Monday, June 18, 2012

From Dissent to Obedience

       This was me discussing rules with my parents when I was younger:

       This was my husband discussing rules with his dad when he was younger:
      This is us right around the time when we got married, watching the Pope’s funeral on EWTN.  (You have to understand I was studying for the bar with concepts of constitutional rights imbedded deeply in me and this is not a commentary on parenting styles.)
(Artist interpretation of a commercial break on TV.)
        You know how in legal cases, there is a majority opinion and there are dissenting opinions?  Let’s just say: I followed majority, but I loudly dissented on some issues.  (Incidentally, in law school, I never read the dissent because it would just keep me awake an extra hour or two, so I tossed them out.)
      As newlyweds, my husband and I argued on political issues, which challenged me to search for truth in Theology to prove him wrong.  In my search, I came across Pope Encyclicals and writings of the saints, some of whom said: 

      “Obedience is the only virtue that implants the other virtues in the heart and preserves them after they have been so implanted.” - St. Gregory I The Great
        To obey (from the Latin ob-audire, to "hear or listen to") in faith is to submit freely to the word that has been heard, because its truth is guaranteed by God, who is Truth itself. Abraham is the model of such obedience offered us by Sacred Scripture. The Virgin Mary is its most perfect embodiment.” Catechism of the Catholic Church 144
       “Obedience. I have come to do My Father’s will. I obeyed my Parents, I obeyed My tormentors and now I obey the Priests' ...I understood that our efforts, no matter how great, are not pleasing to God if they do not bear the seal of obedience.... I understand, O Jesus, the spirit of obedience and in what it consists. It includes not only external actions, but also one’s reason, will and judgment. In obeying our superiors, we obey God.." -Diary of Saint Faustina Kowalska

        Then I realized who was wrong and it wasn’t my husband, the Church, the saints, or the popes. 
       Of all things I am grateful for, it’s that God blessed me with a father who was firm and faithful to his faith and a husband who obeys and loves the Catholic Church. Both men --who sit in practically the same pew every Sunday, loathe being late for a single Mass, and have a devotion to Our Mother of Perpetual Help—tamed and challenged my self-formed opinions on the Church teachings.  But it was my heavenly Father’s grace that enabled me to see the Wisdom of the Holy Spirit through Church Magisterium. Looking back, I chuckle when I realize just how useless my dissenting views to the Catholic Church were, because you just can’t improve on the Holy Spirit.   
        Happy Father’s Day to the man who taught me obedience and the man who made me love obedience, both of whom God wisely entrusted with their children’s discipline!


Victor S E Moubarak said...

Obedience, if it is to be righteous, must be selective.

We must be able to choose who to obey and whether what they ask of us is right in the sight of God.

God bless.

Leila @ Little Catholic Bubble said...

Whoa, this is clever, funny and beautiful! And, thank you for your comment on my blog! I'd love for you to be a regular commenter. Pretty please??

mary333 said...

I hate to admit this but I've bribed my child before. Yes, it was the "If you behave in church I'll get you a doughnut after." This was when my daughter was young.

I swore I would never do this. I was slightly consoled after seeing a number of other parents from my parish with their little ones in the Dunkin Donut line too.