Tag Archives: obedience



God gave three counsels to St. Catherine of Genoa which, faithfully followed, would make family life very sweet:

  • “My daughter, never be heard to say, I wish, or I do not wish.
  • “Never make an excuse when thou art asked to perform a work of charity.”
  • “Endeavour always to do the will of others.”

– From: Golden Grains, Eighth Edition, H.M. Gill and Son, Dublin, 1889


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The faith and obedience of Abraham is proved in his readiness to sacrifice his [only, long-longed for] son Isaac. He is stayed from the act by an angel.

After these things, God tempted [1] Abraham, and said to him: Abraham, Abraham. And he answered: Here I am.

He said to him: Take thy only begotten son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and go into the land of vision: and there thou shalt offer him for an holocaust upon one of the mountains which I will shew thee.

So Abraham rising up in the night, saddled his ass: and took with him two young men, and Isaac his son: and when he had cut wood for the holocaust he went his way to the place which God had commanded him.

And on the third day, lifting up his eyes, he saw the place afar off.

And he said to the young men: Stay you here with the ass: I and the boy will go with speed as far as yonder, and after we have worshipped, will return to you.

And he took the wood for the holocaust, and laid it upon Isaac his son: and he himself carried in his hands fire and a sword. And as they two went on together;

Isaac said to his father: My father. And he answered: What wilt thou, son?

Behold, saith he, fire and wood: where is the victim for the holocaust?

And Abraham said: God will provide himself a victim for an holocaust, my son. So they went on together.

And they came to the place which God had shewn him, where he built an altar, and laid the wood in order upon it: and when he had bound Isaac his son, he laid him on the altar upon the pile of wood.

And he put forth his hand and took the sword, to sacrifice his son.

And behold an angel of the Lord from heaven called to him, saying: Abraham, Abraham. And he answered: Here I am.

And he said to him: Lay not thy hand upon the boy, neither do thou any thing to him: now I know that thou fearest God, and hast not spared thy only begotten son for my sake.

Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw behind his back a ram amongst the briers sticking fast by the horns, which he took and offered for a holocaust instead of his son.

And he called the name of that place, The Lord seeth. Whereupon even to this day it is said: In the mountain the Lord will see.

And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, saying:

By my own self have I sworn, saith the Lord: because thou hast done this thing, and hast not spared thy only begotten son for my sake:

I will bless thee, and I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand that is by the sea shore: thy seed shall possess the gates of their enemies.

And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because thou hast obeyed my voice.

[1] Chap. 22. Ver. 1. “God tempted”, &c. God “tempteth no man to evil”, James 1.13; but by trial and experiment maketh known to the world, and to ourselves, what we are, as here by this trial the singular faith and obedience of Abraham was made manifest.


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“Brethren, be ye subject to one another in the fear of Christ” (Eph 5:21)

A “tough one” for worldly-minded people

If there is a word which in the ears of the world sounds harsh and grating, the very mention of which rouses contentiousness and opposition, it is the word “subjection”. People will listen with equanimity to the Christian preacher so long as he discourses on the attributes of God, or the benefits of Redemption, or the miseries of this life; but when he solemnly tells them they must be subjects, men, to whatever class they may belong, chafe and rebel and argue and will not have it so. And yet what truth is put forth more plainly in the inspired word of God than our duty of subjection to those who are our superiors, to those in authority?

St Paul tells us: “Be ye subject to one another in the fear of Christ.” And he goes on to explain his meaning: “Let women be subjects to their husbands, as to the Lord”; and again: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is just.” And further on: “Servants, be obedient to them that are your lords according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the simplicity of your heart, as to Christ.” And St Peter instructs his flock in a similar manner: “Be ye subject therefore to every human creature for God’s sake, whether it be to the king as excelling, or governors, as sent by him… for so is the will of God.” And Christ Himself enjoins the same obligation when speaking of the Church: “he who heareth you, heareth me; and he who despiseth you, despiseth me,” and “If he will not hear the Church, let him be to thee as the heathen and the publican.”

