Thursday, 26 April 2012
Open note to all on the recent LCWR reactions and the virtue of obedience
Posted by Supertradmum
Considering the problems in the States and in some parts of Europe concerning disobedient nuns and sisters (and priests and a few bishops and cardinals regarding civil unions), I thought a little journey into the virtue of obedience, in my perfection series, would be timely. I am grateful for the book Spiritual Theology, by Fr. Jordan Aumann OP,, who quotes a letter from St. Ignatius of Loyola, on obedience. The letter was written on March 16, 1553 in Rome to the brothers and priests in the Jesuits in Portugal. Here are the main points of the letter: obedience is the compendium of all the virtues, notes Fr. Aumann. "He states as the fundamental principle of obedience that one should see Chirst in the superior, without thinking of the superior as an individual person." As I read these, I am thinking of the list of disobedient activities and statements Fr. Z. listed on his blog this week.
Two: obedience may be listed in grades, with the lowest of execution, and the second of the will; " which possesses the intrinsic value of the sacrifice of obedience, so that it is of great merit and it perfects man's free will." Sacrifice of the will is the key idea here. Willfulness is a huge sign of disobedience. One must recall that the recalcitrant nuns and sisters willing took vows. And, willingly, they should follow those vows.
Three: obedience of the intellect is the next level up. Aumann notes "it is possible because the will can control the intellect; it is just because it is reasonable to control one's judgment and to conform one's will to God's; it is necessary for the attainment of perfect subordination, for safeguarding oneself against the illusions of self-love, for preserving one's tranquility in obedience, and for preserving union with God; and it is perfect obedience, because in this grade of obedience a man immolates that which is most excellent, which implies a marvelous victory over self."
This type of obedience is totally missing in some of the main leaders of religious orders in the States, and elsewhere, who have willingly departed from the teaching of the Catholic Church in matters of Faith and Morals, thus not only disobeying the Church, but their ultimate authorities in their orders. If the heads of the orders are in disobedience with regards to the intellect, they have led many others astray.
Four: meekness and humility allow for the growth and maintenance of obedience. Blind obedience includes a docility to superiors, implying an indifference to suggestions and a humility in trusting one's superiors.
Five: Aumann notes that St. Ignatius "says that the prosperity of religious institutes depends on obedience because of the principle of subordination" that applies to religious institutions.
Lastly, Aumann writes that obedience must be supernatural, in motives, underpinned by faith, conformity with the Will of God, love for God, promptness, spontaneity, simplicity, magnanimity, perseverance and to me, the most important, universality, that is obeying in all things great or small.
The supernatural element is key, as the sister or nun must see God in the superior, always believing because of her vows, that God is indeed working in and with that superior. One does not see the person, but God.