Fr. Robert Bengry: Obedience

My Grandpa was a really great guy. He was a painter and a musician. He could build anything and in his old age was a pioneer in computing. I learned so much from him and am glad to have such a strong and intelligent father-figure in my life. R. Bengry

Priests take a vow obedience to their Bishop, similarly the Religious to their Superior, and the thing about obedience is that it is never truly tested until one disagrees with the one to whom they’ve made the vow. Although the laity do not normally profess vows, the value of Christian obedience is important. All Catholics are to obey Christ, but this is not some personalised or abstract obedience. We have the Holy Scriptures and the Church and as Catholics we live in obedience to Christ through them and natural law. Of course we can have personal disagreements and differing points of view, but ultimately, as I’ve said, obedience is only ever tested in times of disagreement — so, when you find yourself disagreeing with the Church or with the Scriptures, who ultimately wins out? Your own personal interpretation? Your own personal point of view? For Catholics that’s never a legitimate option.

It’s easy to obey Holy Scripture when I’m doing the cherry picking and the interpreting... it’s easy to obey the Church if I’m listening only to the Pope, Cardinal, Bishop, Priest or Saint I personally agree with. It’s easy to obey a Christ of my own making, but what about the Christ who has made Himself known in Holy Scripture through the Church?

Obedience is valuable though often difficult. Maybe it’s valuable because it’s difficult. How does Christian obedience manifest itself in your life? or does it?


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The photograph: From the Robert Bengry collection. Copyright 2020. All Rights Reserved.