Virtue of the Month of September
(A CALL TO LISTEN)
“You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.” – Deuteronomy 13:4
Once upon a time, there was an ant who was fed up with being an ant. She didn’t enjoy it at all: the rules seemed overly strict, she was tired of having to wait in really long queues, and she hated having to do just exactly what everyone else was doing – following orders. She wanted to be like the ladybirds and the beetles, and live a free unworried life. The ant tried hard to make her dream a reality, and then finally, one windy day, she grabbed onto a big leaf that came flying past, and up they both went, higher and higher.
When she was so high up that she could no longer make out the insects on the ground, she couldn’t believe what came into view. Raised up from out of the surrounding foliage was the magnificent anthill, which was visible from afar. There was no sign of any beetle or ladybird nests; nor anything else made by other insects. There was only an anthill. And the ant realized that it had been precisely those rules, the spirit of self-sacrifice, the obedience and effort of all the ants working together which had enabled them to build something so much greater than any other insect could. And finally, she felt very proud to be an ant.
I. WHAT THE SCRIPTURE SAYS ABOUT OBEDIENCE
In the Gospel of John 14, 24 Jesus says, ““If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”
Obedience is an expression of our love for God. More than good works, more than the noblest intentions.
The Letter to the Hebrews states that Obedience is an act of faith. (Heb 11:8). Jesus, at the outset of his passion manifested his exemplar attitude of obedience to the Father’s will, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done.” (Lk 22,42)
II. CATHOLIC TEACHING ON OBEDIENCE
The term ‘obedience’ is derived from the Latin term, ‘oboe dire’ means to listen intently, to open one’s ears, to heed in practice. Obedience is “a moral virtue that inclines the will to comply with the will of another who has the right to command.”  According to St. Thomas (II-II, q. 104), obedience is a special virtue, related to justice, by which we pay our superiors a special honor which is due to them by reason of their excellence of authority, namely, the fulfilling of their precepts or commands.” Therefore, a person who is rooted in obedience submits his will to the one who possesses legitimate authority over him.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church addresses the virtue of obedience as a duty. “The duty of obedience requires all to give due honor to authority and to treat those who are charged to exercise it with respect, and, insofar as it is deserved, with gratitude and good-will.” (1900)
Obedience proceeds from charity and reverence for the authority of the superior to rule for the common good under God as supreme ruler. This is the proper reason why every superior should be diligently obeyed. The common good, which is our true and higher good, cannot be obtained without obedience.
With our practice of obedience, the Lord promises fullness of life, perfection, favor with the Lord, out of obedience. Moreover, by obeying, we receive the power of the Holy Spirit. Pope Francis, in his homily said that “Jesus is not the testimonial of an idea, of a philosophy, of a company, of a bank or of power: he is a testimonial of obedience”, hence, “Christian is a witness of obedience; if we are not on this path and growing in our witness we are not Christians. We must at least walk this way”, he further said.
III. WAYS TO GROW IN OBEDIENCE
- Pray to the Holy Spirit for the grace of Obedience- the Holy Spirit within us gives us the power to go forward in obedience.
- Practice Humility – obedience empties and humbles a person to recognize the authority of God in those anointed authorities.
- Obey Rules diligently and show respect to authorities.
- Grow in your ability to listen attentively to others, avoid being too presumptuous.
- Collaborate actively with and as a team.
- Generously partake in the deliberation of the community’s decision for the common good.
IV. PRAYER FOR THE VIRTUE OF OBEDIENCE
Almighty Father, your word encourages us to be obedient and respectful to authority. Give us hearts that are willing to obey our parents, teachers, law enforcement, Church and Civil leaders, and the like. Help us walk boldly in Your commands, serving You and holding fast to You. Like your Son, Jesus, who obeyed you to the end, please give us ears that are open to your voice, eyes that are attentive to recognize you in all things and hearts that are receptive to your Word of truth and a spirit docile to obey you by the promptings of the Holy Spirit in our lives. This we ask in the mighty Name of Jesus, your Son, who lives and reigns with you, and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.
 Fr. John Anthony Hardon, S.T.D. , Pocket Catholic Dictionary, p. 291.
 April 27,217 at Casa Sta Maria, Vatican, Rome