Ave Maria Meditations
One of the greatest obstacles to full conformity of our will to God’s is our attachment to our own desires and inclinations. Obedience, because it asks us to be governed by the will of another, is the best way of accustoming ourselves to renounce our own will, of detaching us from it, and of making us cling to the divine will as revealed in the orders of our superiors.
The stricter the form of obedience to which we submit — that is, the more it tends to govern not only some particular detail but our whole life — the more intense will its practice be, and the more surely will it make us conform to the will of God. This is the great value of obedience: to unite man’s life with the will of God: to give man in every circumstance, the opportunity to govern himself, not according to his weak, fragile will, which is so subject to error, blindness and human limitations, but according to the will of God. This divine will has such goodness, perfection and holiness that it can never be mistaken nor will what is evil; it aims only at the good — not the transitory good, which today is and tomorrow is not — but the eternal, imperishable good.
Obedience makes us this happy exchange: renunciation of our own will for God’s will. For this reason the saints loved obedience. It is said of St Teresa Margaret of the Heart of Jesus that, not only did she obey orders promptly, but she experienced intense pleasure in doing so — her whole aspect expressing the joy she found in obeying.
If it is costly to nature to give up one’s own will, to renounce a plan, a project, or a much cherished work, the interior soul will not stop at this act of renunciation, but will realize that by suffering and struggling to overcome itself, it will be carried much further. The soul is fixed in the will of God which comes hidden in the voice of obedience and it tends toward this will with all its strength, for to embrace the will of God is to embrace God Himself.
+Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen