Yesterday, at Vigil … Obedience or shambles?

My parish priest, my confessor, my spiritual advisor, and a man I count as a friend stood before the congregation and announced that, as of August 6, our Bishop, who is a good man, will be assigning him to another parish. I knew it was coming and have honestly been a bit surprised that it hasn’t happened before now. He’ll be going to a parish that is growing, a parish that is filled with good challenges worthy of a good priest. He’ll have his hands filled with working blessings and his heart filled with people who’ll love him and need him as much as he will them. And I’ll miss him.

He told us a little about our new priest. He is in our diocese but not of it, being “on loan” from Nigeria. I will never be able to pronounce his last name. Happily, I’m sure he’ll answer to “Father.” ūüôā From what I heard I like him already.

Obedience. Leave one parish, go to another because your superior tells you to. Obedience is something that our modern culture seems to¬†frown on. Being obedient¬†looks to be¬†the equivalent to being subservient. The obedient lack the freedom to do as they please. Personal freedom. Putting “self” first. It’s personal freedom that gives the individual carte blanch in a society caught in a¬†downward spiral. With this supposedly inalienable right to complete freedom the only thing sacred is what the individual says is sacred. And of course they can change that whenever they choose.

Subiaco Abbey and Academy, where Stanford atte...

Subiaco Abbey.

I know some people who claim to be free. For them “The Truth” has become “my truth”, as though truth were a subjective thing, and subject always to the whim of the person. No absolutes unless they say so, and then the absolutes are what they say they are. And these people? Every one of them live a life in shambles. And no, I’m not judging. Jesus said that by their fruits¬†we’d know them. A shambles is a shambles, misery is evident, and you needn’t be judgmental to see it, to recognize it. And still they cling to “their truth”. Its their right.

A few years ago I made private vows based on the rule of St. Benedict. I vowed fidelity, to be faithful (I’m gonna do this thing from now on regardless), I vowed stability (I’m gonna do this thing from now on regardless and I’m gonna do it with Subiaco Abbey), and I vowed obedience. Obedience. I will do what rightful authority tells me to because it is rightful authority and its their right to direct me. I know that there are people who would think me mindless, not making my own decisions, following blindly. If that weren’t so sad it would be funny. I thought about obedience a lot before I made that vow. I thought about what it meant, what I was giving up to another, and both what I stood to lose and gain. That’s not mindless, that IS making my own decision, and it’s certainly not following blindly. What it’s NOT is mindlessly going along with a crowd, following the crowd blindly, and letting a mob mentality make my decisions for me.

Those people I mentioned, the ones who lead lives in shambles? They aren’t free. They are prisoners of a skewered society with no real freedom of their own. They are free only¬†so long as they¬†follow the crowd. They are free only to follow the crowd. That’s not freedom. Its slavery.

Obedience. Obedience to rightful authority, God,¬†our Holy Father Pope Francis, the Magisterium of Holy Mother Church, the bishop, the abbot, the Oblate director, and my parish priest. All of these give me a guidance that keeps me free of that mob mentality, keeps me free in a way that I needn’t live a life in shambles, keeps me free to think for myself, and keeps me free to be me and not what the “truth” of others would force me to be.

The definition of Godly obedience is freedom. Please pray for my priest that’s moving out and my priest that’s moving in.


Us … Sunday, April 21

sheep at the show 1

The Church.

Gospel John 10:27-30

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Jesus said: ‚ÄúMy sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father‚Äôs hand. The Father and I are one.‚ÄĚ
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† The Church is a beautiful thing. It must be. God loves it and gave His Son for it. “It” is “us”. The Church, us, hears the voice of Jesus. If we hear His voice it’s because we recognize it. We know Him and He knows us. We know His goodness and He knows all our faults. But we follow Him regardless. Sheep aren’t flawless, but they need to be faithful. Sheep often stumble, it’s getting up that’s important. And He gives us life. Not what we think of as normal life but never-ending life. And it’s not a life that can be brought to an end. Not here and now or later. Following Him faithfully takes us out of the reach of those that would cut our life short. That tells us Who is really in control, Who it is that has the power of life and death. God has given this flock to Jesus and is greater than any, greater than those who would raid the flock, greater than the wolves parading in sheep’s clothing, greater than all. We’re safe in His hands.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† “The council now beginning rises in the Church like the daybreak, a forerunner of most splendid light.” Pope John XXIII, concerning Vatican II.
      Have you ever noticed that daybreak is always preceded by the dark of night? Have you ever noticed that the birth of a child always involves a solid whack on the bottom? Have you ever noticed that almost everything worthwhile is hard? And have you ever noticed than its usually when folks take their eyes off the goal that they stumble during any race?
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† “Know you not that they that run in the race, all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize ? So run that you may obtain.” 1 Corinthians 9:24.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Its pretty easy now days to get side tracked, to take our eyes off the goal, which goal is Christ. But so many things clamor for our attention. That, coupled with the fact that sheep (“us”) aren’t known for their intelligence, makes stumbling easy. Sorry, but that’s the way it is. Things like abortion, scandal(s), politics, false brethren, pollution, and I just get tired of lists like that. You probably do too. So, rather than look to long and hard at those things, which isn’t to say we turn a blind eye, we’ll keep our eyes on the Goal instead. That “most splendid light” Pope John XXIII spoke of. We sheep will keep listening to His voice, trusting in His hands and not worrying about those things wrong in the pasture. Not worrying does NOT mean adopting a Pollyanna attitude and turning that blind eye that I mentioned before. Because running the race also means taking care of business. But in running, in taking care of business, in looking toward the goal its important to set proper priorities. Priority …
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ” … they follow Me.” … And honestly, faithfully doing this, truly and really following Him takes care of all the rest.
Published in: on April 21, 2013 at 5:06 am  Comments Off on Us … Sunday, April 21  
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