Saturday, August 22, 2009

Our embrace of God will be in accordance with our embrace of his will...

"Here then (...) is the fruit of Christ's prayer. Because he contemplates as any other human being and because His prayer is a constant heart-to-heart communication with God - or more precisely, a dwelling in God - it is a total and immensely heroic obedience. He has one care only: to obey God. He is rooted in obedience as faithfully as he is rooted in prayer.

We follow the opposite path. Christ started out from contemplation to come to the perfection of obedience. We must start out from the perfection of obedience to arrive at contemplation. This is the reverse route we must follow. In the depths of our being, our prayer is worth what our obedience is worth. Our embrace of God will be in accordance with our embrace of his will...

Let us consider, then, what constituted this profound prayer in the soul of Christ. Let us contemplate the great mysteries of the Beatific Vision and the Hypostatic Union. Let us go to work courageously to welcome God within us, so that we can know the immense nourishment to be derived from constant, deep prayer. We will reach out for this prayer with humility and obedience. To understand happiness for the presence of God and to have a foretaste of heaven here below, let us take the necessary steps, while repeating the words found in our Office: 'Taste and see the goodness of the Lord' [Ps 34:9]. May we experience the truth of his words and may we likewise know the road that leads to him."

-- Fr Jaques of Jesus, ocd
Cited in Père Jacques: Resplendent in Victory by Francis Murphy, SJ

Though Fr Jacques was addressing discalced nuns, his counsel of obedience applies to all. Obedience to whom, you may ask. Obedience to parents, obedience to superiors (ie, spiritual directors), obedience to the Magisterium of the Church. We may disagree with something, perhaps due to a lack of understanding or ignorance, but humble submission in a spirit of faith will bring us closer to Christ, help us grow in virtue. Moral theologians teach that unless we're asked to do something that is obviously a sin (ie, against Church teaching), we should be obedient to the best of our abilities. Look at Christ, already a grown man and God in the flesh, and He obeyed His Mother when she asked Him for help when the newly wed couple at Cana ran out of wine. And Denis the Carthusian said: "If you are doubtful whether a command is contrary to the law of God you should follow the command of your director because even if it is against the law of God, the one who obeys does not sin." It's not easy to be obedient, but we must try to be so, and ask for the virtue of obedience.

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