Saturday, March 17, 2012

By the Light of Obedience

If our enclosure is within the will of God, obedience is what keeps the paths lit.  After all, without obedience to God there is no such thing as “enclosure in God’s will.”  Enclosure in the will of God without obedience TO the will of God would be impossible; it would be a contradiction. 

Cloistered nuns and monks vow obedience to the will of God as stated in their rules and constitutions, and as discerned by their superiors.  They do not do this blindly, but with their eyes fixed upon Jesus.  It is out of love for Him that they choose to obey. "The novice promises not just to obey orders but to ‘live IN obedience.’  The phrase has a splendid ring to it, as though she were throwing up imposing castle walls around her whole life…” (Mother Mary Francis PCC, A Right to be Merry) 

We who wish to live for God in the midst of the world are called to obedience.  Our Rule is Scripture.  Our “constitutions,” if we are Catholic, are found in the teachings of the Magisterium of the Church.  Our superiors are the Pope and bishops teaching in union with him.  God has given us free will; we can choose to obey or not obey Him.  Out of love for God and by His grace, we are free to make the loving choice:  to obey all that He asks of us.  We can then look upon obedience not as a burden, but as a precious opportunity to express our love for God.

Hesitant and questioning though I may be, I am invited to embark upon the road of obedience, trusting that the ways and the whys will become “illuminated” as I move along. I am invited to watch self-love crumble beneath each obedient footstep. 

This is no small gift, for as the darkness of self-love scatters, I shall have more room in my life for the illuminating love of God.

For prayer and reflection:

"A lamp to my feet is Your word, a light to my path."  (Psalm 119:105)

“The love of God consists in this: that we keep His commandments - and His commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3)

“God loves your tiniest act of obedience more than all other homages you might think of offering Him.” (St. John of the Cross)

“He who obeys the commandments he has from Me is the man who loves Me; and he who loves me will be loved by My Father.  I too will love him, and reveal Myself to him…. Anyone who loves Me will be true to My word, and My Father will love him; we will come to him and make our dwelling place with him.” (John 14:21 & 23)

(Georges de la Tour painting public domain)