These texts will not be readily accepted by the modern world which even if it professes to believe in the Holy Scriptures as the Word of God, glosses over anything that it imagines strikes at its independence.

The modern world, including many who claim to believe in the Bible, glosses over anything that it imagines to strike at its independence

But it may be profitable for us to consider how the very conditions of our nature point to the necessity of subjection on the part of man. And first of all the fact itself of our existence requires that we be dependent on that Mighty Being who brought us forth out of nothingness, who encompasses us with His abiding presence, who can mould and fashion us according to every dictate of His will. “Behold as clay is in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.” Who then is there who can escape the grasp of that hand which has kindled in us the spark of life and whose breath alone feeds it and keeps it from vanishing into darkness? Who can withdraw himself from the dominion of One whose prerogative is that His possession of us is the condition of our existence, so that were He for one moment to stay His retaining hold, time and space and spirit and matter would be swept away and nothing remain but He, the one unchangeable, everlasting God.

We are then by essence, by the very fact that we are created, dependent upon God in every faculty of our soul, in every member of our body, in every action and operation of our whole being.

We are dependent upon God in soul and body

But it has been His will that in a secondary sense we should also be dependent on His creatures. You have but to look round this material world to see how truly we are ruled and governed by laws not of our making and by forces beyond our control. We are affected by the vicissitudes of climate and weather, by heat and cold, by storm and sunshine. The ocean may rise and overwhelm us, the earth itself on which we stand may be shaken to its very foundations. Again, how powerless we are when contagion is abroad, or desolation covers the land; how helpless when sickness overtakes us and death knocks at the door and closes our eyes upon this fitful scene.

In the material world, we are dependent upon our fellow men as well as on the inanimate world around us

Nor are we less dependent upon our fellow men than on the inanimate world about us. From the moment he sees the light the child is in need of parents to keep within him the breath of life, to educate and to guide him. As he grows up he requires friends to help and advise him, and organised society to secure his person, his property and his rights.

Dependence in the spiritual world

And again, if we pass from the visible to the invisible and spiritual world, we are met once more with the sense of our dependence and subjection. Mysterious as is that world, nevertheless there occur at intervals marvellous disclosures of its nearness and its influence. It may be that at some time we thought we heard as it were a whisper that told us of some course to adopt or some danger to avoid, and it was our Angel Guardian counselling us. Or kneeling before the tabernacle there may come to us a light, a glimmer what lies beyond when we shall see Christ in His glory, who bids us to take heart in His changeless love for us. Thus it is that though living in a world of sense, we are surrounded on all sides by another world, a world hidden from us behind a dark veil, yet one with which we are ever and anon brought into contact.

Though living in a world of sense, we are surrounded on all sides by another world, one with which we are ever brought into contact

We are then led to the conclusion of the intimate and necessary dependence of man, of his essential subjection to the material, the moral, the spiritual order. What then is there in man that makes him uneasy and rebellious when he is reminded of his obligation to submit to the yoke? What is it that makes him sullen and mulish when the curb is put upon him?

What is it, then, that makes those men uneasy and rebellious when they are reminded of their obligation to submit to the yoke?

What is it but that spirit of stubborn pride ingrained in his nature, constantly urging him to repeat the cry of the fallen angel, “Non serviam” (“I will not serve”).

May we then strive to attain to some degree of that lofty virtue of humility, which is the doorway to true obedience and subjection, the virtue which was such a distinguishing mark in Our Blessed Lord’s life.

A distinguishing mark in Our Lord Jesus’ life

Our Blessed Lord said, “I have come to do the will of him who sent me,” and He saw His Father’s will in every order He received from the legitimate secular authorities, even though they were His bitterest enemies. He who was God “became obedient unto death, even death of the cross.”

And who are we? May we ever deepen in our hearts the knowledge of ourselves, of our nothingness before God, of our littleness even in the eyes of men.

Let us consider alone the little esteem in which we are held by others

If we considered alone the little esteem in which we are held by others, where would be that pride and self-appreciation which causes us to stiffen our necks against all authority?

