Obedience, the Rosary and the Passion of the Church

Rediscovering Obedience

“He was wounded for our iniquities … bruised for our sins: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His bruises we are healed.”

Among the many things to love about the rosary, is the way the various mysteries interconnect and thereby reinforce and enrich each other. In general, the Joyful Mysteries emphasize the virtue of obedience. This obedience is reinforced by the Sorrowful Mysteries. Mary’s “Be it done unto me according to thy word”, in the Annunciation is echoed by Christ’s, “Yet not My will, but Thine be done.” in the Agony in the Garden. And then the Glorious Mysteries reveal the joyful glory of our heavenly reward, which follows this obedience and is eternal!

St. Augustine tells us, “And thus also it was that the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. For what the virgin Eve had bound fast through unbelief, this did the virgin Mary set free through faith” (Apology, Book II, Chapter XII).

Regarding obedience, St. John Bosco was given a horrible vision of Hell in which his guide told him that the most serious sin causing people to be damned in Hell is the sin of disobedience. He explained that while pride is the root of sin, its practical application is disobedience, in other words, prideful disobedience causes the most people to fall from grace and be doomed to Hell. And so  between St. Augustine and St. John Bosco, we see that a key to disobedience is the refusal of faith. Had Eve accepted the virtue of faith offered to her, she would not have disobeyed. There is a lesson here for disobedient prelates, but I digress…

St. John tells us in his First Epistle, Chapter Two, “For all that is in the world, is the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life, which is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the concupiscence thereof: but he that doth the will of God, abideth for ever.” Now, it has always been the teaching of the Church, from the earliest times that the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience counteract these sins.

Although these counsels are vowed by those in the consecrated life, we of the lay faithful are urged to practice them according to our state. The lust of the flesh can thereby be counteracted by modesty and faithfulness to one’s spouse, the lust of the eyes, that is greed and consumerism can be counteracted by moderation, humility and self-denial such as fasting and abstaining. But it is with our obedience, which defeats pride, that we progress the best, no matter our state in life. The very best teacher of obedience is Mary, Our Mother.

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