January 23, May 24, September 23
Chapter 5: On Obedience
But this very obedience
will be acceptable to God and pleasing to all
only if what is commanded is done
without hesitation, delay, lukewarmness, grumbling, or objection.
For the obedience given to Superiors is given to God,
since He Himself has said,
“He who hears you, hears Me” (Luke 10:16).
And the disciples should offer their obedience with a good will,
for “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7).
For if the disciple obeys with an ill will
not necessarily with his lips but simply in his heart,
then even though he fulfill the command
yet his work will not be acceptable to God,
who sees that his heart is murmuring.
And, far from gaining a reward for such work as this,
he will incur the punishment due to murmurers,
unless he amend and make satisfaction.
Just gotta tell you that Benedict really hated grumbling, murmuring and half-heart obedience. He also hated gossip. He wants us to understand that when we obey a spiritual superior, that the obedience is really going to God. Benedict thinks of the Abbess/Abbot as the ultimate spiritual director. Our various priests, pastors, youth leaders are also spiritual directors as well as those who have trained for it. These people are our spiritual mothers and fathers and just as our real parents nurture our growth into adulthood, so our spiritual directors nurture our spiritual lives. It really is something for us to rejoice over and give thanks to God.