Today I am going to talk about the very vital virtue of obedience.
Stop to think about this for a moment.
Do you want to please God or do you want to please the devil?
I think that’s a pretty easy question for good Catholic children to answer and this is why I have chosen the virtue of obedience today. This virtue pleases Our Lord very much.
I am a wife and a mother. My first duty is to God. My second and very important duty is to be a good wife and a good mother. It is what God wants for me and I need to pray to become a better wife and mother, I need to read books that help me to become better and I need to avoid the things that may harm my path in being a good wife and mother.
You are children. You are different ages, it is true, and all of you have a first duty, like me, and that duty is to God.
Your second and very important duty is to love and honor your parents. You do this by being obedient. You need to listen to and obey your parents. You need to pray for this and avoid things and people that are obstacles in your path of being an obedient young lady.
Your parents love you very much. They are good parents. They are worthy of your obedience. Even if they were not you would have to obey them in everything but sin. You don’t have to worry about this part because your parents are good parents and will not ask you to sin.
Obedience is a virtue that Jesus loves very much! St. Augustine says it is the mother and root of all the virtues and St. Bonaventure says it is a ship in which one sails to heaven. When you die don’t you want to be on the ship that sails to heaven?
You are a young lady and obedience is very important to learn now. When you become a young woman and choose a vocation, whether it be the religious life or a wife and mother obedience is a very important virtue for both of these vocations.
The more you learn to be obedient now, the easier it will be later in life and the sweeter your life will be.
St. Francis de Sales says that he who is obedient will live sweetly and will be like a child in the arms of his mother, free from worry and from care. That’s a pretty awesome promise!
Even if you see faults in your parents (and you will see them because they are only human) you need to always show respect.
The fourth commandment does not say to honor a good or a perfect mother and father, it says to honor your mother and father. Period.
St. Thomas Moore was the Chancellor to the King. He had the second highest position in the country! He had his aging father living with him and when St. Thomas was called out on business of state, before leaving the house, he would get on his knees, kiss his father’s hand and ask him to bless him.
He was a grown man, he was Chancellor to the King and he still showed such love and respect for his father! How much more, as children, you need to show love and respect to your parents!
Think about Our Lady for a minute. When she was young she was happy, cheerful and she was obedient.
When Little Mary was out getting the water at the well or playing or doing an errand, her mother, St. Anne, would miss her because Mary made their home happy.
If you are gone does your mother miss you? Do you make your home happy? If your mother is glad and relieved when you are gone you have some work to do!
When the child Mary was called by St. Anne she came right away. She dropped whatever she was doing, no matter what it was and went to her mother.
This makes me think of the convent. Let’s imagine this.
The sisters are quiet. They work and they pray. Once a day recreation time comes. They get their sewing out and sit with the other sisters. They chat, they tell stories and they laugh. One of the sisters is telling a very interesting tale about her life when she was small. The sisters are all smiling and enjoying it. Suddenly the bell goes off to call the nuns back to work! The nun who was telling the story stops mid-sentence and does not continue. Oh, she so wanted to tell the rest of the story but she knew what obedience was. She lays down her sewing and goes back to work! What an example of wonderful obedience!!
When the child Mary was called in the morning, she jumped out of bed the very first time! It’s not a very good way to start the day if you lay in bed and make your mother call you more than once. I don’t think disobedience is a good way to start the day, do you?
Mary was not fussy about her food. She ate what was put in front of her.
St. Anne didn’t have to ask Mary to set the table. If Mary thought that it needed to be done, she offered to do it before she was asked.
Most importantly, and this is what makes obedience sweet, she did all these things with a smile….a cheerful heart. Why? To please God.
How many of these things that Mary did are you doing?
Do you come right away when your mother or father calls you? Do you jump out of bed the first time you are called? Do you eat what’s put in front of you without complaining? Do you offer to do things even before you are asked? And most importantly do you do them with a cheerful heart?
Obedience is not just doing your chores when you are told to, though that is very important. It is also the attitude of the heart.
When your mom or dad calls, you should answer respectfully. Be careful of the tone of voice you use. Make sure it is not impatient and rude. You should never show signs of an ill-mannered girl by sighing and rolling your eyes when your mom and dad are talking to you.
There is one quote in the Bible, and remember that the Bible is the Divinely-inspired Word of God, that has a very beautiful promise attached to it. The Bible says, “Honor your father and mother that you may live a long, full life in the land that God gives you.” Who doesn’t want a long, full life??
And just remember your angel is always with you. He’s always helping you to be good and obedient. Do you pray to your angel? Are you listening to him?
You may have friends who are not obedient. They may tell lies and call names. They may make fun of people. You need to be a good example to help them. The very first way you can be a good example is to be obedient!
Is being obedient hard at times? You bet it is! Does it always makes sense? Is it always fair? No, sometimes it seems like it isn’t.
There is a special story about St. Francis of Assisi and the brothers at the friary. Even now, every year the brethren plant a cabbage in the garden and let it flower to remind them of this story. St. Francis told two young brothers to plant some cabbage plants upside down. One did, but the other knew better and planted his right side up. St. Francis asked the second brother to leave the monastery, for, he said, it had been a test of obedience, not of planting cabbages.
Then there is the story of St Therese of the Child Jesus. She was in the convent and her Mother Superior told her to go and water this branch….a branch that looked completely dry and dead! And she told her to water it every day!
Did that make sense to St. Therese? No, it didn’t. But she did it anyway. Every day you could see St. Therese out in the sister’s garden watering this twig. Maybe even some of the sisters were smiling to themselves because it seemed so silly.
One day St Therese went out to water it and was so surprised to see a beautiful bloom on that old, dead branch! Our Lord, to show His blessing and how pleased He was with her obedience, made that lifeless branch bloom for her!
So, no, obedience is not always easy. You must pray for grace each day. Don’t forget your morning and night prayers and don’t forget your rosary. God is good and gives us all things that are good for our souls. So if we pray for the virtue of obedience He will surely give it to us!
And if we are obedient life will be sweet!
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Here is a little prayer on obedience:
Dear Jesus, You are God’s Beloved Son and You obey Him completely, even if it meant giving Your life for all of us. Help me to live like You, trusting and obeying the will of the Father, through my parents each and every day. Help me increase my faith, that I may obey them quickly, fully and lovingly. Teach me to obey them for the right reason, which is simply because I love You.
You can print out this prayer card sheet, cut them out and give one to each of your children and all the children who visit, your neighbor children, the children you sit behind in church, etc. 😀
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