Obedience September 26
(The Crosier) has a frank and spontaneous relationship with the superior and collaborates with him in a transparent, free and adult manner (Profile).
Obedience has to do with the interaction between the leader and the member. The kind of behavior of both is rooted in the Gospel. Theologically, Christian leadership is “sacramental,” that is, it makes Christ present as the Head of the Church. Christian leadership, then, does not exist only to create social order in the community but to represent the authority of Christ, to which both leader and member submit. Even though Christian leadership is legitimized by God and not simply by the agreement of the community, it is exercised collegially—the leader, as with Christ, is more servant than master. On the other hand, the response of the member is always a free and adult act in faith—the member responds to the presence of God in the leader. To obey is an act of Christian dignity because, in terms of the Gospel, the one served is of higher rank than the one serving. Obedience also expresses the dignity of the person because, as an act of self-emptying, it imitates the Paschal Mystery, the highest vocation of the Christian. While the leader has the right to direct, the obedience of the member cannot admit of anything immoral in responding—the member is a disciple of Christ before being a collaborator with his representative. In open and fraternal dialogue, the superior and the member walk, in some sense, as elder and younger brothers to the Kingdom of God.
The squirrel is small but it is not the slave of the elephant. (Bornu)