Monday, June 30, 2014
The Virtue Of Obedience
Anyone who is serious about obtaining eternal life in God's kingdom will do all he/she can to increase in the virtue of obedience. Without it, one will never please God. The eminent Jesuit theologian Father John Anthony Hardon, offered the following definition of obedience: "The moral virtue that inclines the will to comply with the will of another who has the right to command. According to Father Hardon, obedience is pleasing to God because it means the sacrifice of one's will out of love for God.
The Holy Bible stressed obedience throughout its pages. Obedience is extremely pleasing to God. It is so pleasing and important that the Holy Bible instructed children to obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1 and Colossians 3:20), wives to submit to their husbands (Ephesians 5:22), and slaves to submit to their masters (1 Peter 2:18). When Christ came down incarnated as a man, He also placed Himself under submission to His mother Mary, to His stepfather Joseph, and to God His Father. Christ was obedient, and He is our role model to follow.
When pride was found in Lucifer's heart and disobeyed God, he was kicked out of Heaven. When pride was found in Adam and Eve and they disobeyed God, they were kicked out of the Garden of Eden. Disobedience is the result of pride. When a priest or a nun takes a vow of obedience, it is to conquer his/her desire to be first or to be at the top. God puts everyone under authority. Through obedience, we learn humility and to sacrifice our own will and follow God's will. Our role as Catholics is also to be obedient. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
CCC 1269 Having become a member of the Church, the person baptized belongs no longer to himself, but to him who died and rose for us. From now on, he is called to be subject to others, to serve them in the communion of the Church, and to "obey and submit" to the Church's leaders, holding them in respect and affection. Just as Baptism is the source of responsibilities and duties, the baptized person also enjoys rights within the Church: to receive the sacraments, to be nourished with the Word of God and to be sustained by the other spiritual helps of the Church.
The office of Bishop is a sanctified office even if the bishop himself is a sinner. After all, Christ chose sinful men to continue His ministry. Because the Archbishop sits in a sanctified office, He is not separated nor excommunicated from the Catholic Church. It is only those who oppose the Archbishop who put themselves outside the Catholic Church.
Obedience is linked to faith. Abraham obeyed because he had faith that God will provide a way for his son Isaac to live despite that he was told to sacrifice his son. Abraham obeyed when God told him to leave all the securities behind in the land of Ur even when he did not know where he was going. He had faith that God will lead him to the right place. This is why Abraham is called the "Father of faith." Despite the fact that he did not know where to go, he obeyed nonetheless because he had faith that God will show him the way. The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Perfection of faith when she answered "Let thy will be done."
CCC 144 To obey (from the Latin ob-audire, to "hear or listen to") in faith is to submit freely to the word that has been heard, because its truth is guaranteed by God, who is Truth itself. Abraham is the model of such obedience offered us by Sacred Scripture. The Virgin Mary is its most perfect embodiment.
The Catholic Church is perfectly clear that Church leaders are to be obeyed and respected. Of course, Protestants usually remind Catholics of the sexual abuse committed by a few priests. In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI has instructed the faithful to contact the civil authorities when priests try to sexually molest them. And so we follow what our Pope says.
I said this in my one of my comments under my recent post. If the Archbishop of Guam tells a priest to open his parish for the Neocatechumenal Way, the priest must comply. The Neocatechumenal Way has received the blessings and support of five Popes; therefore, the Archbishop of Guam is not going against the Catholic Church or her teaching in commanding a priest to open his parish for the Way. Why? Because the Archbishop is telling the Parish priest to open his parish to something that five popes had always accepted. The NCW was never rejected by the Catholic Church. Therefore, it is the Parish priest who must comply with the faith that God will give him the grace to see what all five popes see in the Way. If the parish priest refuses to obey, then it is the parish priest who goes against the Catholic Church. It is the parish priest who broke his vow of obedience, and it is the Parish priest who disobeyed God.