As a novice oblate, I am to follow the orders of my teacher, with the tender acceptance that he would never order me to do something that did not bring me closer to God, or help me to be a better person.
The forth step of humility is that in this obedience under difficult, unfavorable, or even unjust conditions, his heart quietly embraces suffering and endures it without weakening or seeking escape (The Rule of St. Bendedict in English, paragraph 35).
We are called to this, because it is, as with a priest, that a man submits to his superior in all obedience for the love of God, imitating the Lord of whom the apostle says: He became obedient even to death (Phil 2:8).
When I was a younger man, I would have served my country well (due to medical reasons, I could not pursue this dream), because I believe in giving one’s life for something greater than self (children, county, God, family). And being in the military, to defend "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" would have been a call I would have answered for my country:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.
In our lives as men, we may find ourselves reflecting on our childhood, teen years, early or later adult years and thereby find we have committed our trust to those that called upon us to "follow orders", while they themselves had little if any commitment to God, or at least some higher calling. My allegiances to them was a mistake, well intending, but a mistake. Why, because I did not question and take action to assert, "You have no principle guiding you, therefore I cannot follow."
To whom do we pledge our allegiance today? Is it to those who have not enduring and life sustaining principles? Is our allegiance to a lifestyle that detracts from the spiritual development of souls, our children, or homes and community?
During times of my life, I have been grieved that I have overlooked, have been insensitive, mean and selfish, to one or more persons that they themselves are committed to God, and are attempting to direct their lives by his will. I am blessed that that they and the good Lord provides forgiveness, and he has subsequently given me people in my life that have extended that love.
Now I must do the same. Recently, I have found myself committed to greater service, but not without challenge. While in prayer yesterday after Vigil, before the Blessed Sacrament, I was later lead to a test that tells me how much I still need to grow in humility and obedience to Christ. I realized later I cannot have it both ways, to kneel in the shadow of contemplative light, in a safe place, the womb of the Church and say I am serving my God, and refuse to serve him by caring without him for the most blessed people and challenging responsibilities he places in my hands. I cannot wipe away tears and wonder why is not God showing me a path, and turn my head from the very challenges that will increase the weight of a cross on my shoulders, and refuse to let Christ, and my trust in Christ, to lessen the weight by becoming a more humble man, paradoxically strengthened by his might, for the benefit of others.
To embark on a path past the gate of selfishness by the key of prayer and to follow our Lord is a wonderfully fearful event, for I believe great things can be accomplished in my and our service to God, but to get there one cannot remain ignorant and inattentive to the need to submit to Christ’s molding of one’s life to God's call. Among our brothers and sisters in Christ, we cannot be ignorant, and must mutually support each other in our service to Christ:
This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility. This is the case when a man takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin (59). In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits (Catechism of the Catholic Church).
How might our allegiance be stated, if we rethink to whom or what our time and attention is given. How would that oath be stated, if we turned away from those commitments that hold us back from being all you can be? Perhaps it might be stated as such:
With all my heart, I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Scriptures of my God against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of my Lord, and the orders of those he places in my path, that have they themselves committed their lives, and are appointed over me, the Pope, my Bishop, my Priest, my spiritual advisor (wife, partner, friend, colleagues, etc.) according to the regulations of Love that the Scriptures reveal.
Or more simply stated as in Scripture:
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.
I asked my Lord, on my knees to show me a path to better service. And, like many, I have failed at times. But, like many, with the grace of our Father in heaven, he has picked me up and helps me to not deter from Christ's call, and bear the cross of Christ to defeat all enemies foreign (outside the home) and domestic.
I asked God to show me the way, and he put in my path special people to remind me the fight we are called to in dealing with social and family issues be of such a challenge, we cannot do it alone without the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and each other; or without being in humble service to the tender hearts within our own homes and among our own brethren.
Be All You Can Be - Allow God and time with the blessed sacrament to change your life and change the lives of those around you!