Franciscan Focus

Just a simple blog of a Secular Franciscan trying to live with a Franciscan focus.
(And one of these days I'll fix the template and add a Search feature. :-P)

11 June 2006

The benefits of obedience 

We all know that obedience is a Very Important Thing, but have we actually pondered the positive effects we gain from observing it? While reading through To Live as Francis Lived: A Guide for Secular Franciscans a few weeks ago, I came across the following bits that brilliantly explained its benefits and why it's so essential for our spiritual health. (While this is obviously written for Secular Franciscans, the concepts apply to everyone.)

"Saint Francis founded an order of brothers. But he founded it on the rock of obedience for two important reasons: 1) that by absolute and unquestioning loyalty to the Church, the order might avoid the shipwreck of heresy into which other movements fell; 2) that his brothers and sisters might have, with poverty and chastity, the third great means of purifying and liberating self-denial -- the giving up of one's own will under a Rule." (p. 84)

* * *

"It was said of Saint Francis and his friend, Saint Dominic, that they were always on the road to Rome or from Rome for the Pope's approval on their work. The brothers and sisters of Saint Francis must never forget that they are Catholic before they are Franciscans. Rather, the better Franciscans they are, the better Catholics they will be." (p. 84)

* * *

"Obedience is not merely a necessity of organization. It possesses two grace-full purposes. First, obedience provides a means of self-denial and self-giving. Poverty strives for freedom from greed. Chastity seeks perfect reasonableness in the sacred area of sex. Obedience seeks freedom from all stubbornness, selfishness, self-centeredness. Obedience calls one to exercise self-discipline, to cooperate and obey according to the Rule and Constitutions. This effort will have one great result: release from self-seeking and pride." (p. 85)

On the flip side, read about the fruits of disobedience in On the Habits and Spirit of Dissent, by Fr. Philip N. Powell, OP.

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