Obedience, rediscovered: Part 2.

This is the second entry of a three-part series on the Benedictine vows of Stability, Obedience, and Conversion of Life. Part One regarding Stability can be found here.

Part 2

“The third degree of humility is that a person for the love of God submit himself to his superiors in all obedience, imitating the Lord, of whom the Apostle says, ‘He became obedient unto death.'”  – “On Humility” chapter 7, The Rule of St. Benedict 

Coincidentally, my Rule reading for today is about obedience to my superiors and to God.

I think I know what obedience is and I would even go as far to classify myself as an obedient person. I do what I’m told and I’m usually quiet about it. I’m not a fan of rule breaking and wreaking havoc. However, as much as I’d like to think I’m obedient, I still struggle with spiritual obedience. In the Company of Jesus, postulants, novitiates, oblates, and full members are required to pray two offices a day.

Easy, right? No.

In the mornings, I reach for my prayer book. It doesn’t take more than a few seconds to think about my email, the laundry, or the fact

This is Johnny.
He’s not always obedient.

that I still have a pile of unsorted something on my floor. In the evenings, I’m usually on the Internet too long, rendering my prayer interests to a close zero. I have good intentions of engaging in noon-day prayer, but sometimes, it just doesn’t happen. Through this, I’ve learned that maybe obedience is also about disciplining one’s self to do the work of God. Sure, I could just mouth some prayers as I nod off, but sometimes that ends in nothing but sleep. Praying an office requires discipline on my part for the glory of God. No, there’s nobody physically standing over my shoulder morning, noon, and night, but I know that the Lord Jesus takes precedence in my life.

Over the Internet.

Over distractions.

Over my occasional laziness.

Over my life in need of redemption.

Christ was obedient unto death, thus saving all of those who call on Him. Obedience yields wonderful fruit. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was obedient enough to carry Jesus in her womb, thus giving birth to the world’s salvation. Many of the apostles were obedient to the point of death, just as many saints of the olden days. Obedience glorifies God.

I may never be called to martyrdom or to even do something so extravagant for Christ that causes the whole world turns its confused head. However, I am called to live in a way that glorifies Christ, even in the smallest ways. The way I read, write, blog, think, speak, and  engage with others. Obedience to Christ means putting away things that try to win me over in exchange for a deepened relationship with the Lord. No, it’s not easy and yes, I fail.

Thankfully, as I pray on a regular basis: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner, I know He hears and has compassion on my lack of perfection. In conclusion, thanks be to God for obedience. Thanks be to God for mercy. Thanks be to God for the life of Christ that is at work still today.


5 thoughts on “Obedience, rediscovered: Part 2.

  1. I have noticed that it is much harder to keep a prayer schedule if my day is not scheduled. Such as on vacation or over the weekends. You would think those are the easiest times to pray the office because you, theoretically speaking, have all this (“free”) time.

    So I can totally understand since you are on summer vacation it is probably harder to get into a prayer routine. It might be best if you set up a time that you get up and go to bed and pray the offices right before these times. You might still miss them sometimes, but it might be a lot easier to say “Alright I get up at 7:00 and before I do much else I pray the office.” And, “Alright at 10:30 I pray the office and go to bed at 11:00.” Or whatever times you get up and go to bed.

    • These are great ideas!

      I have also found that the “off” periods of my life are the most hectic to manage, ex – breaks. One tactic that I have discovered is leaving my laptop and other electronic devices out of my room. This makes makes it less tempting to check my email or text messages one last time.

      I’ll certainly work at setting a time – maybe even setting an alarm to jar me into a set schedule for prayer.

      • That is a good idea too. I have tried that. I tried to actually keep the Benedictine schedule of the Psalms for a week. It was really hard because I did not get up at 3:00 AM to pray so it was like playing catch up until 9 or so (which meant A LOT of praying the Psalms, pretty much at the 9:00AM prayer time). If you really want a challenge let me know and I will send you the schedule. Or just go on a retreat to the Abby of Gethsemani in Bardstown, KY.

  2. I’m up for it! Send me the schedule anytime. The Abbey is also an option, especially after I get back from South Korea. I live a little over 30 minutes from there, so it’s a close retreat area.

  3. Pingback: Conversion of Life (or Sarah faces her flaws), Part 3. « a time and a season

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