5. Obedience

The first step of humility is obedience without delay. This obedience is characteristic of those who value nothing dearer to themselves than Christ. Whether on account of the holy service which they have professed, or on account of their fear of hell, and the glory of eternal life, as soon as a superior has commanded something, they, as though commanded by God, are unable to let anything delay their doing it.

About these the Lord says:

As soon as the ear heard, he obeyed me. (Ps 18:45)

And again to teachers he says:

Whoever hears you hears me. (Luke 10:16)

Therefore, people like this immediately put aside their own concerns and abandon their self-will. At once dropping what they have in hand, they leave unfinished what they were doing, and with the instant step of obedience, they follow with their deeds the voice of the one who commands. And so, as if at the same moment, the command of the teacher and the completed work of the disciple unfold speedily with the swiftness of the fear of God.

10 The love of the journey toward eternal life urges them on. 11 Therefore, they seize on the narrow way of which the Lord says:

Narrow is the way that leads to life. (Matt 7:14)

12 They do not live by their own will, nor obey their own desires and pleasures. Rather, they walk according to the judgment and command of another, and while living the common life, they desire to have an abbot over them. 13 Without doubt, people like these conform themselves to that saying of the Lord where he says:

I have not come to do my will but that of the one who sent me. (John 6:38)

14 However, this very obedience will be acceptable to God and pleasing to all others only if they carry out what is commanded with no anxiety, no delay, in no way lukewarm, neither with murmuring nor with a show of unwillingness 15 because obedience offered to superiors is presented to God, for he himself has said:

Whoever hears you hears me. (Luke 10:16)

16 And the disciple ought to offer this obedience with good spirit because “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:7).

17 For, if the disciple obeys with ill will and murmurs not only with his mouth but also in his heart, 18 even though he fulfills the command, still it will not be accepted by God, who sees his murmuring heart. 19 For such a deed, he receives no reward. Rather, he incurs the punishment of murmurers, unless he makes satisfaction and changes.



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The Rule of Benedict by Saint Meinrad Archabbey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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