Blog # 362 Obedience and Love
In composing Blog # 362 this morning I had two Biblical texts in mind. Both of them are very familiar texts. My interest was to reflect upon how they had a more clear and significant meaning when they were considered in relationship to one another. The texts are these: (Heb. 5: 8 )" Son though he was, he learned obedience by what he suffered; and when perfected, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him..."; and: (Jn. 15:10) "You will live in my love if you keep my commandments, even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and live in his love."
It seemed to me the ordinary identification of commandments with which I was familiar viewed them in relationship to sin. There seemed to be a subtle implication that God gave the commandments in order to get something accomplished, almost as if God had a need we were commanded to fill by obedience to His will. Sin by disobedience to the commandments would be opposed to God's will without a clear reference to God's will and God's love being the same.
Convinced that all of creation has its ultimate origin, identification, and goal in God and that God is love, I thought there must be a way of identifying commandments in relationship to love. rather than in relationship to accomplishments.
Obedience and love relate to one another in that an act of obedience can also be an act of love and by its very nature and act of obedient love draws closer in love to one another the person who gives the command and the person who obeys. Referring to His crucifixion, in obedience to the Father, Jesus said: "The One who sent me is with me. He has not deserted me since I always do what pleases him." The obedient act of submitting to the crucifixion on the part of Jesus was also an act of love, His greatest act of love. " There is no greater love than this: than to lay down one's life for one's friends."(Jn. 15: 13. "The father loves me for this, that I lay down my life...No one takes it from me; I lay it d own freely...This command I received from my Father." (Jn. 10: 17,18).
On Calvary we have the greatest love that ever touched the earth and the greatest act of obedience in the single action of Jesus laying down His life at the Father's command! All acts of obedience can be viewed in a similar way, as an act of love on the part of the person giving the command, and as an expression of obedient love on the part of the person who obeys. In obedience we share the wisdom ,knowledge, and love of the person whom we are obeying. A child in the pre-school class shares the knowledge and love of his or her teacher in obediently spelling her newly acquired pet cat C A T. In this the child is as smart as the teacher in a spelling bee they are participating in together. In the process of giving and obeying the truth that is involved in the process of obeying and commanding, love between the two enters in and is increased in each, both the person who is obedient and the person who issued the command.
All of this is similar in matters more complicated and important than the spelling of the word cat, as for example our obedient faith in accepting the truth about the Eucharistic Presence of the Resurrected Jesus in the tabernacle or in the authority of the Holy Father when he officially as head of the Church gives commands about issues concerning social justice or the sanctity of Sacramental marriages.
For me, viewing commandments the way I have been identifying them here, they are not viewed as burdens but as blessings. They are opportunities to grow in wisdom and love rather than mere challenges to our faith and sources of temptation to sin.