Unknown and unheeded as we are outside our own narrow circle, how often are we hardly noticed by many of those with whom we live in daily contact? How a short absence effaces us from the minds of others! What trace then shall we leave behind us, when we have passed out of this world altogether, when men have no more to hope or to fear from us, or perhaps every reason for trying to forget us, as bringing before them the unwelcome recollection of death, or of failings and sins in which we participated or of which we have been the cause. As transient as the light wake left by the ship gliding through the water, we shall be as if we had not been.

As transient as the light wake left by the ship gliding through the water, we shall be as if we had not been

Poor insignificant drops in the vast surging ocean, why weary ourselves seeking the sympathy and applause of such a world as this?

Why, to the neglect of an infinitely greater love, do we toil and labour to win the hearts of those who will forget us, alas, even as we have forgotten others?

Why, to the neglect of an infinite love, do we toil to win the hearts of those who will forget us, alas, even as we have forgotten others?

Only One for a certainty bears us for ever written in His heart. There then let us take our refuge: be subject to Him, and for His sake to those, whoever they be, placed over us: and He who “putteth down the mighty from their seats will exalt His humble servants”. Let us cling to that arm, never will it fail us: lean our tired heads upon that breast, never will it cease to throb with the truest and the deepest love for us.

Inward peace and serenity

If we pray continuously, “Sacred Heart of Jesus, I put all my trust in thee,” we shall gain that confidence that will outride all the storms of this brief life and keep us in inward peace and serenity, awaiting the coming of the eternity of complete joy and happiness.

– From: Lift Up Your Hearts, Christopher J. Wilmot, The Catholic Book Club, London, 1949

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Posted by on February 13, 2016 in Words of Wisdom


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“[The words], ‘If you love me, keep my commandments, and ask the Father and he will give you another Paraclete’, were brought to fulfilment in the disciples themselves.

They were proven truly to have loved him, truly to have obeyed in his commandments, on that day when all at once the Holy Spirit appeared to them in [tongues of] fire as they were praying in the upper room, and taught them, [putting] in mouths a diversity of languages, and made them strong in heart with the consolation of his love.

Earlier, however, they possessed the Paraclete himself, namely, our Lord sojourning with them in the flesh. By the sweetness of his miracles and the wealth of his preaching they were wont to be raised up and strengthened, so that they could not be scandalised at persecution by unbelievers.

But since by ascending into heaven after his Resurrection he had deserted them bodily, although the presence of his divine majesty was never absent from them, he rightly added concerning this Paraclete, that is, the Holy Spirit: ‘to abide with you forever’. He abides eternally with the saints, always illuminating inwardly and invisibly in this life, and introducing them to the everlasting contemplation of the sight of his majesty in the future.

If we too, dearly beloved brothers, love Christ perfectly in such a way that we prove the genuineness of this love by our observance of his commandments, he will ask the Father on our behalf, and the Father will give us another Paraclete. He will ask the Father through his humanity, and will give [us another Paraclete] with the Father through his divinity…

If we commit ourselves with all care to hearing, reading, conferring with one another, and preserving these [deeds and teachings] in heart and body, it is sure that we will easily overcome the hardships of this age – as if the Lord were sojourning with us forever and consoling us. If we love this Paraclete and keep his commandments, he will ask the Father, and he will give us another Paraclete – that is, he will in his clemency pour forth the grace of his Spirit into our hearts, and it will gladden us in the expectation of our heavenly homeland in the midst of the adversities of our present exile.”

