I heard a homily yesterday.
A good homily.
One thing Fr. mentioned was obedience. The rich man, in the Gospel reading, failed to get to heaven not because of the fact that he was rich but because he set his eyes, his mind, his heart. on earthly treasures alone.
The poor man got to heaven not because he was poor but because he was humble, he was obedient to the call of God.
By the other virtues, we offer God what we possess; but by obedience, we offer ourselves to Him. They who obey are conquerors, because by submitting themselves to obedience they triumph over the Angels, who fell through disobedience….Pope Saint Gregory the Great
Obedience can be a touchy word in homeschooling, unschooling circles.
Do we, should we, make our children obey? How much choice, how much reliance on free will, do we give our children?
And does obedience have to conjure up images of a strict parent, standing over a child, breaking a will?
In fact, as Fr pointed out yesterday, we all have free will. We all make chocies. Some for good. Some for bad. For better or for worse.
In one sense, you could almost say that obedience is trust.
Trust in another’s person’s rightful authority, in their decisions, in their love.
I don’t really make my teens obey. I never really overly enforced obedience over little things when they were little themselves .
I trusted in their love, their wish to please, I tried to lead them to the right things. I gave them choices over many things. So, ultimately, when obedience was necessary, obedience wasn’ t unduly hard. Obedience became trust in my track record as a parent. Trust in my husband’s track record as a parent.
The kids would more willingly obey because of our past history of familial trust.
Reading about the saints, I see that sometimes a saint has been asked to to do a thing, to forgo a thing, under obedience ..to their spiritual director ( St Elizabeth of Hungary) …to their Superior (St Bernadette of Soubirous)…to their religious order.
What enabled these saints, what enables religious, what enables married couples, to accept obedience is I think, in part, that trust. Trust that the Holy Spirit is at work, was at work, through their vows. A vow of obedience, of poverty, of chastity. A vow of marriage.
Religious, I guess, I surmise, ( I mean, how would I know) , trust that through their dedication to their religious vows, God will work, even if (perhaps) a decision from those in authority seems unfair or illogical.
Married couples trust in the sacrament of marriage, in its graces, in the seriousness of the marital vows, especially during a rocky or stormy period. They trust that though things might seem a little rough or might make no visible sense, their vows are a sign of God’s fidelity to them, a symbol of the rightness of their commitment. A reason to trust…to trust in the sacrament of marriage and its graces, to trust that God will see them through, in good times and in not so good times. They choose to remain obedient to their vows and trust that the Holy Spirit is at work through their obedience.
Obedience and trust.
Whoever wishes to live happily and to attain perfection, must live conformably to reason, to rule, and to obedience, and not to his natural likes and dislikes; such an one must esteem all rules, must honour them all, must cherish them all, at least in the superior part of the will; for if one rule be despised now, another will be so tomorrow, and on the third day it will be no better. When once the bonds of duty are broken, everything will be out of order, and exhibit a scene of confusion….Saint Francis de Sales