A Paradox: Obedience Leads to Understanding

Bro. Dominic O.F.M.

Understanding is the reward of obedience. We read at the conclusion of the preface of the Mass: Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of Hosts. Heaven and earth are filled with Your glory.

If the earth if filled with His glory, why do so few people see this or experience it?

Christ tells us it is more blessed to give than to receive. To prove this, He gives Himself to us completely in the Sacrament that contains all beauty. Yet, few ever perceive or experience this beauty. Why? It is because so few give themselves to Him in this awesome trade. All, indeed receive Him when they partake of the Sacrament of the Altar; but, how many truly profit from this reception? There must be a reasonable explanation. Where does the fault lie?

Is it because we do not give? But, what is it that we can give? All that we can give Him is an ardent will to serve Him with our every breath, and to ask nothing in return. This is perfect obedience.

In this awesome trade between us and God, how can we ask for more than we have already received? We give ourselves to Him, and He gives Himself to us. Who, it may be asked, receives the better part of this trade?

Alas! We do not give that which is ours to give; we only grasp and hold onto all that is not really ours. If we would but freely give to Him all that is rightly His, we would see and experience and know that heaven and earth are filled with His glory.

Most true Catholics have suffered division in their families. But it appears that most are not willing to separate themselves from those who have embraced heresy and cannot be considered `Catholic' any longer.

Christ tells us that he who finds his life shall lose it, and he who loses his life for His sake shall find it.

If, then, we have a true desire to see these members of our families at last saved, let us not cling so tenaciously to them in this earthly exile. After all, they are not ours. God takes whom He will and when He will. So, we ought to make the free gift of that which is, actually, not even ours to begin with.

We ought to commend our loved ones to God. Beyond this, there is often not much more that we can do.

If we accept to suffer this pain of separation, then, borrowing the words of the King of Ninive: "Who can tell if God will turn away from His fierce anger, and they shall not perish?"

We often hear people say: "We should pray for them." That is all well and good. But, prayer and sacrifice are inseparable in such circumstances.

This is just one example among many that can be repeated. It is very sad that so many people search for happiness in creatures during this earthly exile and in so doing, they lose all in the true life to come.

The physician who attended St. Theresa of Lisieux (The Little Flower) testified that her sufferings were beyond description. One of the Sisters grieved beyond measure at seeing Theresa in such pain that she exclaimed: "Life is so dreary!" St. Theresa replied to her: "Life is not dreary. On the contrary, it is most joyful. Now if you said `Exile is dreary,' I could understand. It is a mistake to call `life' that which must end. Such a word should only be used of the joys of heaven. Joys that are unfading, now in this true meaning, life is not sad but most joyful."

So, if we would rid ourselves of all our selfish desires, and go to Him with empty hands and hearts, He will fill us with His love and we will truly experience that this earth is filled with His glory.

St. Theresa of Avila once had a vision where the Child Jesus appeared to her and asked her "What is your name?" St. Theresa replied: "They call me `Theresa of Jesus'" and Jesus said: "And I am Jesus of Theresa." Let us empty ourselves of all that is not God and we too will hear these words.

Our Lord promised: "If anyone love Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and will make Our abode with him." To keep the word of Jesus, then, is the one condition of our happiness.

Jesus also prayed: "Sanctify them in truth. Thy word is truth." This, then, is the reward of obedience. Let us pray we may hear Him say of us: "You are they who have continued with Me in My temptations."

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