1. A Life of Obedience — Obedience is a consequence of order. — When everyone is being bossy, or when no one obeys, order is impossible… We therefore see that a life of obedience is something necessary if there is to be true order. — Nazareth is a model of order and of obedience.
The Gospels tell us of the importance of such a life… It barely says anything about the life in Nazareth… It was the longest period of Jesus’ life and, yet, it can be summarized in two words… but these two words tell us that the life in Nazareth was, above all else, a life of obedience. — Jesus obeyed His parents… Mary and Joseph… and Joseph obeyed the will of God. — Luckily, none of them sought to do their own will. They obeyed and thereby fulfilled the will of God for them.
But sometimes the will of God is difficult to understand… For some it is their own self-love that blinds them, preventing them from seeing His will… For others, it is the devil himself, with his diabolic temptations and strategies, who makes God’s will seem obscure. That is how he places a wedge between us and God’s will, the source and cause of all holiness. So what, then, do we do? Where can we find the solution? How can we be sure that we are doing God’s will? Only through obedience. — By obeying, it is not man’s will that we are fulfilling, but God’s, even though it is through man that He commands us.
2. Our Model — We can find a great practical lesson in Nazareth… Jesus and Mary do not see obedience as something accidental or passing, but instead as something essential and permanent… and that is why the entire life of Jesus becomes an example of obedience…
First and foremost, obey; this was His plan and way of life. — And, nevertheless, who was He? And whom did He obey? He obeyed His parents who, even though they were very holy, were infinitely less holy than Him… He always knew what He had to do better than they did, and yet, He did not want to know more than that which obedience asked of Him. — And what would the Blessed Virgin Mary do with the desires and dispositions of Her spouse with such an example before Her?
Spend an entire day in that small house and you will see, from morning till night, an inalterable peace… a celestial serenity… and all of that is due to obedience. — What a spectacle for Heaven’s angels! They must have been ecstatic and awe-struck to see this submission of the most superior to the inferior! And, nevertheless, what complete, total and absolute dependence He had on their will, which represented God even if it were inferior!
3. The Characteristics of This Obedience — How did they obey? With exterior promptness and interior joy. — Do not forget these two aspects of obedience… It is not enough to just obey exteriorly… The interior attitude of submission is essential… the surrendering of one’s own judgments and the submission of one’s will.
Furthermore, they obeyed in everything: in pleasing situations and unpleasing ones… in great and important things and in small ones… and even up to the tiniest of details. — In obedience, everything is important… the slightest lack of detail can take away its virtue. — We have to obey totally, without mixing in our own self-will… Think of it this way: how often do you obey in your own way… when you feel like it… when it’s agreeable to you… or when it is something you like? You want to obey, but at the same time you want to satisfy your likes… You want to fulfill God’s will, but without leaving your own behind… What a pity! What a poor obedience! How displeasing it is to God! — Look at Jesus… contemplate Mary, and learn.
Finally, your obedience should be a supernatural obedience, done with a spirit of faith while looking at God and not at the one who is giving you orders. Look beyond the person you are obeying and see Christ in them… regardless if this person is beautiful or horrible – it shouldn’t matter to you. Do not obey for sympathy… for love and affection… for acknowledgment… or to simply please others… These are all very human ways of thinking… Obey God and God alone… never obey people as they are, but in as much as they represent God.
4. The Fruit of Obedience — The fruit of obedience is: 1. The glory of God… This is because in obeying, the soul obeys God directly. — 2. The sacrifice and mortification that it implies… there is nothing more meritorious than offering to God the sacrifice of your freedom and your will. — 3. The possession of God… that is how you belong to God and how He becomes your Owner and Lord; on the contrary, if you do not obey, you do not belong to God, but to yourself. — 4. Many other virtues go along with obedience: humility… the overcoming of oneself… the life of faith… the joy and peace of a serene conscience… These are all fruits of having trusted in God, which is founded in obeying Him.
5. Your Obedience — Now examine your obedience before Jesus and Mary. Do you see obedience as an accessory, as something fleeting? Do you obey only at certain times… when it’s easy… convenient… when you feel like it… or when you like that which they command you to do? Or, on the contrary, do you do things so that your obedience may be the most essential and permanent in your spiritual life… obeying always… in everything… with great detail… with promptness… with submission of your judgment and will… with a spirit of faith? — Do you obey with joy, desiring that which they tell you to do, even though it might be difficult for you; and in doing so, do you place your freedom and trust in those who have authority over you? How would Our Lady and St. Joseph have dared to tell Jesus to do anything have it not been because they had seen the joy and delight that obedience had given Him?
If you wish to live your life as Our Lady did, as the Lord’s servant, ask Her to help you understand that it consists, above all, in a life of obedience… Look closely: we are not talking of obeying time after time, but of a life of obedience… a life-long obedience.