Monday, November 29, 2010

Don’t Tell Me What To Do!

“Therefore, whoever resists authority opposes what God has appointed, and those who oppose it will bring judgment upon themselves.” Romans 13: 2

It’s amazing how much people like to resist authority, isn’t it? From almost the instant we begin to crawl, we begin to see authority and people telling us what to do and not to do as something that MUST be resisted. My youngest child just began crawling in earnest this past week. And he went from just sitting there all cute and cuddly, to a holy terror who risks death and mayhem at every turn. And all of a sudden, my wife and I have had to tell him “no”. No to climbing the stairs, no to putting things in his mouth, no to grabbing the cat’s tail, no to going in the kitchen cabinets. It seems that with this new freedom of movement, we have to set boundaries so that he will be safe, while still giving him the ability to explore and learn. But every time we tell him “no”, he stops, looks at us, smiles…and then tries to do it anyway.

I guess most of us aren’t too different at 5 or 15 or 35…or 85, than we are at 9 months. We want to expand our horizons and to experience things when we want and the way we want, without anyone telling us what to do or not do. It can be our parents’ authority, civil authorities or even God’s authority in the Church. We seem to be unable to be joyfully obedient. But isn’t the Church simply trying to protect us and help us to grow in true freedom? Isn’t the Church trying to protect us from unhappiness in this life and eternal death?

And yet, we still bristle and still want to do it our way. You know who this sounds like? Lucifer. Did he not decide that he did not want to follow God? Was he not cast from heaven for his disobedience? Who else does this remind us of? Perhaps Adam and Eve in the garden? Their lack of obedience led to Original Sin.

So what is the antidote to this desire for disobedience? It is Jesus and His humility. He was obedient at all times to the Father, even unto death. His example should inspire us to fight against the idea that we know better than the Church. We need to be filled with a spirit of joyful obedience—which does not mean blind obedience or mindlessly following the Church without rational thought or discourse. But it means having the humility to recognize that WE are not the authority in life. That ultimately there is One greater and more knowledgeable than us; and to understand that His motivation for teaching us and admonishing us is for the sake of love and love alone.

Dear Jesus, please help me to see that You gave Your authority to the Church and that by obeying the Church I am doing Your will. Give me the grace to be humble and to be joyfully obedient to any authority You have placed over my life. Amen.

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