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?
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.