Benedictine Spirituality from a Lay Person: Obedience (part 2 of 7)

Benedictine Spirituality from a Lay Person: Obedience (part 2 of 7)

Obedience, in regard to Benedictine spirituality, is about listening with the “ear” of your heart to God, self, and others. The Old Testament reads, “Sacrifice and offerings you do not want, but ears open to obedience you gave me… To do your will is my delight; my God, your law is in my heart” (Psalm 40:7-9). In the New Testament, this is repeated with Jesus in his Incarnation, but with a twist: “Sacrifice and offering you do not desire, but a body you prepared for me” (Hebrews 10:5). God gave us his word and opened our “ears” through the life of his only son, Jesus Christ, to be the example of true worship. 

The Greek philosopher Plato pondered the question of what would become of a perfectly just person in this world. He concluded that such a person would be crucified. Jesus responded to James and John’s request for seats in the Kingdom by saying: “…the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and give his life as ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). 

So is obedience to be understood as worship and worship to be understood as sacrifice? 

The answer is yes, obedience is worship and yes, worship is to be understood as sacrifice… spiritually. Pope Benedict XVI recognizes obedience—living within and on the basis of God’s word—as the right way to worship God. So here the idea of spiritual sacrifice, or “sacrifice in the manner of the word,” was formulated: prayer, the self-opening of the human spirit to God, is true worship.

The meaning of obedience is found in the Cross. Through Jesus’ prayerful ministry to the masses during his life, his prayerful demeanor during the Passion, and the prayerful fulfillment of God’s kingdom in his resurrection, he showed us how to listen to God, to others, and to ourselves. The common thread is prayer; nothing more and nothing less than open, honest, two-way communication from the depths of our hearts.

In the Gospels we hear how Mary, the Mother of God took all these things into her heart. Simply put, she prayed. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (aka: Mother Teresa) looked to the Cross to live her life through prayer. For me, it’s tough, but I’m trying. I fail at times, but try to learn. I pray so that I may strengthen my faith with God. I pray so I can better hear in my heart the true path God wants me to follow. I pray so that I may truly help those I come across in my daily life. I pray so that I can understand my true needs and break the chains of burden that keep me down. I pray; I listen whole-heartedly; I accept, no matter the outcome… at least I try. That is what God truly wants from me and for me, from each of us and for each of us. This is true worship. This is being obedient to God.

… God Bless…

[my next blog: Benedictine Spirituality from a Lay Person: Chastity (part 3 of 7)]

photo credit: dan/


About the Author

Michael Glassmeyer is a lifelong Catholic who has spent the past several years examining his own faith and beliefs in an attempt to understand the beliefs and actions of others involving local, state, national, and world events. Michael lives in his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, and is married with three children. (@MPGlassmeyer)
  • drjandavis

    After reading your post, I looked up to ponder the notion of obedience and noticed a hummingbird sipping nectar from a red penta flower outside my window. That seems to be “obedience” – the tiny hummingburd attending to her true nature. Obedience, to me, means to listen to God’s design for my life and to live as closely as I can to God’s passionate desire for me. As a Benedictine Oblate, I find that the daily Liturgy of the Hours (ora et labora) gives clear clues of God’s plan if I but listen with the ear of my heart.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you for sharing that moment.  Two Springs ago, I was reading a passage in a book about the Glorious Mystery of the Resurrection.  As I began the passage a light afternoon rain began.  The sun was still shining a bit and there was a light breeze creating a fine mist of water as the wind blew the rain through the screens of the back porch I was sitting on.  The rain was done before I finished the chapter, but as I paused to reflect on what I just read I began to notice the smell of the air around me… the fresh smell of new spring life that tends to follow such a springtime rain… it was magnificent, yet reminded me of Jesus’ Baptism in the Jordan and his Resurrection into new life.  Nature, another gift from God, serves to remind me of the meaning of my Baptism and of the feeling of refreshment/ new life I get from the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  It saddens me that there are so many out there who would call experiences like yours with the hummingbird or mine with the rain,mere coincidences, that its was “pure chance” or an “accident” that it happened when it did.  Oh, what a world this can be if we all listen with the ear of our heart and not dismiss these “clear clues”, as you stated, as pure chance. God Bless.

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