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Obedience: A Bitter Gift

Christian Counseling and Obedience

Obedience to Christ is necessary in our spiritual formation

Obedience to Christ is necessary in our spiritual formation

If union with God involves submission of our will to God’s will and making two wills become one, then how can one accomplish this feat without obedience.  Obedience is the ultimate bitter gift in which we surrender our own will to God’s will.  How can one surrender without the virtue of obedience?  How can one magically surrender to God, if throughout one’s life, they have manifested disobedience to all forms of authority?  Disobedience is a fruit of pride.  Lucifer in his pride, disobeyed God and refused to submit his will to the divine.

Christian Counseling sessions should seek to uproot any forms of disobedience within spiritual children.  Various exercises of obedience can be employed in which a spiritual child follows the advice of a spiritual superior without question.  Various spiritual tasks can be laid out for the spiritual child to perform within a period of time.  This in turn can lay foundations for spiritual obedience.  Spiritual children should also be encouraged to accept orders of superiors in any field of life as if from God.  Did not Christ tell Pontius Pilate that his authority came from above?  Hence, spiritual children should recognize all temporal authority is from heaven and that one must submit their will to that authority.

Through this submission comes the bitter gift of obedience.  It is bitter because it involves submitting one’s own will to another but it is a gift because it frees one from pride and opens one to the will of God.  When one’s will becomes united with Christ then and only then can true union with the Lord be accomplished.

As in my last blog, I will include various quotes from the saints regarding obedience.  If you have any quotes from scripture or other saints, please feel free to add them as a comment.

All things whatsoever that they command you, observe and do.—-Matt. 23:3

We all have a natural inclination to command, and a great aversion to obey; and yet, it is certain that it is more to our advantage to obey than to command. It is for this reason that perfect souls have so great an affection for obedience, and find in it all their delight-St. Francis De Sales

Obedience is, without doubt, more meritorious than any austerity. And what greater austerity can be thought of than that of keeping one’s will constantly submissive and obedient? —-St. Catherine of Bologna

Obedience is a penance of the soul, and for that reason a sacrifice more acceptable than all corporal penances. Thence it happens that God loves more the least degree of obedience in thee, than all the other services thou mayest think to render Him. —-St. John of the Cross

To pick up a straw from the ground through obedience is more meritorious than to preach, to fast, to use the discipline to blood, and to make long prayers, of one’s own will. —-St. Alphonsus Rodriguez

St. Alphonse Rodriguez

St. Alphonse Rodriguez

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 and the true liberty of sons of God. This is the reason why souls truly good, experience such great joy and sweetness in obedience. —-St. Vincent de Paul

The devil, seeing that there is no shorter road to the summit of perfection than that of obedience, artfully insinuates many repugnances and difficulties under color of good, to prevent us from following it. —-St. Teresa

That obedience may be complete, it must exist in three things: in execution, by doing promptly, cheerfully, and exactly whatever the Superior orders; in will, by willing nothing but what the Superior wills; in judgment, by being of the same opinion as the Superior. —-St. Ignatius Loyola

True obedience manifests itself in executing gladly and without any repugnance, things which are objects of antipathy or contrary to one’s interests. —-St. Alphonsus Rodriguez

A truly obedient man does not discriminate between one thing and another, or desire one employment more than another, since his only aim is to execute faithfully whatever may be assigned to him. —-St. Bernard

If you ever are conscious of impulses, thoughts, and judgments opposed to obedience, though apparently good and holy, do not admit them on any account, but reject them promptly, as you would thoughts against chastity or faith. —-St. John Climacus

St. Philip Neri

St. Philip Neri

It is not enough for obedience to do what is commanded. It must be done without debate, and must be looked upon as the best and most perfect thing possible, though it may seem and may even be the contrary. —-St. Philip Neri


Finally, let us follow the rule of our Divine Lord, who submitted his will to that of his father.  In perfect obedience, even unto death, our Lord, Jesus Christ, accepted the will of the father.  This is the perfect paradigm of obedience.

Christ is the most excellent paradigm of obedience even unto death

Christ is the most excellent paradigm of obedience even unto death

If you are interested in the Christian Counseling Program, please review the program.

Mark Moran, MA


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