedience

Found this quote in Divine Intimacy by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen O.C.D.
St. John of the Cross has said, "God wants from us the least degree of obedience and submission, rather than all the works we desire to offer Him" (Spiritual Maxims, I, 13). Why? Because obedience makes us surrender our own will to adhere to God's will as expressed in the orders of our superiors; and the perfection of charity, as well as the essence of union with God, consists precisely in the complete conformity of our will with the divine will. Charity will be perfect in us when we govern ourselves in each action - not according to our personal desires and inclinations - but according to God's will, confirming our own to His.

The Will of God is expressed in His commandments, in the precepts of the Church, in the duties of our state of life; beyond all that, there is still a vast area for our free choice, where it is not always easy to know with certitude exactly what God wants of us. In the voice of obedience, however, the divine will takes on a clear, precise form; it comes ot us openly manifest and we no longer need to fear making a mistake. Indeed, as St. Paul says, "There is no power by from God" (Rm 13:1), so that by obeying our lawful superiors, we can be certain that we are obeying God. Jesus Himself, when entrusting to His disciples the mission of converting the world, said, "He that heareth you, heareth Me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth Me" (Lk 10:16).

He teaches us here that ecclesiastical superiors represent Him and speak to us in His Name. Furthermore, St. Thomas poins out that every lawful authority-even in the natureal order, such as the civil and social spheres-when commanding within the just limits of its powers manifests the divine will. In this very sense, the Apostle does not hesititate to say, "Servants, be obedient to them that are your lords ... as to Christ ... doing the will of God from the heart" (Ep 6:5-6).

One of the greatest obstacles to full conformity of our will to God's is our attachment to our own desires and inclinations. Obedience, because it asks us to be governed by the will of another, is the bset was of accustoming ourselves to renounce our own will, of detaching us from it, and making us cling to the divine will as revealed in the orders of our superiors."

Little children are told what they can and cannot do, and even what they are to do, but instead do something else and say to parents, "looky what I did!" expecting parents to be pleased. How like little children we are, knowing what we should do, doing what we prefer to do.

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