– St Bede the Venerable

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Posted by on August 8, 2015 in Words of Wisdom


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“…Jesus came into our world and said, ‘I am come to do the will of my Father and His law is written on my Heart.’… He said, ‘I came not to be served but to serve.’ And though He was the Lord of Lords, He was happy to be the servant of servants. But why was He so obedient? To rebuild the glory of God, diminished by our first parents [Adam and Eve, who were disobedient to God], to give us the best example of submission and to raise and conserve in His person any merit there is in our obedience. Think therefore, O Christian, how dear you should hold this virtue that is so close to the Heart of your Jesus. Obedience! …

O, what a most obedient Heart! Consider who and what He was obeying? God, who sustains the heavens and the whole universe and who does He obey? Simple creatures, the work of His own hands, and how does He obey? With love and joy, with the same promptness that angels show in obeying Him in Heaven, and in what does He obey? In everything, even the most humiliating things… and how long did He obey for? Not just for a day, a month, a year, or just during His childhood, but continuously, all through His life. Until when was He obedient? Until death, death on a cross. O, how incredible! His miracles were not marvellous because He was almighty God, His obedience was the miracle of miracles.

So, learn from the Sacred Heart of Jesus how to obey. You must learn, seeing that you are often slow even obeying those you are obliged to obey, you are always searching for an excuse not to obey, you do not obey, or you do so with disrespect and irritation, you must, or you may lose all reward in the sight of God. Learn, you who rarely obey without some form of repugnance, whether through judgement or unwillingness.

Learn, you who even obey for your own good and your own self-satisfaction. The submission of the divine Heart of Jesus is a reprove to your pride and your love of independence… Obedience is worth more than sacrifice. He does not prefer your judgements to anyone else’s, do not think yourself more illumined or prudent than others, and recognise in the will of others the will of God.

O, how meritorious it is to sacrifice our own will for someone else! How many treasures of virtue and graces [these are ‘treasures in heaven, rather than earthly treasures which rust and woodworm corrupts’, mentioned by Jesus Christ in the Gospel] you can amass, even by living a life that seems ordinary, if you are really obedient! O, in how little time you will cover much ground towards sainthood by simply obeying!

By doing so, the loving Heart of Jesus will incline towards you, and teach you to listen to His commands in all things. In adhering to His designs, every obstacle blocking your path to perfection will be removed, you will experience a profound peace, and you will see the numberless advantages of being His, on earth and in heaven. Work then, towards perfect obedience, accept the loving invitations of His grace, for God has said that the obedient man will have the victory.
PRAYER: Jesus, for your glory I wish to be submissive and docile so You may extinguish all my pride.”
– Mons. Nicola Tafuri


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“Confession is relaxing and reassuring – give it a try

For me it’s a restoration of my relationship with God. When I come out of Confession I feel like I’ve actually had a thorough spring clean. I’ve been looking at the chambers of my heart and have been thinking, is there anything that needs to be cleaned out? That’s how I feel when I come from Confession.


Right through the day after Confession, usually I keep checking myself in trying to do the right thing. I ask myself if Jesus is still happy to be in the chamber of my heart and is it still clean? I become very conscious of the way I talk and the way I deal with people. So, for me, it’s always a source of renewal that assures me that God is Love. I can almost hear the echo of the priest’s words in my ear – some of the things he’s asked me to do – and I’m reminded to continue doing them throughout the day.


If I was to compare the way I felt before and after I go to Confession, it’s like coming back from the doctor’s with a clean bill of health. You feel good, you know that you’re fine, you know there is nothing to worry about, and you’re very careful to do the right thing so that you don’t have to go to the doctor’s again. But with Confession you’ll always have to keep going.


If anyone feels nervous about going to Confession I’d say that the feeling you get after is worth a try. It puts you on the path to just keep going because the thing about our faith is that you just keep on for as long as you live. There will be challenges, so just keep going and keep encouraging yourself and others to do it…


[The following quote by Pope Francis]: ‘… Forgiveness of our sins is not something we can give ourselves. I cannot say: ‘I forgive my sins’. Forgiveness is asked for, is asked of another, and in Confession we ask for forgiveness from Jesus. Forgiveness is not the fruit of our own efforts but rather a gift, it is a gift of the Holy Spirit who fills us with the wellspring of mercy and of grace that flows unceasingly from the open heart of the Crucified and Risen Christ.


