Adapted from “The Month of Mary according to the Spirit of Saint Francis de Sales” by Don Gasper Gilli, from the The Saint Francis de Sales Collection [16 Books] Catholic Way Publishing. Kindle Edition.
MARY, THE MODEL OF PERFECT OBEDIENCE, IN THE MYSTERY OF THE PURIFICATION
Let us consider in this meditation how our adorable Saviour and His Most Holy Mother united perfect obedience to profound humility. Our Lord preferred the death of the Cross rather than fail in obedience. ‘Jesus Christ’ says the great Apostle, ‘was obedient unto death, even to the death of the Cross’.
Notice Our Lady’s life, and you will always see her obedient. So highly did she esteem this virtue of obedience, that she obeyed the command to espouse St. Joseph, although she was bound by a vow of virginity. She always persevered in the practice of this virtue, and as the mystery of the Purification shows us, she presented herself in the Temple, that she might observe the Law she was not bound to observe. Thus her obedience was the more precious as it was voluntary. Indeed, this is the only virtue that she has recommended to the practice of mankind.
The Gospel tells us that when she spoke to the attendants at the marriage of Cana, she said to them: ‘ Whatsoever He shall say to you, do’. Here she teaches the practice of holy obedience, which is inseparable from the virtue of humility, because obedience springs from the virtue of humility. Only those who are truly humble subject themselves to the Will of God, Our Lady had no fear of being disobedient, because she was not obliged to obey the Law, but she shunned its very shadow. Many would have misunderstood her conduct, if she had not gone to the Temple to offer her Divine Son and perform the ceremony of her Purification. She would, therefore, remove all suspicion of disobedience, and at the same time teach us not merely to avoid sin, but also its very appearance, and the occasions which may expose us to it.
Let us learn, also, not to be satisfied with the testimony of our conscience alone, but to try to remove from others every occasion of thinking ill of us and of our actions. The example of Our Saviour and of His Most Holy Mother should animate us to submit not only in those things that are commanded us, but in those that are merely of counsel, that we may thus become more dear to the Divine Goodness. O God! is it then so great a work to subject ourselves to obedience, when for this alone we have been sent into the world, and when the Supreme King, to Whom all things should be subject, practiced it?
NOTE: This willingness to submit “not only in those things which are commanded of us but in those which are merely of counsel”, is precisely what was lacking in the hierarchy’s response to Our Lady’s Message at Fatima. As soon as Lucia advised the Bishop of Our Lady’s desire for First Saturdays of Reparation, the Bishop and his own superiors in the Church hierarchy should have instituted this devotion. If they had obeyed, floodgates of saving grace would have been opened and the Church would have seen clearly how to Consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This was a most serious error right at the very beginning.
We must learn then from the example of our adorable Saviour and of His Most Holy Mother, to be docile, pliable, and easily ruled, not only for a certain time, and in some actions, but even unto death. But two fundamental conditions of this virtue of Obedience must be observed. These are—firstly, that to obey perfectly we must love God Who commands; and secondly, we must love the action that is commanded. All the faults committed against obedience proceed from the want of one of these conditions. Many love the thing commanded, but not God Who commands it. For instance, some will perform their devotions, not out of obedience to the Will of God, but on account of the consolation they experience in this exercise. In this there is nothing but self-love; and it will be perceptible by the repugnance, or discontent, which is felt in the performance of those observances that are not according to our inclinations. In this case, it is plain that it is not God Whom we love, but only the thing that He commands. If we loved God Who commands, our hearts would be indifferent as to our occupation, because in all we should be equally sure to find the Will of God.
NOTE: We see here the need for us to be animated by love of God before all else. How shall this be accomplished? Why through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who teaches her children daily through her Rosary, the practice of all the necessary virtues. As her children, we learn the safest, surest way to grow in humility, obedience and every virtue pleasing to God.
Others will love God Who commands, but not the action commanded. These will say: I know very well that it is the Will of God that I should do this or that, but I feel so great a repugnance, that I cannot resolve to do it, and were I to strive to obey, the person who, in the name of God, desires me to perform the action, enjoins it so ungraciously, as to rob me of all the satisfaction I might experience in an act of obedience. The source of all our difficulties is that we obey readily only when our superiors accommodate themselves to our natural inclinations. On all other occasions, the smallest obligations appear to us difficult and disagreeable. It is therefore evident that we do not regard God Who commands us through another, but we look at the person who speaks to us in His Name, to see how he is clothed so to speak; that is to say, we look only at his external deportment. O God, what a mistake!
We ought to submit to the Will of God in obedience, without any exception, and from whatever quarter the order may come ; and not only love God Who commands, but also the thing that is commanded ; taking the command and placing it upon our heads—that is, in our inmost heart, to execute it with all fidelity and sincere goodwill.
NOTE: The essential point here is the answer to those who question, “In the midst of this confusion and the failure of the Church hierarchy to speak clearly, how am I to know who or what to obey? The answer is we cannot know unless we are as closely united with Mary as possible. The entire point of the Message of Fatima is the very same point that St. Maximilian Kolbe made in his life’s work, the Militia of Mary Immaculate, “Let yourself be led by the Immaculate”. In this time of unmitigated crisis, Jesus our Lord beckons us towards His Mother, offering us His own Mother, to whom He trusted His life. Do not spurn this saving grace, for it is the last we shall be offered.
Bless God for having given you Mary as your Mother. Imitate her, and consider what a blessing it is for you to have so powerful an advocate in Heaven. . . . Humility cannot subsist without love, nor love without humility—and one can never be acquired without the other. (St. Teresa of Avila). The more we mortify our natural inclinations, so much the more do we merit to receive supernatural inspirations.—St. Francis de Sales.
Readers, Paradise was lost by disobedience; our first Mother was so greedy for knowledge that she was willing to disobey God Himself to obtain it. How foolish! We cannot obtain any knowledge that is worthwhile except from God through the Immaculata. The internet offers us an endless, overwhelming deluge of “knowledge” which leads us along the path of worldly illusion, but Mary herself shows us the true way, as she instructed the stewards at Cana, “Whatsoever He shall say to you, do ye.” (John 2)
May is the month of Mary, let us strive to grow each day in our obedience to her because it is by this obedience that we model ourselves on the most perfect exercise of the virtues of humility and obedience, of faith, of hope and most of all, on the sublime love of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Please, Pray the Rosary – it is the shortest and surest path to Heaven!
† . Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
† . Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!
† . Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
† . St. Joseph, protect us, protect our families, protect our priests.
† . St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Please pray for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary!
~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!