The three degrees of Obedience

January 11, 2022 • 2 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 449
By Venerable Louis of Granada

Let us observe, in conclusion, that theologians distinguish three degrees in this virtue.

The first consists in patiently bearing afflictions; the second in desiring to suffer for the love of God; and the third in rejoicing to suffer for the same motive.

In the patience of Job we find an example of the first degree. The ardent desire of the martyrs to suffer for Christ affords us proof of the second. The joy which filled the hearts of the Apostles because they were accounted worthy to suffer reproach for the name of Christ is a bright example of the third. [Acts v. 41.]

St. Paul had attained this sublime height when he gloried in his tribulations. [Rom. v. 3.] In this he was nobly followed by many of the early Christians, as we learn from his Epistle to the Corinthians, whom he tells of the grace given to the Macedonians which caused them to experience abundance of joy in much tribulation. [2 Cor. viii. 2.]

This is the highest degree of virtue, but it is not commanded us. A faithful servant of Christ will not, however, rest satisfied with the first degree, but will strive unceasingly to reach the second and even the third.

What we have said on this subject must not be interpreted to mean that we should rejoice at the sufferings of others. Oh! no; charity requires us to sympathize with others in affliction, especially with our kindred and with the Church. The mortifications we impose on ourselves must not be extended to others, but should render us even more considerate towards them.

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