4. Seeking the will of their Beloved Brother Jesus

Rome, Via Appia, In the footsteps of the martyrsRome, Via Appia, In the footsteps of the martyrs

You will live in whole hearted obedience towards all those who share the authority of Christ in his Church and have responsibility over you. This will be one of the most serious and exacting points of your commitment. Think about it carefully before you start off on a path where you will not be able to compromise or hold anything back.

Already by your vocation to religious life you are in God's hands and totally dependent on him. For a Little Sister this state of total dependency on God must be carried to the extreme. For Brother Charles of Jesus obedience meant

'the most perfect expression of self-surrender to Love,'
and throughout his writings he never tires of repeating the words Christ said to those he made his representatives on earth:
'Anyone who listens to you, listens to me.'(Luke 10:16)

Think it over carefully, because this form of obedience will often be one of the most difficult things that Love will ask of you. You will have to give up the possibility of organizing your own life and you will have to do something that you have probably never done so far: bend your will to that of another person whom you may consider neither very capable nor very holy. It is through her sharing in the authority of Christ present in his Church that the Will of God will be expressed for you.

For your obedience to be truly an act of love, you must obey intelligently and wholeheartedly. Try to understand what you have been asked to do, and do your best to meet the thought of those who make present the Lord's Will for you. That way you will be sure of doing the Will of your beloved Brother and Lord Jesus.

'There is no greater proof of love than to do the will of the one you love.' (Brother Charles of Jesus)

In a time when so many people want to dispute authority and decide for themselves, you must remain in the avant-garde and at the same time be childlike and docile towards the Church. You may hear others speaking disrespectfully about the representatives of the Church and taking lightly what they say. You, however, must be attentive to their words and have for the Holy Father and the hierarchy of the Church a love like that of a child for his father.

People around you may question the wisdom of certain Church directives. You must accept them humbly, loyally and with confidence because as quoted before, Jesus said,

'Anyone who listens to you listens to me.'

Only by such obedience will you be able to fulfil your vocation which is one of love.

'The more we are united to the Church, the more we are united to the Holy Spirit who animates her - the more we will love him whose Body she is, our beloved Lord Jesus.' (Rule of the Little Brothers)

Without this obedience, even your most lofty desires for holiness and love will come to nothing because they will lack a supernatural outlook.

'Why do you call  me  Lord,  Lord, and  not do  what  I  say?'

(Luke 6:46)

Through obedience you will unite your will to the Will of our beloved Lord and remain in his Love and Friendship:

'You are my friends, if you do what I command you.' (John 15:14)

Like Christ you will sometimes have a struggle to conform your will to the Will of your Father in heaven. But if your love is real, you will have all the strength needed to say with Jesus:

'Father, Your Will be done, not mine.' (Luke 22:42}