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Saturday, 2 August 2014

Perfection Series Part Three

Over and over again, the Doctors of the Church insist that obedience is the main route to holiness. Bernard in Sermon 46:5 writes this: "Do not imagine that, out of the love of your own leisure, you have the right to omit an act of obedience...if you do so, the Bridegroom will not come to repose with you...He will not hear your prayers, nor heed your cries, rebel that you are; you will obtain nothing from him who loved obedience so much that he died rather than fail to practise it."

Lay people ask me how they can be obedient. Simple. Never speeding, or going through "pink lights'; being painfully honest about income tax returns; never ignoring mistakes made in one's favor at stores; saying daily prayers and keeping the holy days and Sundays holy; women giving up nagging or insisting on their way; men not being couch potatoes but leading the family in holiness--all these are types of obedience.

Fasting and mortification may be part of obedience. Obedience is the base line of all the virtues.

Vice must be controlled and the predominant faults rooted out.

St. Bernard always returns to love being the reason for all actions, including obedience.

"The highest good, the incomparable grace, is love." Sermon 29:3

I am, as always, grateful for the Cistercian Father Series which I discovered about thirty-five years ago. These references in this series are from Number Four, Volume Two of Bernard of Clairvaux, On the Song of Songs I.