This evening we picked up with Step 4 on Obedience. Saint John puts it before us in an unvarnished fashion. It is hard work. It offers us great freedom; freedom from all of our concerns about the things of the world, daily circumstances, or what others do or say to us. Yet, it is a rough way because it means letting go of our own will, self-judgment and opinion. We freely give these things over to another who becomes our “helmsman”. The helmsman becomes our “nous” - the eye of the heart - while we lack that purity of heart.
One does not choose to live in obedience indiscriminately, Saint John tells us. Rather, we must make sure that we embrace obedience and give our judgment over to one who can truly guide us along the path that leads to the kingdom. Otherwise, Saint John tells us, we should get no profit from our subjection. For this reason we must write the good deeds of our elder on our hearts and constantly remember them. For once we have chosen to live in obedience, either under an elder or within our particular vocation in life and to our particular vows, we are inevitably going to be attacked by the evil one who desires to make us distrust our elder.
Obedience is of the greatest value because in humbling the mind in the body it frees us from all the things that stir the passions within us. Obedience is not meant to be a form of oppression or of infantilizing others. An elder is to embrace his disciple with the greatest love and desire for his well-being. For in the end he will be held responsible for the one God has placed in his care.
Text of chat during the group:
00:11:14 FrDavid Abernethy: page 69 n.4
00:11:19 FrDavid Abernethy: On obedience
00:17:13 Fr. Miron Kerul-Kmec Jr.: I’m young!
00:29:29 Anthony: For what it's worth, here are attorney saints: Augustine, Fidelis Sigmaringen, Thomas More, Aloysius Gonzaga. The only one I think who was led to the spiritual life without trauma was Fidelis of Sigmaringen. There have to be more attorney-saints.
00:30:38 Anthony: Well, St. Thomas More began well but was rarified through trauma
00:40:22 Ambrose Little, OP: sometimes you do. 😄
00:44:54 Anthony: St Seraphim of Sarov: "Headache may be caused by agitated and excessively forced mental activity." Last sentence of Spiritual Instruction #15. Maybe obedience helps us avoid overthinking.
00:49:14 M C: I have found it difficult to find an orthodox spiritual director.
00:53:35 Ambrose Little, OP: Would you think that this guidance applies to, e.g., our bishop and/or the Holy Father? The CCC says we owe religious submission of intellect and will. Makes me wonder about what's going on in the Church these days.
00:58:19 Ambrose Little, OP: Definitely recommend reading the Holy Father's letter on the liturgy published today. Very powerful stuff. (Sorry, gotta run to pick up the younguns. God bless, y'all.)
00:58:59 Art: Desidero Desideravi
01:02:33 Anthony: Book recommendation: "Papacy and Revolution" by EEY Hales. It was the "conservative" (but really liberal because they were so headstrong?) Jansenists who unwittingly had a seminal role in bringing about the French Revolution.
01:04:39 Anthony: i.e. Oliver Cromwell in England
01:13:00 Sam Rodriguez : My first exposure of that teaching “put no trust in yourself” was the Spiritual Combat by Scupoli. Is a core tenet of his, from the earliest pages, if I remember correctly
01:15:46 M C: Thank you!
01:15:53 Cindy Moran: Thank you Father!
01:16:06 Maple(Hannah) Hong: Thank you!
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