20130310 Obedience consecrates heart 聽命聖化心靈

St. Francis de Sales devoted a chapter in his Introduction to the Devout Life to the virtue of obedience. He wrote, “Charity alone leads to perfection, but the three chief means for acquiring it are obedience, chastity, and poverty.
“Obedience consecrates our heart, chastity our body, and poverty our worldly goods to the love and service of God. These are the three branches of the spiritual cross, and all three must be raised upon the fourth, which is humility.”
The saint pointed out that there are two kinds of obedience, one necessary, the other voluntary. Obedience to lawful superiors is necessary obedience, whereas obedience to a confessor or spiritual director is voluntary obedience, for we do not choose our own sovereign or bishop, father or mother, but we do choose our confessor and spiritual director.

Submissive spirit
St. Francis de Sales recommends that we have a submissive spirit not only to superiors, but to equals and inferiors as well.
He wrote, “If you would acquire a ready obedience to superiors, accustom yourself to yield to your equals, giving way to their opinions where nothing wrong is involved, without arguing or peevishness; and adapt yourself easily to the wishes of your inferiors as far as you reasonably can, and avoid the exercise of stern authority so long as they do well.”
Bishop Jean Pierre Camus, a friend of St. Francis de Sales, wrote, “Because we are obliged to acknowledge our superiors as our masters, submission to them is better looked upon as justice rather than humility.
“Submission to equals is friendship and courtesy. Submission to inferiors, however, is the real test of humility, because it is in this act that we actually confess ourselves to be nothing, and prostrate ourselves before the whole world.”

Virtue of great value
St. Maximilian Kolbe wrote, “God, Who is all-knowing and all-wise, knows best what we should do to increase His glory. Through His representatives on earth He continually reveals His will to us; thus it is obedience and obedience alone that is the sure sign to us of the divine will.
“A superior may, it is true, make a mistake; but it is impossible for us to be mistaken in obeying a superior’s command. The only exception to this rule is the case of a superior’s commanding something that in even the slightest way would contravene God’s law.”
Another spiritual author wrote, “We need not hesitate through fear that the superior is asking something less perfect. Even if he commands what is objectively less perfect than its alternative (for instance, to take some rest instead of working), it would nevertheless be the more perfect thing for us.
“By the simple fact that the superior has expressed an order, it is clearly the fulfilment of that, and not something else, that God wants from us at the moment.”
St. John of the Cross said, “Obedience is a penance of the soul, and for that reason a sacrifice more acceptable than all corporal penances. Thence it happens that God loves more the least degree of obedience in you, than all the other services you may think to render him.”
Our Lord told St. Faustina, “My daughter, know that you give Me greater glory by a single act of obedience than by long prayers and mortifications.”
On another occasion Our Lord said, “Anything, no matter how small it be, that has the seal of obedience to my representative, is pleasing to Me and great in My eyes.”
Bishop Louis LaRavoire Morrow, author of My Catholic Faith, wrote, “If we fast, give alms, or lose our reputation for God’s sake, we only give a part of ourselves. But if we give perfect obedience, we sacrifice our will; we give all we have. We have nothing more to give.”

在《熱心引》一書內,聖方濟.沙雷用了一整章,推崇「聽命」之德。他寫道:「愛德領我們成義;但得到愛德的三大方法是:聽命、貞潔和神貧。聽命聖化我們的心靈,貞潔聖化我們的肉身,而神貧聖化我們的物質。這三個是靈性十字架的枝幹,豎立在謙遜之德上。」

 

聖人指出,聽命有兩種:一種是必然聽命,另一種是自願的聽命。服從合法的長上是屬於必然的聽命;服從神師或聽告解神父,則屬於自願的聽命,因為我們不能選擇管治者或主教、父親或母親,但我們可以自由選擇聽告解神父或神師。

 

服從精神

 

聖方濟.沙雷建議我們,不僅對長上服從,對同級、甚至下級的,都遜守服從的美德:「假如你經常性地服從你的長上,那麼,嘗試伸延到這樣對待你的同級,接受他們正確的意見,避免爭辯或氣怒;對於你的下屬,常用廣闊的胸襟,迎合他們合理的要求,別常擺起架子以示自己的權威。」

 

若望嘉模主教是聖方濟.沙雷的朋友。他曾補充寫道:「正因我們視長上為主人,對他們順從是出於公義多於謙遜;順從同級的人,皆因友誼及善意;順從下屬則是實踐謙遜的真考驗,我們藉此承認自己的虛無,並俯伏在全世界前。」

 

珍貴之德

 

聖高比寫道:「全知及無比智慧的天主,祂確知道我們可以如何光榮祂。天主不斷通過祂在世的代表,給我們顯示祂的聖意;所以,我們的聽命是確保承行天主意旨的方法。不錯,我們的長上會犯錯,但聽命的人是不會犯錯的。唯一例外的,就是長上的指令有違天主的誡命。」

 

一位靈修作者指出:「長上一個簡單的指令,即使不是最完美事,我們亦不需質疑,因為我們聽命於長上,等於聽命於天主。我們的聽命就是做天主在那一刻願意我們做的事。」

 

聖十字架若望說過:「聽命是靈魂的補贖,比肉身克苦的補贖更被天主悅納。所以,天主鍾悅小小的聽命,甚於其它的事工。」

 

吾主對聖傅天娜說:「我的女兒,你一次的聽命,比較長時間的祈禱及克己,更能光榮我。」另外,祂又說:「服從代表我的人,那怕只是小小的事情,足使我喜悅,也在我的眼中是為大的。」

 

《我的天主教信仰》一書的作者、類斯.莫朗主教說:「如果我們守嚴齋、行哀矜,或因天主而受辱,我們只是奉獻了部份;但如果我們奉行完全的聽命,我們就是犧牲我們的意志;我們便奉獻了一切。」

 

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