Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Blog 181 Obedience
Blog 181 Obedience Obedience. Can you recall the most recent time you read or heard or used that word? It seems we tend to think of it in terms of childhood. Children should be obedient to their parents, we say. Back in our seminary training, years ago, the subject of obedience was a definite part of our concern. The Spiritual Director in his weekly spiritual conferences would regularly speak of the importance and meaning of obedience. Obedience to the seminary rules, (being present and on time for class, chapel exercises, etc. ) was a large part of the criterion for determinng a seminarian's qualification for ordination.Looking back on it, it seems to me, ordination and then "being a good priest" were the goals of obedience. Yes, it made us more like Jesus and that too was important, but along side of rather than as the total purpose of it all, even of obedience itself. And so it happened that obedience, like the virtues of poverty and chastity, meditation and extended times of prayer were thought of as the experience and work of priests and left for priests to possess. But that is not the way it should be. Through faith and Baptism we are all called and empowered to become a 'new creation' in Jesus. (IICor 5:17). His life and work is to be ours for the sanctification of the world. The holiness of Jesus is to be shared with us all. Just suppose for a moment that fire alone is the source of heat. Other reaities could be heated by fire, but fire alone is the ultimate source of their warmth. It is something like this with God. God alone is holy. Others can and are called to share the holiness of God, but all holines is from God. Since all true obedience unites us or makes us one with the will of God, the source of all holiness, it is not merely for children or for priests, but for all. The person of Jesus is divine, God Himself. Yet the humanity of Jesus is our humanity. Jesus came to live a human experience that was in perfect union with the will of God so that through our union with Jesus our human experience might also be in union with the same divine will. In the case of Jesus and in our own case that union is achieved personally though obedience. The sun and the moon and the stars, the grass and the soil all accomplish the will of God for them. But it is not a free personal accomplishment. There is no risk, no freedom, no love. With us it is essentially different. Though we have our given nature, our unique genetic structure, our inherited characteristics and personal DNA, we have as well the gift of freedom and the opportunity to love. In creating us God did not use a cookie cutter to make us all the same. Jesus comes to invite us all once again, in 2011, to unite ourselves with Him in faith, to listen, to discover, and to accomplish the will of Our Father in all we think and say and do. This is called obedience. Some Scripture texts that might be helpful: Psalm 89, with particular notice of verses 1,12,25,27,37, and 38. The moon is given as a 'faithful witness' in the sky, a witness to the sun, as our obedience is to be a witness to God's wisdom and love in us. Ps 20:7-9, and Paul's reference to this psalm as appplying to Jesus in Heb 10:5-7. Heb 5:7,8; Rom 5:19, and Jn 8:29.