Jesus answered: ‘Will you lay down your life for me?’ - John 13:38

Support the Holy Father and pray with him!

"Young people in particular, I appeal to you: bear witness to your faith through the digital world!"

-Pope Benedict XVI

Pray for Pope Benedict's prayer intentions for this month. Find out more here.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Heroism in Obedience

Chapter 29

The fruit of loyalty is obedience, and the test of the latter is the readiness to accept situations and decisions which are unpalatable and let it be remarked-to accept them cheerfully. This prompt and cordial obedience is always difficult. Sometimes, to give it violates one's natural inclinations to such an extent as to amount to heroism, to be in fact a sort of martyrdom. And in such terms does St. Ignatius of Loyola speak of it. "Those," he says, "who by a generous effort resolve to obey, acquire great merits; obedience in its sacrifice resembles martyrdom." The Legion expects from its children everywhere that spirit of heroic and sweet docility to proper authority of every sort.

The Legion is an army - the army of the Virgin Most Humble. It must exhibit in its everyday working what is forthcoming in profusion from any earthly army - heroism and sacrifice, even supreme sacrifice. Demands of a supremely exacting character are all the time being made on legionaries, too. Not so often are they called on to offer their bodies to laceration and death, like the soldiers of the world. But let them rise gloriously higher in the things of the spirit. Let them be ready to offer their feelings, their judgment, their independence, their pride, their will, to the wounds of contradiction and the death of a wholehearted submission, when authority requires.

"Deep harm to disobey, seeing obedience is the bond of rule," says Tennyson, but the Legion's life-line can be sundered by more than wilful disobedience. The same result is achieved by the officers whose neglect of the duties of attendance or correspondence cuts off their praesidia or councils from the main tide of legionary life. The same deep harm is done by those, whether officers or members, who attend their meetings, but whose attitude there - from whatever cause-is calculated to promote disunion.

Obedience is one the the characteristics I simply love in the Legion - it makes it so intensely Catholic. Obedience has been a hallmark of the true Catholic right from the earliest martyrs, to the saints through the ages (think of St Teresa of Avilla's obedience to her spiritual director, even when she knew he was wrong, St Pio's obedience to the Church's order to cease his public celebration of Holy Mass), right down to the spirit that today urges us to honour and obey the Pope, and that compels priests, missionaries, religious brothers and sisters to obey their superiors.

I'm also proud to say that I see obedience in action among my Legionary brothers and sisters: when they put aside their conveniences and wishes for the sake of the Legion meeting and Legion work; in those who, despite the need to travel long distances, and in spite of heavy workloads, faithfully attend meetings on campus, volunteer for Legion work and always put the shoulder to the wheel when needed.

This is why I mentioned at the retreat that I feel what separates us from most groups is our Legionary heroism: what is more heroic that "
the death of a wholehearted submission"?

No comments: