Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Obedience Problems?

If it's part of the ten commandments that we respect authority, beginning with our parents, it is because that's for our own protection. God's word says it so: "You must obey all governing authorities. Since all government comes from God, the civil authorities were appointed by God, and so anyone who resists authority is rebelling against God's decision, and such an act is bound to be punished" (Rom. 13:1-3).

Look back in history. The rebellious angels were cast away from heaven and now they tempt man to do the same. Our first parents, Adam and Eve, violated God's command and were expelled from Paradise. It's the same tune of their temptations. That's why the battle-cry of St. Michael who fought in God's name against the rebellious angels is within his own name, which in Hebrew means "who is like unto God."

Obedience therefore shows our faithfulness to God for it is God who is the reason for our obedience. The great master in prayer and mystical theology, St. John of the Cross, a Carmelite, wrote in his Cautions against falling into the devil's snares. He says the devil usually portrays evil under the guise of good so as to tempt people. Obedience, according to St. John of the Cross, is a protection of our virtue. Thus, he advises not to go outside the line of obedience by doing whatever may seem a great success or charitable action. Even making the human defects or qualities of a superior or authority a condition for obedience is not appropriate, lest it become purely a human obedience, not an obedience to the invisible God to whom we owe all our loyalty. The devil tends to attract with the feeling of power and freedom telling us we can then be like gods. That is how he deceived Adam and Even to disobey God and thus were expelled from Paradise and lost all other privileges (cf. Gen. 3:1-24).

If the Lord asks our obedience and humility, it is for our own good and protection. God's only begotten Son shows this in His prayer at the Gethsemane garden. Thus He prayed: "Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me. Nevertheless, let your will be done, not mine" (Lk. 22:42). The things Jesus did out of obedience turned out to be the very essence of success and victory, in spite of apparent failure and frustration. That's why in the long history of the Church, priests and religious persons recognize that of all the promises or vows made, the vow or promise of obedience is the pre-eminent one. Those who sacrifice lives for obedience to God are cause for victory of the Church. As the writers of Church history attest: the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christianity.

No comments:

Post a Comment