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Reflections: Priests & Voctns. Sctn. (Obedience)

St. John Vianney, the Curé D'Ars (patron saint of priests)

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Reflections: 

Priests & Vocations Sctn.:

Obedience

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Obedience

 

Category
Quotation

Obedience

Note: Obedience is necessarily limited to appropriate commands of lawful authorities. Obedience is not accorded to commands which violate faith or morals.

"[H]e humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross." (Phil. 2:8)

"Remind them to be under the control of magistrates and authorities, to be obedient, to be open to every good enterprise." (Ti. 3:1)

"Obey your leaders and defer to them, for they keep watch over you and will have to give an account, that they may fulfill their task with joy and not with sorrow, for that would be of no advantage to you." (Heb. 13:17)

"Do you not know that if you present yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?" (Rom. 6:16)

"When they had brought them in and made them stand before the Sanhedrin, the high priest questioned them, 'We gave you strict orders (did we not?) to stop teaching in that name. Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and want to bring this man's blood upon us.' But Peter and the apostles said in reply, 'We must obey God rather than men. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus, though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins. We are witnesses of these things, as is the Holy Spirit that God has given to those who obey him.'" (Acts 5:27-32)

"Let every person be subordinate to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been established by God. Therefore, whoever resists authority opposes what God has appointed, and those who oppose it will bring judgment upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear to good conduct, but to evil. Do you wish to have no fear of authority? Then do what is good and you will receive approval from it, for it is a servant of God for your good. But if you do evil, be afraid, for it does not bear the sword without purpose; it is the servant of God to inflict wrath on the evildoer. Therefore, it is necessary to be subject not only because of the wrath but also because of conscience. This is why you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Pay to all their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, toll to whom toll is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due." (Rom. 13:1-7)

"...interior obedience...is the true obedience of an orthodox man" (Pope Clement XI, "Vineam Domini Sabaoth", 1705 A.D.)

"Can. 273 Clerics are bound by a special obligation to show reverence and obedience to the Supreme Pontiff and their own ordinary." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"[O]bedience... is, in a sort, the mother and guardian of all the virtues in the reasonable creature" (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"It is right to submit to a higher authority whenever a command of God would not be violated." (St. Basil the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"Obey promptly! Do not consider the age or merit of a person. And in order to succeed imagine you are obeying the Lord." [St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio)]

"[O]bedience in this case [of things contrary to God] would be unlawful." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[E]vil should never be done out of obedience: yet sometimes for the sake of obedience we should lay aside the good we are doing." (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"[O]bedience to a superior is due in accordance with the divinely established order of things" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[T]he order of justice requires that subjects obey their superiors, else the stability of human affairs would cease." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[S]ubjection whereby one man is bound to other regards the body; not the soul, which retains its liberty." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"But, by its very nature as an active and courageous company, the Catholic priesthood must have the spirit of discipline, or, to use a more deeply Christian word, obedience. It is obedience which binds together all ranks into the harmony of the Church's Hierarchy." (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Catholici Sacerdotii", 1935 A.D.)

"It is written (Acts 5:29): 'We ought to obey God rather than men.' Now sometimes the things commanded by a superior are against God. Therefore superiors are not to be obeyed in all things." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Can. 601 The evangelical counsel of obedience, undertaken in the spirit of faith and love in the following of Christ, who was obedient even unto death, obliges submission of one's will to lawful Superiors, who act in the place of God when they give commands that are in accordance with each institute's own constitutions." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"[A]lthough a man should take every care to obey each superior, yet it is a greater duty to obey a higher than a lower authority, in sign of which the command of a lower authority is set aside if it be contrary to the command of a higher authority. Consequently the higher the person who commands, the more grievous is it to disobey him: so that it is more grievous to disobey God than man." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Priests, never losing sight of the fullness of the priesthood which the bishops enjoy, must respect in them the authority of Christ, the Supreme Shepherd. They must therefore stand by their bishops in sincere charity and obedience. This priestly obedience, imbued with a spirit of cooperation is based on the very sharing in the episcopal ministry which is conferred on priests both through the Sacrament of Orders and the canonical mission." (Second Vatican Council)

"Can. 618 Superiors are to exercise their power, received from God through the ministry of the Church, in a spirit of service. Therefore, docile to the will of God in fulfilling their function, they are to govern their subjects as sons or daughters of God and, promoting the voluntary obedience of their subjects with reverence for the human person, they are to listen to them willingly and foster their cooperation for the good of the institute and the Church, but without prejudice to the authority of superiors to decide and prescribe what is to be done." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"As the Philosopher says (Ethica Nicomachea ii, 1,2), by performing actions we contract certain habits, and when we have acquired the habit we are best able to perform the actions. Accordingly those who have not attained to perfection, acquire perfection by obeying, while those who have already acquired perfection are most ready to obey, not as though they need to be directed to the acquisition of perfection, but as maintaining themselves by this means in that which belongs to perfection." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and 'greatest theologian in the history of the Church')