Secondly, it reminds us that we can truly be at peace only if we allow ourselves to be reconciled, in the Lord Jesus, with the Father and with the brethren. And we have all felt this in our hearts, when we have gone to Confession with a soul weighed down and with a little sadness; and when we receive Jesus’ forgiveness we feel at peace, with that peace of soul which is so beautiful, and which only Jesus can give, only him.’ (19th February 2014, Wednesday Audience).

[From Bishop Conry’s Pastoral Letter]: ‘You don’t have to remember any formula of words, or how many times you have done something wrong. The priest will help you. The Pope reminds us that the priest himself, bishops and even the Pope need to celebrate this sacrament. So if you haven’t ‘been to confession’ for some time and want to discover it again, this Lent might be a good time to do it… I hope that Lent is a fruitful season for you, that you experience change not only in the weather and the lengthening of days, but also in the light in your heart and the warmth of your inner self, and come to Easter with a real sense of re-discovered joy in the Lord.'”
– The above are excerpts of an article by Clare Ward published in the feature “Lenten Reflections” in “The Catholic Universe” issue Sunday 23rd March, 2014. For subscriptions please visit (external link).


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Jesus was casting out a devil and it was dumb; but when the devil had gone out the dumb man spoke, and the people were amazed. But some of them said, “It is through Beelzebul, the prince of devils, that he casts out devils.”

Others asked him, as a test, for a sign from heaven; but, knowing what they were thinking, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is heading for ruin, and a household divided against itself collapses. So too with Satan: if he is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand – since you assert that it is through Beelzebul that I cast out devils. Now if it is through Beelzebul that I cast out devils, through whom do your own experts cast them out? Let them be your judges, then. But if it is through the finger of God that I cast out devils, then know that the kingdom of God has overtaken you. So long as a strong man fully armed guards his own palace, his goods are undisturbed; but when someone stronger than he is attacks and defeats him, the stronger man takes away all the weapons he relied on and shares out his spoil. “He who is not with me is against me; and he who does not gather with me scatters.”

V. The Gospel of the Lord.
R. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.


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These were my orders: Listen to my voice, then I will be your God and you shall be my people. Follow right to the end the way that I mark out for you, and you will prosper.

But they did not listen, they did not pay attention; they followed the dictates of their own evil hearts, refused to face me, and turned their backs on me. From the day your ancestors came out of the land of Egypt until today, day after day I have persistently sent you all my servants the prophets.

But they have not listened to me, have not paid attention; they have grown stubborn and behaved worse than their ancestors. You may say all these words to them: they will not listen to you; you may call them: they will not answer. So tell them this, “Here is the nation that will not listen to the voice of the Lord its God nor take correction. Sincerity is no more, it has vanished from their mouths.”

V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.


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Addressing the people and his disciples, Jesus said, “The scribes and the Pharisees occupy the chair of Moses. You must therefore do what they tell you and listen to what they say; but do not be guided by what they do, since they do not practise what they preach. They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but will they lift a finger to move them? Not they! Everything they do is done to attract attention, like wearing broader phylacteries and longer tassels, like wanting to take the place of honour at banquets and the front seats in the synagogues, being greeted obsequiously in the market squares and having people calling them Rabbi.

“You, however, must not allow yourselves to be called Rabbi, since you have only one Master, and you are all brothers. You must call no one on earth your father, since you have only one Father and he is in heaven. Nor must you allow yourselves to be called teachers, for you have only one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you must be your servant. Anyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and anyone who humbles himself will be exalted.”

V. The Gospel of the Lord.
R. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.


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R. I will show God’s salvation to the upright.

1. “I find no fault with your sacrifices,
your offerings are always before me.
I do not ask more bullocks from your farms,
nor goats from among your herds. (R.)

2. “But how can you recite my commandments
and take my covenant on your lips,
you who despise my law
and throw my words to the winds. (R.)

3. “You do this, and should I keep silence?
Do you think I am like you?
A sacrifice of thanksgiving honours me
and I will show God’s salvation to the upright.” (R.)


Repent, says the Lord, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.


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