J M J
THE VIRTUE OF OBEDIENCE
O God, my God, what is happening to me; in what a dark and paralyzing state you are keeping me! I understand myself less and less. It is more difficult to examine my real disposition – what I resent and what I real like. I not only lost my affection for your, but you took away from me the thrill of seeing beauty in all virtues. Meditating on all the virtues which I was considering up to this moment, I did not completely understand whether I have that virtue, whether I practice it or whether I act just the opposite; whether I understand its beauty and its nobility. I am cold and indifferent towards everything like a stone.
At present I am reflecting upon the virtue of obedience. This favorite virtue of the Savior which constituted the glory of his whole life always appealed to me in a special way. I saw in it the foundation of holiness and placed it above all other virtues. The practice of this virtue not only did not cause me any difficulty but actually made everything easier and more pleasant for me. Sometimes I was able to do that which seemed impossible and difficult for me to do. The word “command” has nothing unpleasant about it for me, on the contrary, I desire to hear it constantly.
When I was on retreat last year, despite the fact that I was experiencing the greatest aridity and was unable to meditate, I was so struck with it that I could not oppose it. I saw so much benefit in it for myself, such peace, such simplicity and such freedom, such a perfect and complete belonging to God, that I desired with my whole soul to return to the novitiate, occupy the lowest place in the Congregation, perform the meanest duties so that I could practice this virtue. But this was a passing fancy. Evidently I did not really desire it, neither am I called to such a perfection because it all ended in a daydream. Father heard me out and then made me a Superior and I am forced to give orders to others (even though I would tell a lie if I said that I do not like it).I sometimes wonder whether I would now be able to obey because when did I ever have the opportunity to learn how to do it? In fact, just a year ago they elected me as Superior but I, even though I was sort of a subordinate before that, was always in such a position and at such duties which kept me to some degree independent.
I have vowed obedience to Father, but that is not as binding as I would want it to be. Not only is it not difficult or unpleasant but it also has a special charm. Perhaps it stems from an innate affection and respect because I reproach myself for not recognizing God’s presence in whatever I am asked to do. It also seems to me that at present I am not as eager to obey blindly as I was formerly. I also sometimes reflect on and question whatever I am told to do, and if it does not agree with my convictions, I feel dissatisfied. However, what I really fear is my own will, and Father cannot irritate me more that tell me: Do as you please; as you see fit. I have one desire and that s, that Father would allow me to make a vow of the strictest obedience to my confessor at least for one year. This would give me much comfort in my present state in which God keeps me.
What really causes me much sorrow is that I no longer think of this virtue as beautiful; it no longer makes a deep impression on me. Yet, beauty is that special characteristic of this virtue and I cannot understand how a religious can resist it. I do not know whether or not I appreciate this virtue enough. This I know that I revere it more than poverty, mortification, prayer, good deeds, alms, even Holy Communion, even though in regard to the latter, obedience would be painful and difficult; however, I would carry it out. Nothing pleases me more that that virtue in the sisters. Nothing hurts me as much and even discourages me and turns me away form them as the smallest offense against this virtue. In this instance I am absolutely intolerant and demanding. I would punish severely the smallest transgression. Should Almighty God ask me: What grace would you desire for your Congregation, I would respond: The virtue of perfect obedience. I hold this virtue above all extraordinary graces, ecstasies, above the gift of prayer. It seems to me that I just love this virtue, but in my present disposition I have no feeling for it.