Obedience September 18
Our obedience should be embraced . . . (Congolese Regional Statutes, 1.27).
The call to obedience of the Crosier seeks always to respect the human and Christian dignity of the confreres. In the spirit of Augustinian religious life, the older brothers who exercise authority in the communities at every level are obliged by the Constitutions to listen to the confreres involved. And more than that, the superiors should assure that decisions are arrived at by processes in which all concerned participate. But to speak of this sensitivity to persons and their participation does not mean that Crosiers take a “vow of dialogue” instead of a “vow of obedience.” In the end, religious obedience is submission to Christ who calls us through the appeals of his representatives in the Church. The formula of profession is clear: obedience to God and to the person of the Master General. This obedience is lived according to the Rule of St. Augustine and the Constitutions, wherein the community processes of discernment are described. But the commitment to obedience remains fundamentally person to person (Divine or human). Even if decisions are arrived at collectively, it is not the fact of consensus or the quality of the decisions that demand obedience or dispense with it. It is the superior who has the right and the responsibility to finally confirm the consensus or set it aside. That is what makes the difference. The vow of obedience is a commitment to submit to “someone” for Gospel reasons and not simply to some proposition, whatever the dialogue that led to it.
Royal power is not overcome by shouts, even if they are numerous. (Burundi)