Quote of the day: on obedience

“Your obedience is not worthy of the name unless you are ready to abandon your most flourishing work whenever someone with authority so commands…

Oh, the power of obedience!  The Lake of Genesareth had denied its fishes to Peter’s nets.  A whole night in vain.  Then, obedient, he lowered his net again into the water and they caught ‘a great number of fishes.’  Believe me, this miracle is repeated every day.”

— St. Josemaria Escriva, “The Way.”

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6 responses to “Quote of the day: on obedience”

  1. This is a classic. This may be news to modern folks but that same advice, in different forms, and in different words, has been passed down by the saints since the inception of the Covenant, not to mention the inception of the Church. It is why when one sees someone cartwheeling off the track in disobedience, one can say “uh-oh, there goes another one. I better stay focused on the signal.”


  2. It seems that these days the Church is fishing in the dark. Hopefully the dawn is near and our Lord will help us fish during the day and obtain a plentiful catch.

  3. I forget where I read this…but someone much smarter than me made a sensible and well-researched claim that the biggest challenge facing the vocation of the priesthood is not celibacy, but obedience.

    I think it is hard for all of us…but ironically, it leads to great freedom.

  4. Not to throw cold water on this because I do agree with the statement of St. Escriva, but let’s remember that not all bishops have the best interests of souls at heart. Do we remember Bishop Cauchon and Joan of Arc? Joan refused to testify on several matters; this was disobedience. It’s not always so black and white.

  5. to Brother Jeff,
    Joan knew Cauchon’s duplicity, she knew that the trial was illegal. She had appealed to higher authority. She also knew that she had been lied to or deceived on several occasions, and that her testimony had been altered in the record. She had no obligation to obey him. (I’m not sure that he even had jurisdiction over her.) Jesus refused to answer questions of His tribunal for the same reasons.

  6. So what happens when obedience is turned against the good of Christians, instead of being a means of building them up ? Obedience is a deadly danger, if it isolated from other considerations – the SS (not meaning the Salesians !) were obedient, and their obedience was fatal to those whom they massacred. The “Nuremberg Defence” does not work. Obedience without discrimination between good and evil obedience is all the more evil because it it is liable to be mistaken for the genuine article, the obedience of Christ to His Father (Heb.5). His gracious & loving obnedience has nothing to do with the self-serving obedience that the Church’s rulers require of their inferiors in order to conceal their crimes against those whom they govern, except in name: we owe no obedience to hirelings, for that is disobedience to God. Obedience that requires us to obey the Church rather than God, and to sin in order to please God, is worthless. “We must obey God, rather than men” – we are given no right to obey the Church rather than God.

    BTW, Jesus was anything but obedient to the Law; & He mixed with unclean people such as heathens, prostitutes, Samaritans, demoniacs, lesser beings like that. He was scathing about, and to, the pious. St. Paul totally ignores Gen.17 & the institution of circumcision as a “perpetual sign”. The writer to the Hebrews totally rejects the perpetuity of the Levitical priesthood. Jesus & his followers relativise the OT completely. Their obedience to God frequently entailed gross and flagrant disobedience to the religious establishment & the Bible of the time. The Church cannot claim absolute obedience, because it is every bit as liable as the Jewish Church of Jesus’ day to persecute God’s servants, thinking that it serves God thereby.


    “(I’m not sure that he even had jurisdiction over her.)”

    That, if true, shows just how corrupt the Church can be in its official actions. By any reasonable standard – IOW, one not perverted by the monstrous egotism of the Church – St. Joan is a martyr. A martyr in very unusual circumstances, true, but a martyr even so. The Church is hopeless at dealing with such paradoxes, especially when her own ego is at stake. She’s too Roman to be completely Christian. Catholics have been martyred by Catholics before, so she is not unique.

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