Practicing Voluntary Obedience

September 1, 2021 • 1 min

From Introduction to the Devout Life, page 130
By St. Francis de Sales

We call that obedience voluntary which we practise of our own choice, and which is not imposed upon us by another.

We do not commonly choose our king, our bishop, our father or mother, nor even do wives always choose their husbands; but we choose our confessor and director: if then in choosing we make a vow to obey, as the holy mother Teresa did, who as has been already observed, besides her obedience solemnly vowed to the superior of her Order, bound herself by a simple vow to obey Father Gratian; or if, without a vow, we resolve to obey anyone, this obedience is called voluntary, on account of its being grounded on our own free will and choice.

We must obey each one of our superiors, according to the charge he has over us.

In political matters we must obey the laws; in ecclesiastical, our prelates; in domestic, our parents, master, or husband; and, in what regards the private conduct of soul, our spiritual father or director.

Request your spiritual father to impose upon you all the actions of piety you are to perform, in order that they may acquire a double value; the one of themselves, because they are works of piety; the other of obedience to his commands, and in virtue of which they are performed.

Happy are the obedient, for God will never suffer them to go astray.

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