God knows best

The first thing I require is for you to have a Prior, one of yourselves, who is to be chosen for the office by common consent, or that of the greater and maturer part of you. Each of the others must promise him obedience – of which, once promised, he must try to make his deed the true reflection – and also chastity and the renunciation of ownership.

Rule of St. Albert, No. 4

Sr. Adele has been in religious life for 57 years and she is now in her 70s, yet she refuses to be silenced by age, instead she is one of the busiest nuns in her community.

She is a teacher by profession, and a good one at that. One time she was asked to manage one of the congregation’s schools, but in the middle of her term she was ordered to vacate her office and give way to a much older nun who has lesser experience. The nun was set to retire and the leadership wants to do her a favor by allowing her experience how to manage a school.

Sr. Adele was told that instead of managing the school, of which she did impeccably and efficiently, she would instead handle the pastoral apostolate of their community.

She obeyed, and it was then that she was able to notice the needs of the workers of their school. She decided to do something and started a cooperative initially for the janitors but eventually to include all the staffs of the school. The cooperative grew and was able to help many people, not just the staffs of the school.

Sr. Adele had the choice not to obey her superior, considering that she was doing well as a school administrator, but her willingness to give way opened more opportunities for her to share her life to more people allowing her to find fulfillment in her religious vocation.

Obedience is a virtue brought about by our faith in God, that God is at work in our lives and that God will always have a better plan for us, even if we don’t see any good to the plan, initially.

When we open ourselves to the work of the Holy Spirit, we allow it to shape us, to mold us, to make us better versions of ourselves, and for us to have a much fulfilling life changing experience.

All we need to do is to say, “Yes” and to mean it, believing that God knows best.

How did obedience change my life?

Genesis 22:1-3, 15-18
Some time afterward, God put Abraham to the test and said to him: Abraham! “Here I am!” he replied. Then God said: Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There offer him up as a burnt offering on one of the heights that I will point out to you. Early the next morning Abraham saddled his donkey, took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac, and after cutting the wood for the burnt offering, set out for the place of which God had told him.

A second time the angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven and said: “I swear by my very self—oracle of the Lord—that because you acted as you did in not withholding from me your son, your only one, I will bless you and make your descendants as countless as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore; your descendants will take possession of the gates of their enemies, and in your descendants all the nations of the earth will find blessing, because you obeyed my command.”

Lord, grant me an obedient heart, one that does your will even if my human logic suggests that doing so would not be good for me. Allow me to surrender my will to you and to accept your will in my life. Amen.


Laws of man

It is to me, however, that you have come for a rule of life in keeping with your avowed purpose, a rule you may hold fast to henceforward

Rule of St. Albert, No. 3

Rules, laws are made in order to serve man and not the other way around, but sometimes we get cooped up with the technicalities of the rules, laws, or policies that we tend to forget the primary aim of what we are doing.

When Jesus allowed his disciples to pick grain during the sabbath, many scholars of the Jewish law were offended, thinking that what they were doing was unlawful, because on sabbath no one is supposed to be lifting a finger and do anything. It is reserved for prayer and holy obligations. It is a day reserved for God.

In the Book of Maccabees (2:15-48) we find the story of zealous Jews who fled to the mountains rather than worship pagan idols as ordered by the king. The soldiers went after them and attacked them on a sabbath. Because it was a sabbath, “they did not retaliate; they neither threw stones, nor blocked up their secret refuges,” (v. 36), which resulted in the death of thousands of Jews.

In the end of the Rule of Life, St. Albert reminds us that in all that we do, we must make sure to use our common sense, because “common sense is the guide of the virtues.” (RA 24).

Rules, laws, and policies are our guide in living a life that is acceptable in our society, however, we should not be slaves to these rules, laws, and policies, always, our yardstick is the example of Christ and that is love – loving God, by loving our neighbor.

If the rules, laws, and policies of man would seek to destroy human dignity, then we should seek to remedy it.

Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.” (Matthew 5:17).

In the same way, human laws should not enslave us. Rather, we should endeavor to make laws fitting to the will of our Lord, giving glory to God, even those laws which we consider to be desperately misguided and contrary to human dignity.

How am I a slave to human laws, rules and policies?

Mark 2:23-28
As he was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath, his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain. At this the Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?” He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry? How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat, and shared it with his companions?” Then he said to them, “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”

Dearest Lord, please grant me an open and discerning heart, one that seeks to please you alone even in the midst of trials. Strengthen my conscience and guide me in observing the laws of man, that I may be able to use them to give glory to your name. Amen.