AN OBEDIENT FATHER

Introduction.

Pope Francis proclaimed the year 2020/21 the year of Saint Joseph. This commenced officially from December 8th, Solemnity of immaculate conception of 2020 to the same solemnity the following year. This was during the 150th anniversary of the declaration of saint Joseph as the Patron of the universal church. This was proclaimed by pope Pius ix. Pope Francis wrote a letter, Patris corde (from the father’s heart) and described Joseph as a beloved father, a tender and loving father, an obedient father. An accepting father, a father creatively courageous, a working father an accepting father and a father in the shadows.

In this reflection I will focus on saint Joseph as an obedient father. And resonate it with the Carmelite charism and tradition. I will also share my personal experience. Before that, let us look at the root of the word “obedience”. Etymologically it comes from a Latin word obedientiam meaning to obey, to comply or to listen to someone.

AT YOUR EARLY STAGE OF GROWTH, HAVE YOU EVER BEEN DISOBEDIENT? Maybe to your parents or any of your elders? I often disobeyed my parents when I was growing. HOW DO YOU THINK YOUR PARENTS FELT WHEN YOU DISOBEYED THEM? Think about it. That’s for our humanly parents and guardians. Now this is God if you disobey God I wouldn’t like to imagine what He can do. Moments when we disobeyed our parent’s punishment could follow. Similarly, our parents could reward us as a result of being obedient to them.

God is not an exception. Once we surrender our wills, our own desires and dreams to God, He will grant us all we need, since He knows all we need even before asking. He knows what is better for us. Saint joseph is our model of Obedience to God. Joseph accepted to take Mary for a wife despite the Mary`s mysterious pregnancy. In the beginning he had even planned to dismiss her quietly in order not to disgrace her. But the angel of the Lord come to Joseph in a dream and told him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife for the child conceived in her womb was through the power of the Holy ghost. And that he should name the child “Jesus” because he was coming to save the world. (Mt 1:20–21)

We ought to give up our desires for the well-being of someone else. We bend our will and want to what God wants. Just the same way joseph accepted to take care of Jesus and gave him the best knowledge at per that moment just to prepare Him to be our savior. He also taught Jesus how to be obedient, and this was manifested and brought to culmination on Calvary when Jesus surrendered his will to His heavenly father (Phil 2:8). This was also manifested in Calvary when he cried to God saying “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42).

If we want fulfilment in life, we have to follow Gods plan and we shall be satisfied. Just as Joseph was not afraid to take Mary as his wife, we should not also be afraid of trusting in Gods providence since it comes at the appropriate time.

Pope Francis in Morning meditations in the chapel of DOMUS SANCTAE MARTHAE asks every Christian to be witnesses of OBEDIENCE like Jesus Christ.

On February 2nd 2015, Pope Francis addressed the religious on importance of obedience in religious houses. “Total obedience to God’s will brings wisdom, joy and hope” he said. He also emphasized that we as radical followers of Christ should challenge ourselves on how we are living this dimension of kenosis. Self-emptying. He added that religious men and women should be obedient and docile to their community superiors their order`s Rule and the church.[1]

This is also reflected in our Carmelite Constitutions Chapter 1 article 3 number 35–37. Number 35 states that obedience as a vow obliges us to submit our wills to our superiors as representatives of God. As we submit our wills in faith to Gods will, we are led to the service of our brothers in Christ. Just as Christ was obedient to his father and came into the world to minister to his brothers and even gave his life for us.

Our Holy mother Saint Teresa once said in one of her books “I know the power obedience has of making things easy which seem impossible.”[2] Once we obey we make work easier and this can help in the smooth running of the community where we live. Besides she also warns us of blind obedience especially during spiritual direction.[3]

St Joseph being the Patron of the universal church and a special companion to our holy mother Saint Teresa, we are obliged to emulate him and always rely on him at our points of need. As we come to know and discern our will in our life we are called to be obedient to God just as St. Joseph and there we shall find great joy. Let us learn from saint Joseph on how obedient He was and the fulfilment that he realized in his life in the plan for salvation

HINDERANCES TOWARDS SURRENDERING OUR WILLS TO GOD.

1. Ego centric

2. Desire for prestige

3. Not being Contented with what we have

4. Not having the desire to welcome God in our lives

Bro. Eugene Wandera OCD

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A Roman Catholic religious community of priests, brothers, nuns, and laity serving the Church through lives of prayer and ministry.

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OCD Friars Kenya

A Roman Catholic religious community of priests, brothers, nuns, and laity serving the Church through lives of prayer and ministry.

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