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.”

Prayer
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.

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Obedience with understanding

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


Once there were three young men. They were the best of friends, but each of them had different personalities. One was rebellious, but in a good way. Seeing that the system he was serving was alienating the marginalized, he made effort to change it and most of the time he goes against the system, no longer believing in its wisdom.

The other was on the other side of the spectrum. His ambition blinded him from reality. He offered utmost obedience to the system but his obedience was functional. He needed it for him to achieve his goal and see his ambition come into reality.

The third was more of a middle man. He obeyed, yes, but his obedience was coupled with understanding. He obeyed the rules because he understood the essence of these rules. His understanding was rooted on his love for Christ, and so as much as he obeyed the rules, he does it with compassion making his actions a reflection of God’s love.

His good heart turned him into a true shepherd of God and when he was elected as the church’s highest leader he revolutionized the world’s largest faith, bringing it closer to those who needed it the most. Those whom Christ referred to as the little ones – the oppressed, the poor, the marginalized.

This is the story of Pope St. John XXIII, the good Pope.

Obedience is not simply doing what is expected of you simply because you need it for you to get what you want. True obedience must be coupled with understanding and should be rooted in love, that way, even if no one is watching one would remain obedient.

What rule are you having a hard time following? Why?

1 John 2:3-6
Now by this we may be sure that we know him, if we obey his commandments. Whoever says, “I have come to know him,” but does not obey his commandments, is a liar, and in such a person the truth does not exist; but whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has reached perfection. By this we may be sure that we are in him: whoever says, “I abide in him,” ought to walk just as he walked.

Prayer
Lord, grant me a sincere heart and allow me to love Christ in such a way that I would make my own his teaching by living them faithfully. Make me a true Christian, Lord, and let me truly obey God’s precepts by loving and understanding them. Amen.