Friday, July 25, 2014

On Obedience

Summer is flying ... it's nearly the end of July. And St. Alphonsus has yet another virtue -- that of obedience -- for us to practice.

You are my friends, if you do the things I command you. John 15:14

When one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, "Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed." But He said, "Yes, rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it." Luke 11:28

I pray often for the gift of obedience and by the grace of God, I am learning to pay attention to what He might have me do, instead of dashing off to do what I would like. I see this in my own children, how difficult it is for them to be obedient, but they do so much better than I ever did at their age. No matter the grousing and complaining, they do obey. Like an old-fashioned wife, I am also obedient to my husband. It is something that I vowed when I got married and it has served us very well. And my husband takes my wishes into consideration. One very concrete thing that has helped me is veiling myself at Church -- not just to hide my beauty, but because it instantly puts me in an obedient frame of mind.

St. Alphonsus says, "Perfection consists in the conformity of our will to the Will of God. Now what is the surest means of knowing God's Will, and of regulating our lives according to it? It is obedience towards our lawful superiors." In my case, my husband.

"The greatest sacrifice that a soul can make to God consists in obedience to lawfully constituted superiors; for as, in the opinion of St. Thomas, "nothing is dearer to us than the liberty of our will," we can offer to God no more acceptable gift than this very liberty."

"Obedience is better than sacrifices," says the Holy Ghost (1 Kings 15:22); that is to say, God prefers obedience to all other sacrifices.

"As St. Gregory says, "By other virtues we give to God what belongs to us; by obedience we give Him ourselves."

"St. Augustine says that while Adam through disobedience brought destruction upon himself and all this posterity, the Son of God became man to redeem us and to teach us true wisdom by His life of obedience. For this reason He began as a child to practice obedience when He was subject to Mary and Joseph: He was subject to them, says St. Luke (2:51). What our Savior began as a child He continued His whole life, so that St. Paul could say: He was obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross (Phil 2:8).

"To increase our merit, Our Lord desires us to be guided by faith. Therefore, instead of speaking to us Himself, He makes His Will known to us by means of our superiors.

"When Jesus appeared to St. Paul and converted him on the road to Damascus, the future Apostle said: Lord what wilt Thou have me to do? The Lord could easily have instructed him then and there, but He did not; He merely said: Arise and go into the city, and there it shall be told thee what thou must do (Act 9:7).

Of course, the great saint reminds us that we are not obliged to commit a sin in obedience to our superiors. Hence, it is vital we form our conscience according to the teachings of the Church. She remains true to her Divine Spouse.

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