Some Words about Obedience

“The truly intelligent man pursues one sole objective: to obey and conform to the God of all. With this single aim in view, he disciplines his soul, and whatever he may encounter in the course of his life, he gives thanks to God for the compass and depth of His providential ordering of all things.” (St. Anthony the Great, The Philokalia)

Nun Olga: Once, during the dialogue with Elder Sophrony (Sakharov) people were talking about humility. One of the monks said that lack of humility is our personal self. I would rather add that disobedience is our personal self as well.

If a person lives according to his own will, he deprives himself of the true joy. He can be near it, he can “see” it, but he is always outside it. Just as if you looked through the window and saw the people celebrating something inside, while you were standing outside and felt cold and sad…

Every person has experienced the moments, when you just do what you should do. And there is no need to philosophize. Sometimes your own will seems so alluring that it can even make you reject your obedience. It depends on what a person will choose. And we have to make our choice every day. In other words, we are the architects of our happiness.

As a rule, something what makes you protest most of all, appears to be the most saving for your soul. I would like to wish that our trust in God prevails over our inner voice, which always tries to scare us and says that everything we do is absolutely senseless.

Nun Tatiana: At the present moment, the only way for me to get inner freedom and to silence my inner voice is to follow my obedience. However, I cannot say that I always do like this. The thing is that the human nature is very corrupted. We used to have our personal opinion on everything, but this only makes our life more difficult.

What should we do in order to find a right decision or to do something good? Sometimes this inner choice can be so troublesome for people, that they just cannot find a way out. But the solution is quite simple: you just have to ask. There was a moment I felt very free just because I had an opportunity to ask my spiritual father or a sister and had not to decide on my own. Freedom means that you can ask God anything through your neighbor, and He will answer you what you should do. I think, this is how we can learn to obey. When I force myself to do something or understand that I need to ask someone for advice, I feel free and happy. If only we always could do like this!..

St. Elisabeth Convent,

January 20, 2017

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