Prayers of great thanks and Deo grtias for Carol and John, on their 35th wedding anniversary. Ad multos annos, many more! Also, Caorl asks prayers for some special intentions.
Lord, help us all as You know and will. God's
will is best. All is mercy and grace. God is never absent, praise Him! Thanks so
January 23, May 24, September 23
Chapter 5: On Obedience
But this very obedience
will be acceptable to God and pleasing to all
only if what is commanded is done
without hesitation, delay, lukewarmness, grumbling, or objection.
For the obedience given to Superiors is given to God,
since He Himself has said,
"He who hears you, hears Me" (Luke 10:16).
And the disciples should offer their obedience with a good will,
for "God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9:7).
For if the disciple obeys with an ill will
not necessarily with his lips but simply in his heart,
then even though he fulfill the command
yet his work will not be acceptable to God,
who sees that his heart is murmuring.
And, far from gaining a reward for such work as this,
he will incur the punishment due to murmurers,
unless he amend and make satisfaction.
It is our hearts that convict us in obedience. Not because of
feelings or emotions, those can be mistaken, but because of the
relationship between love and will. Many of us have loved someone and
hated having to do something that the love required, but we did it
anyway. Our feelings or repugnance were over-ruled by the will in our
hearts to love. Face it, love does not ALWAYS feel too good, which is
a principal way it differs from mere feelings.
Jean Ronan, one of my favorite teachers used to tell me to always make all
decisions "in the light of the death candle", that is, as if one were about to
die. How hearing that annoyed me at 30, but how true it is, and the closer one
gets to the possibility of that death candle, the truer it is. There's a handy
rule of thumb here. Does our choice put God and our faith first, no matter what?
If it does not, something is terribly wrong.
There is also the trust of faith involved here. God is God and we must firmly
believe He will do the best for us, no matter how unclear that may sometimes be.
Jesus often told St. Faustina to ask her superiors for permissions, hard
permissions, to do this or that extra prayer or mortification, that He KNEW they
would refuse. Then, after the refusal, He would tell Faustina that
her obedience meant more to Him than the thing denied.
He also said to her that all creatures do His will, whether they want
to not or, whether they know it or not. Now there's a hefty order!
Still when we look at St. Paul's remark that, "for those who love
God, all things work together for good," this is not at all far-fetched.
St. Paul did not say "all wise things", or "well-intentioned things", or
"cooperative things". He said "all" and he was inspired to say that by
the Holy Spirit.
"All things".....hmmmm. There is a mystical point where the will of God
cannot be thwarted. This is evident in the lives of many saints. When Jesus
told them nothing could harm them, He wasn't just kidding around! In spite
of seemingly insuperable odds, His will for them would triumph again and
again. But this is NOT just for saints: it is true for all of us! Obedience
throws us into the vortex of that, but it gets easier as our faith
(and experience of God's goodness!) deepens.
We have been too ready to think that obedience depends only on
humans, who are flawed. It doesn't. All obedience is given to God.
Our love and trust and His love and mercy are the deciding factors,
not the universally flawed human weakness that plagues every human
means of God's will in this world.
Want a little theological aside here? Look at what this concept of
all doing His will does to the concept of sin. It makes it the ULTIMATE rip-off.
If, even when we try to thwart God, we further His plans (and face it, He
*IS* clever enough to pull that off,) then we are left with absolutely nothing
but the bitter ashes of our own useless self- defeat. With Him or against Him,
His kingdom will nevertheless come. What a tragedy to have been nothing
more than a futile obstacle to that!
Love and prayers,
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