Daily readings for March 26
‘Obedience is mission: “I have come into this world to do the will of my Father, who has sent me.” Where there is no obedience, there is no virtue; where there is no virtue there is no good; where good is wanting, there is no love, there is no God; where God is not, there is no Heaven.’
–St. Padre Pio
In our house growing up the instruction was clear. You did as you were told. Even as adults my sisters and I have discussed that while we were by no means perfect, we felt compelled to be obedient to our parents. Once I had my own children, I began to wonder how to instill this same yearning in them.
As Moses neared his own death he wondered this very thing. Consider Deuteronomy Chapter 4. After wandering the desert for thirty-eight years, the new generation of Israelites awaits entrance into the promised land. There is a call for covenant renewal and a call to obedience. Moses is an old man now and is recounting the past and giving exhortation for the future. Throughout Deuteronomy, he establishes the fact that God loves His people. While technically the law and our innate sense of justice requires obedience, God is issuing this people an invitation to know and love Him and thus enter the promised land and see the good God has waiting for them with eyes wide open.
In Matthew 5, Jesus reveals himself as the Messiah God has sent to “fulfill” the law. Jesus was sent to help us to interpret the law and its meaning and model how to live the law with perfect obedience.
The Doctors of the church help us understand the virtue of obedience. Thomas Aquinas writes, “Obedience is a special virtue. Its specific object is a command, expressed or understood. It is a moral virtue, that is, a will-virtue. Obedience is subordinate to the virtue of justice. Justice demands that all creatures should submit wholly to God’s will.” Pope Saint Gregory the Great leaves behind this beautiful thought, “By the other virtues, we offer God what we possess; but by obedience, we offer ourselves to Him.”
In regards to requiring obedience, my parents did several things really well. They worked to develop a clear sense of right and wrong and thus our consciences. My parents presented a unified front and their collective yes meant yes and their collective no was final. Most importantly, they practiced what they preached. They always told us that the best and safest path was whatever God’s will was for our lives. Once God’s will was identified, it was obeyed. In a radical move, they discerned that they should move our family from New York to Georgia and they left all family behind and obeyed. My Dad frequently quoted a favorite scripture from John Chapter 2 when at the feast of Cana Mary tells the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.”
Is not the heart of Christian living to join your will and intellect to follow the perfect moral example of Jesus? What is God asking from you today? Are you seeking His holy will in all things? Take action. Be bold. “Do whatever He tells you.”
–Carrie Schmitt and her husband took their family to visit two new states this week – New Mexico and Arizona. They highly recommend a visit to the Grand Canyon. It’s beauty is magnificent and confirms God’s gracious love for us.