Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Heart of Obedience

A reflection on Isaiah 1:18-19 by Mother Maria-Michael Newe, OSB.

We heard in Mass earlier this week the reading from Isaiah:
“Come now let us set things right, 'says the Lord, ‘Though your sins be like scarlet they may become white as snow, though crimson red they may become white as wool. If you are willing and obey...”
We’ve been trying to do this since the fall. What strikes me is that word ‘obey’. Obedience sort of follows us around and haunts us; and yet if we turn around it will lead us. Everything stems from the Garden of Eden, the creation of man, the fall, and the promise of restoration.

Yes, let us set things right.

The apple of disobedience was eaten. It cannot be re-hung on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. What was swallowed, consumed, is within each one of us—original sin. A new apple is formed around that piece that was first taken through baptism. Through a life of repentance and obedience a new apple is formed. We become the “apple of God’s eye”. Humility, so to speak, is the flesh of the apple, sanctifying grace gives it it’s beauty, it’s crispness, it’s refreshing taste.

I think there must be a renewal of the understanding of obedience and humility, as both are entwined together. We read in Chapter 5 of the Rule of St. Benedict that the first degree of humility is obedience without delay. And later St. Benedict says that he who listens to his superior and obeys is listening to God.

People sometimes say, “I don’t hear God.” I reply, "Are you being obedient?" If so, then you are hearing God and you’re obeying.

Christ’s moment of greatest humiliation and obedience to the Father is brought before us everyday in the Eucharist. His most humble moment is His most noble. How much more can one get than to become the food of mankind? Things that are food have been killed in order to feed something else. You’re not on the “top” if you become the food of another. And yet we are called to feed one another.

Now is the time of “reformation” for the Church. We need to be re-formed in Christ from the core. The whole Church needs to return to Christ in obedience, humility, and love. That’s what Lent should do. It should be the seed that brings forth the spring of life.

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