Sunday, June 22, 2008

Obedience as Union with the Will of the Father

It is true that the two things - 'not to do one's own will' and 'to do the will of God' - are strictly interdependent.  They are not, however, identical an neither do they have the same limits.  Not to do one's own will is not always, in itself, a saving factor, whereas doing the will of God is.  The positive reason for obedience goes much further than the negative one.  God can ask things not wit aim of making us deny our own will, but to test and increase our faith and charity.  The BIble defines the act that led Abraham to immolate his son as obedience (cf. Gn 22:18), even if the aim was not to make Abraham deny his will, but to test his faithfulness.  The aim of all is in fact to get human freedom to return freely to adhering to God, so that only one will, God's will, may reign again in the universe as was the case before sin appeared.  Through obedience we have, in some way, 'the return of creature to God.'  At the head of all biblical motivations for obedience, higher than faith itself, there is charity.  Obedience is the nuptial 'yes' of the creature to the Creator, in which the final union of the two wills, the essence of eternal bliss, is, however imperfectly, already at work.  'It is through obedience,' a Father of the desert said, 'that we are not only in the image of God but like to God.'  We are in the image of God through the very fact of our existence, but through our obedience to Him we are like to Him, as through obedience we conform ourselves to his will and, through our free choice, become what he is by nature.  We are like to God because we want what he wants.
from Obedience: The Authority of the Word by Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa

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