As a young boy attending junior secondary school in my home country, I had enrolled in one of the ‘non-credit’ subjects – Religious Studies. This is a class where we were thought how to live a virtuous life. In one of the classes, the lesson was on obedience. And as we were gazing with rapt attention, the teacher began to say: “obedience is the first law in heaven, and therefore anyone who wishes to go to heaven must obey God the Father and Jesus, our big Brother. They must also obey their mother, father and their principals. They must obey ....” Then he told the story of the fallen angels and our first parents – Adam and Eve.
As I grew up and began to study the Bible on my own and meditate on the word of God, the reality and ‘indelible’ impression from the above lesson became even more evident. It became clearer to me that obedience is not just a mere compliance, but like other virtues it requires grace and needs to be nurtured. It is a great virtue!
It is one of the 10 principal virtues of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus. For the Marians (Those who aspire to serve God through special love and dedication to the Blessed Virgin Mary), this virtue of Mary is qualified with the word heroic – Her Heroic Obedience. And it is justified, for in obedience She did all things according to the will of God: in obedience She conceived God the Son (Luke 1:38) and when the time came for the purification rites, in obedience she presented her Son to the Lord (Luke 2: 22 – 23). And in obedience to the civil authority, Mary went to Bethlehem and there She declared her submission to the Emperor (Luke 2: 4 - 5).
As I continue to strive to make it to heaven, I have come to the conclusion that saints are also those who showed their love for God through dedicated obedience. As we know, what binds us together and makes us brothers and sisters is our belief in God as our common Father and our readiness to do his will. We are therefore called to rededicate our love for God through our wiliness to keep his commands (John 14:15) and we shall see His manifestation (John 14: 23 – 24) and be rewarded with the miracle of abundance (Luke 5:6; see also Joshua 1:8)). Let us learn from the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Saints!