"The vow of obedience taken by religious, extends to the disposition of a man's whole life, and in this way it has a certain universality, although it does not extend to all individual acts. For some of these do not belong to religion, through not being of those things that concern the love of God and of our neighbor, such as rubbing one's beard, lifting a stick from the ground and so forth, which do not come under a vow nor under obedience; and some are contrary to religion." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and 'greatest theologian in the history of the Church')

"In professing obedience, religious offer the full surrender of their own will as a sacrifice of themselves to God and so are united permanently and securely to God's salvific will. After the example of Jesus Christ who came to do the will of the Father (cf. John 4:34; 5:30; Heb. 10 7; Ps. 39:9) and 'assuming the nature of a slave' (Phil. 2:7) learned obedience in the school of suffering (cf. Heb. 5:8), religious under the motion of the Holy Spirit, subject themselves in faith to their superiors who hold the place of God. Under their guidance they are led to serve all their brothers in Christ, just as Christ himself in obedience to the Father served His brethren and laid down His life as a ransom for many (cf. Matt. 20:28; John 10:14-18)." (Second Vatican Council)

"Religious profess obedience as to the regular mode of life, in respect of which they are subject to their superiors: wherefore they are bound to obey in those matters only which may belong to the regular mode of life, and this obedience suffices for salvation. If they be willing to obey even in other matters, this will belong to the superabundance of perfection; provided, however, such things be not contrary to God or to the rule they profess, for obedience in this case would be unlawful... Accordingly we may distinguish a threefold obedience; one, sufficient for salvation, and consisting in obeying when one is bound to obey: secondly, perfect obedience, which obeys in all things lawful: thirdly, indiscreet obedience, which obeys even in matters unlawful." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and 'greatest theologian in the history of the Church')

"The necessity of coercion makes an act involuntary and consequently deprives it of the character of praise or merit; whereas the necessity which is consequent upon obedience is a necessity not of coercion but of a free will, inasmuch as a man is willing to obey, although perhaps he would not be willing to do the thing commanded considered in itself. Wherefore since by the vow of obedience a man lays himself under the necessity of doing for God's sake certain things that are not pleasing in themselves, for this very reason that which he does is the more acceptable to God, though it be of less account, because man can give nothing greater to God, than by subjecting his will to another man's for God's sake. Hence in the Conferences of the Fathers (Collationes xviii,7) it is stated that 'the Sarabaitae are the worst class of monks, because through providing for their own needs without being subject to superiors, they are free to do as they will; and yet day and night they are more busily occupied in work than those who live in monasteries.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and 'greatest theologian in the history of the Church')

"The vow of obedience is the chief of the three religious vows, and this for three reasons. First, because by the vow of obedience man offers God something greater, namely his own will; for this is of more account than his own body, which he offers God by continence, and than external things, which he offers God by the vow of poverty. Wherefore that which is done out of obedience is more acceptable to God than that which is done of one's own will, according to the saying of Jerome (Ep. 125 ad Rust. Monach.): 'My words are intended to teach you not to rely on your own judgment': and a little further on he says: 'You may not do what you will; you must eat what you are bidden to eat, you may possess as much as you receive, clothe yourself with what is given to you.' Hence fasting is not acceptable to God if it is done of one's own will, according to Isaiah 58:3, 'Behold in the day of your fast your own will is found.' Secondly, because the vow of obedience includes the other vows, but not vice versa: for a religious, though bound by vow to observe continence and poverty, yet these also come under obedience, as well as many other things besides the keeping of continence and poverty. Thirdly, because the vow of obedience extends properly to those acts that are closely connected with the end of religion; and the more closely a thing is connected with the end, the better it is. It follows from this that the vow of obedience is more essential to the religious life." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and 'greatest theologian in the history of the Church')

"We are taught most clearly that the obedience which men are obliged to render to the authorities established by God is an absolute precept which no one can violate, except if by chance something is commanded which runs counter to the laws of God or of the Church. 'Let everyone' says the Apostle, 'be subject to higher authorities, for there exists no authority except from God, and those who exist have been appointed by God. Therefore he who resists the authority resists the ordination of God...wherefore you must needs be subject not only because of the wrath, but also for conscience sake' (Rom 13.1,2,5). Similarly St. Peter (1 Pt 2.13) teaches all the faithful: 'Be subject to every human creature for God's sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to the governors sent through him ...' for (he says) such is the will of God, that by doing good you would silence the ignorance of foolish men.' By observing these admonitions the first Christians, even during the persecutions, deserved well of the Roman emperors themselves and of the security of the state. 'Christian soldiers,' says St. Augustine, 'served an infidel emperor: when it came to the subject of Christ, they recognized no one except Him who is in heaven. They distinguished between the eternal Lord and the temporal lord, but also were subject to the temporal lord because of the eternal Lord' (St. Aug. On Ps 124). The holy Fathers have always taught this doctrine. The Catholic Church has taught it and continues to teach it." (Pope Gregory XVI, "Cum Primum", 1832)

Also See: Obedience / Disobedience (Catholic Life Reflections) | Obedience / Disobedience / Assent (Vatican View Reflections)Vows | Religious / Religious Life / Religious Institutes | Obedience (Topical Scripture) 

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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