44 Days of St. Joseph – April 4 – Joseph Most Obedient

When Joseph heard the word of God, he acted. Scripture records no hemming, no hawing. God said go. Joseph went.

What is it that allows a person to obey? The answer is love.

We moderns tend to equate obedience with compliance, and so we often bristle at the concept of obedience, feeling it is perhaps a bit beneath our dignity. The choice to act, we think, must flow from our autonomy and personal consideration, distinct from coercion. And too often, we even consider our relationships as types of coercion.

But while compliance is “going along to get along,” abandoning one’s will to avoid responsibility, obedience is aligning one’s will to the one obeyed. It is, in a sense, choosing, willing, the relationship itself. Obedience is where the act of hearing what your beloved wills becomes the moment of willing it yourself.

This is why, as Scripture tells us, to obey is better than sacrifice. Sacrifice may be a renunciation of one’s own desire or will, often as an act of compliance, while obedience is the molding of one’s will out of love. With obedience, your will doesn’t become deadened. It becomes more responsive.

Obedience is a response-ability born from love.

Could it be that Joseph was a man of deep response-ability because he was a man who loved?

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