Streams of Mercy, Part 3: Obedience

We continue our series "Streams of Mercy," reflecting on themes and lessons presented in the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska. Each month, we are diving into a different virtue or theme presented by our Lord in the Diary, so that we might learn from Him and prepare our hearts for His coming to us each and every day, and at the end of our lives - whether that be through a bodily death or His Second Coming. This month we reflect on the virtue of obedience.

"My daughter, know that you give Me greater glory by a single act of obedience than by long prayers and mortifications" (Diary, 894). Our Lord told St. Faustina this, and we can easily apply it to our own lives.

Our obedience to His commandments and His will for our lives - through joys and sorrows - gives Him great glory. So, what does it mean to obey and how do we do so in our daily lives?

Well, first of all, the word "obedience" comes from the Latin word obedere, which means "to listen." So, how much time every day do you spend listening for the Word of God to speak to you, whether through Scripture, an interior inspiration, or someone in your life? Listening, then, should engage your reason, will, and judgment, so that when you see what God is calling you to do in your daily life, things big and small, you can then decide when and how to fulfill that will of God (see Diary, 535).

Now, how St. Faustina, as a professed religious, lived obedience will look differently from how you choose to live out obedience. But practicing the virtue of obedience isn't any less important for you. The practice of this virtue can help you grow in sanctity and save souls.

Incorporating the virtue of obedience into your particular vocation might make certain penances or prayers incompatible with your ability to fulfill your daily duties. Don't fret. Jesus is more pleased by obedience and love with your daily duties than many great acts of mortifications, as mentioned in Diary 894.

For example, if you are a parent, when you deny your will 100 times a day to help your family, that is so much more pleasing to the Father than if you could spend hours every day praying before the Blessed Sacrament. Yes, you should still make an effort to pray as you can and when you can, but it is important to remember that He is a loving Father, not a taskmaster. The purpose of prayer is to foster your relationship with Him, and therefore it is important to incorporate some time for prayer throughout your day.

If you ever feel on a given day a lack of strength to be able to be obedient to what God is asking of you, or you feel discouraged about being obedient, take to heart these words of Jesus to St. Faustina: "Yes, when you are obedient I take away your weakness and replace it with My strength. I am very surprised that souls do not want to make that exchange with Me" (Diary, 381).

The Lord is so pleased with your desire to be obedient to Him, that the virtue of obedience can give you the strength to accomplish what you may not think you can do on your own.

To make obedience that much more important, our Lord taught Faustina how important it was for the salvation of souls and their release from Purgatory.

She wrote in her Diary:

Immediately after Holy Mass, I asked Mother Superior's permission to fast, but I did not receive it because of my illness. When I entered the chapel, I heard these words: "If you had fasted, Sister, I would not have gotten relief until the evening, but for the sake of your obedience, which prevented you from fasting, I obtained this relief at once. Obedience has great power." After these words I heard: "May God reward you" (1187).

The smallest acts, offered in obedience to the Lord's will, can work miracles and save souls. Laundry, cooking, going to work, giving your best at work, helping a neighbor, lending a hand - anything offered by the virtue of obedience of what is required of your state in life, can be offered for souls and help you grow in sanctity.

Let us join with St. Faustina as we pray, "O my Jesus, grant me the grace to be an obedient instrument in Your hands" (Diary, 1401). s


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