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Kempis on: Obedience and Subjection

Numbers 20:11-12

Then, raising his hand, Moses struck the rock twice with his staff, and water came out in abundance, and the community and their livestock drank. But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron: Because you did not have confidence in me, to acknowledge my holiness before the Israelites, therefore you shall not lead this assembly into the land I have given them.


If there is a passage that envisages the obedience God, I haven't found one to match. Moses? Our Moses? Are you kidding me? The one sin that kept Moses from crossing the Jordan into the promised land? Yes, God means business.

Deuteronomy 34:4

The Lord then said to him, This is the land about which I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, “I will give it to your descendants.” I have let you see it with your own eyes, but you shall not cross over.

I once told my students in faith formation that, aside from worshiping false idols, I've broken every commandment carved on the stone tablets. What do you think the first sin was they thought of? "You mean, you killed someone?" No I didn't, but they made my point. I didn't murder but I did fight, hate and think badly of people... and those were mortal sins. I didn't have a physical affair with a woman, but it was emotional enough where it became grave. A sin is a sin. I did not attempt to rationalize it away in Confession. I disobeyed, repented and did the penance.

It really ruffles my feathers, if I had feathers, when someone tries to downplay sin. One might be able to fool others and even themselves, but why do they even try to fool God? I refer to them as the, "Yeah, butts." Yeah but, God didn't mean that. Yeah but, Jesus didn't really mean it that way, it was only a parable. Yeah but, he/she was sinner so why listen to them. Give me a break. I tried it and it doesn't work.

Romans 1:5

Through him we have received the grace of apostleship, to bring about the obedience of faith, for the sake of his name, among all the Gentiles


It is a very great thing to obey, for it is much safer to be subject than it is to command. Never gain peace of mind unless they subject themselves wholeheartedly for the love of God. You will find no rest except in humble obedience to the rule of authority. Dreams of happiness expected from change and different places have deceived many. If God be among us, we must at times give up our opinions for the blessings of peace. Do not trust too much in your own opinions, but be willing to listen to those of others for I have often heard that it is safer to listen to advice and take it than to give it. While one's own opinion may be good, refusal to agree with others when reason and occasion demand it, is a sign of pride and obstinacy. (my emphasis)

Often, when speaking about obedience, the subject of divorce comes up, and it reminds me of how Jesus explained divorce to the Pharisees... and seems to me an excellent example of disobedience to Jesus run amok. Certainly it's become much worse. How often have you entertained the question, "How can it be a sin if it's legal?" I once heard a media pundit claim abortion was okay because it's not mentioned, literally, in Holy Scripture. That's as much of a stretch I've ever heard and I found it repulsive.

Matthew 19:7-9

They said to him, “Then why did Moses command that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss [her]?” He said to them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. (my emphasis)

There are 2 points that stand out to me: 1. Moses broke the covenant of marriage by allowing divorce (Hmmm, another reason not being allowed to enter the Promised Land?) and 2. It was never meant to be, meaning God never intended for divorce to occur. Meaning, God expected, and expects us, to obey Him. I don't like annulments. I understand annulments and why they became available, but today they seem to be "rubber-stamped." (This statement was amplified by Father Gerald Murray, author of the book, "Calming the Storm".)

Obedience means no if-and-or-buts (butts)... regarding the Trinity and Mother Church. That's the way it is. However, when it comes to the infallible leadership within the Church, there is a such thing as blind obedience. Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, in his book "Open Letter to Confused Catholics" addresses obedience and blind obedience.

Indiscipline is everywhere in the Church. Committees of priests send demands to their bishops, bishops disregard pontifical exhortations, even the recommendations and decisions of the Council are not respected and yet one never hears uttered the word “disobedience,” except as applied to Catholics who wish to remain faithful to Tradition and just simply keep the Faith. Obedience is a serious matter; to remain united to the Church’s Magisterium and particularly to the Supreme Pontiff is one of the conditions of salvation. (my emphasis)


If they are faced with an order putting their faith in danger of corruption, there is an overriding duty to disobey. The power of the Pope within the Church is supreme, but not absolute and limitless, because it is subordinate to the Divine authority which is expressed in Tradition, Holy Scripture, and the definitions already promulgated by the Church’s magisterium. Blind obedience is not Catholic; nobody is exempt from responsibility for having obeyed man rather than God if he accepts orders from a higher authority, even the Pope, when these are contrary to the Will of God as it is known with certainty from Tradition. It is an error to think that every word uttered by the Pope is infallible. (my emphasis)

St. Teresa of Avila

"Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you. All things pass. God does not change. Patience achieves everything. Whoever has God lacks nothing; God alone suffices."

It's a roll of the die. If a person chooses to follow errancy, man laws, instead of obeying our Lord, well, that's the risk they take. I'm gambling that God's Laws supersede anything on earth. I'm betting I'm right.

God Bless you

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