by Boudreaux, Florentin, 1821-1894
Once more, then, we have a bitter fruit to taste ; we have a painful struggle to undergo with our own hearts, to make them gradually more like that Heart which, for love of us, was obedient unto death. Let us not lose courage, however, but, with the Heart of Jesus before us, and with the assistance of the grace which it will pour into ours, let us labor earnestly at the task we have undertaken. In order to succeed in acquiring this difficult and precious virtue of obedience, we must, by repeated and serious meditation, lay deep in our minds the foundation on which it rests, which is, the conviction that God’s will should be our guide and our law ; that whatever is done contrary to that rule, is done in vain; that this sovereign and all- wise Will is most certainly made known to us by our superiors, whoever they may be ; that God directs them in their government ; that no command issues from their lips but with His permission and for our good; be they wise and good, or unwise and wicked, they are God’s ministers to us unto justice, and their orders are God’s own, except when they command what is evidently sinful ; that we cannot err in following the voice of obedience, but shall certainly go astray if we refuse its guidance ; that God will never lay to our charge what we have done through obedience. But these truths must be made to sink deep into our souls, they must become, as it were, a part of our minds ; for then we shall carry them into practice. This foundation of obedience is laid by Faith ; for, every one of the principles it contains is derived directly from the truths which Faith teaches. For the practice of obedience, and especially for its practice in its highest form, Charity is the impelling and sustaining power. “ For, this is the charity of God, that we keep His commandments,” says St. John; and our Lord Himself had said before him: “ He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me.” ( Jn. xiv. 21.) Now, this charity will be given us out of the Sacred Heart, which is the furnace ever burning with that heavenly fire, and ever eager to communicate its flames to our hearts. Can we refuse to obey, after all that the Heart of Jesus has endured to teach us this virtue? Will not the thought, that we can, by imitating his obedience, repay him in some degree for his immense love for us, be sufficient to make the practice of obedience less arduous, less repulsive? Shall we not rather rejoice in proportion to the pain of the sacrifice, since we can thus give Him more signal proofs of our gratitude ? Let, then, this grateful love daily increase in us by means of a constant and tender devotion to the Sacred Heart ; and the bitterness of this fruit of our Paradise will changed into sweetness. For, when our minds are informed with the principles of faith on which obedience is founded, and our hearts warmed with the charity by. which obedience lives and labors; then we shall obey as the Sacred Heart obeyed : promptly, without excuse ; cheerfully, without interior repugnance or outward murmur; exactly, without changing an iota of the command ; fully, without omitting one tittle of what is required of us; blindly, without regard to the suggestions of our own little wisdom; fearlessly, without the slightest misgiving about the result; constantly, without ever being weary of what we know to be the most holy, most wise, most adorable will of God ; obeying perfectly in all things and obeying even unto death, though it were the death of the cross.