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Chapter 17

Obedience (Charity)


All the good of creatures consists
in the fulfillment of the Divine Will.
And this is never better attained
than by the practice of obedience,
in which is found the annihilation
of self-love (selfishness)
and the true liberty of the sons of God.
—St. Vincent de Paul



If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)  Christian Obedience is Charity, the supernatural love of God that seeks to please Him.  Herein, we follow the example of Christ Our Lord who said, “I do always what pleases Him.” (John 8:29)  Indeed, He was “obedient unto death, even to death on a cross.  Therefore, God (the Father) highly exalted him,” and will exalt us, too, if we are obedient to His will, even to the death of sin, the ego of the “old man,” through the cross of suffering and pain. (Phil. 2:8-9)  Obedience to God’s will, which is Charity, leads to freedom.  “Perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18)

When Jesus was young He was obedient to His Mother, Mary, and to Joseph, His foster father. (Luke 2:51)  As an adult, unless they contradicted His divine mission, He chose to obey the religious and civil authorities of His day, especially in His Passion.  We, too, should generally obey all lawful authority, unless it is sinful, in order to please God and fulfill His will.  God blesses obedience to the order of Divine Providence with grace and peace.

All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.” (Matt. 28:18)  Ultimately, it is Jesus we want to please that He may be pleased with us.  “If any one loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our home with him.” (John 14:23)  We keep His word when we keep Him, the Word, in our heart and soul, in our thoughts and desires.  We fulfill His will when we follow the Evangelical Counsels “in spirit and in truth,” according to our state of soul and state of life. (John 4:24)  For humility, purity and love is the way of Christ, and we follow Him when we become more poor in spirit, pure of heart, and obedient to our Heavenly Father.


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