From my inbox today, a short but striking reflection from Grace Lines:

 “A little drop of simple obedience is worth a million times more than a whole vase of the choicest contemplation.”

St. Maria Maddalena De Pazzi


17 thoughts on “Droplets

  1. In contemplation, there is still an element of “I” – -“I want to know You, but I want to orchestrate some part of it.” Not so for obedience. Obedience says, “It’s all about You. Speak, Lord, Your servant is listening.”

    Is that what she is saying?

  2. I think obedience refers to someone else, a third party, a superior, a husband, a child… through whom God reveals His will (though I bet a zillion dollars you’d drop everything to do whatever a child might ask you, right gypsy?… ;-). And what He asks is usually something you don’t want or don’t like to do, or don’t feel like doing right then and there.

  3. Experimenting, Gabrielle? Does this page change each time? I saw a great blue tone header before but now it’s brown/grey (not so nice).

  4. Obedience is what moves me forward to receive His virginal Self from the hands of anyone who is not a virgin, and hardest of all, obedience is what stops me from speaking of such hesitations when teaching little children about Whom they are receiving.

  5. Well, first, the template saga. I’ve tried about five since I came here, and none of them work in every respect; either the combox doesn’t work, or the sidebar, or the pages, blah, blah, blah. fmn, no, I’m not experimenting with the header; we can’t change anything here. This template has a few headers which interchange automatically; I can’t control them, but I wish I could get that car off the highway – not exactly contemplative to me!

  6. Obedience is such an important ingredient for a deepening prayerlife. The Lord can grab us anywhere we are along the journey and give us the gift of infused contemplation, but to grow in it, to receive the grace on an ongoing basis that we require in order to continue in the contemplative life, He desires our receptivity, and He desires our obedience. We know in our own hearts where and when we are disobedient to His love. His law is love, and if we are listening to the Holy Spirit, we know the very minute we fail, don’t we.

  7. gypsy, since we’re battling it out in the combox on the inter-religious dialogue page, we might as well have a go at it here as well. 🙂 I have no idea where you’re coming from with your comment about not wanting to receive Holy Communion from anyone who isn’t a virgin. I have never heard anything like that in my entire life. If you go to the Vatican website and look up “Redemptionis Sacramentum”, sections 88-96, re the “Distribution of Holy Communion”, I don’t think you’ll see one mention of virginity as being a requirement.

  8. My word! I just got motion sickness looking at the car on the highway!

    Gabrielle, you are not in bed yet, and I have been up a while already because I had to take my son to the train station at 7. We are like two ships crossing in the morning/night. Will we ever meet?

    I was a bit perplexed as well by Gypsy’s comment. There is a debate going on in a forum I visit often here in Italy, on the fact that many priests in Italy (diocesan, mostly, who live alone and have no one to answer to when they close their doors at night) have affairs with parishioners. I’ve heard some say, with a note of pride, that they only make a promise of celebacy, not a vow. There is a big difference, apparently.
    I know that parishes are organized differently in the States, at least where I lived. No rectory had less that 2-3 priests living there, which I think is better than making them live alone.
    So that’s what I thought she was referring to, but then I remembered that there are extraordinary ministers who are married. Gypsy, dear….what did you mean?

  9. The point was about obedience, and obedience suggests I must receive Him from whomever has been appointed to administer Him, and I do. I don’t change lines in order to receive from the priest. Obedience is the same thing that moves to speak my heart, even if my voice shakes, because I’d rather not.

  10. I would agree with fmn’s response in box 3. Obedience is submission of my will, in favour of that of another, whereas contemplation has more to do with free choice. Deciding I want to use my time in a certain way.

  11. Our pastor just recently appointed three men in our community as accolytes. One of them owns a firewood and pellet business, and there are many people who change lines when he gives communion because of his not so honest way of doing business.

    It’s very hard not to look at the man (or woman), but I believe that whoever is given that gift and responsibility is called to it by Our Lord. We have to trust that He knows what He’s doing.

    Contemplation on the other hand, more than a conscious decision, is an opening of the heart, making space for God to come in and stay a while. I find that in my life, it takes me by surprise, and does not depend on my will. I just go with the flow.

  12. Good point, FMN, as according to the definition of contemplation, it would seem perhaps she is speaking more of meditation –that a drop of obedience is worth more than a vase of meditation. Contemplation is God-directed to which we open a door. Meditation can occur without obedience, but not so contemplation. In a way, obedience (which implies doing something other-oriented rather than self-chosen) is the same as contemplation as far as opening a door to Him. We don’t much like the word obedience, perhaps because we forget there can also be happy obedience, similarly to a bishop’s or pope’s statement to little Francis that the Church knows all about Original Sin, so much so that we forget about original innocence.

  13. “A little drop of simple obedience is worth a million times more than a whole vase of the choicest contemplation.”

    I’d go along with Gypsy’s last post on this, but on reflection, I find myself struggling with the word “worth”. Worth to who? Should we be measuring this in either form? I confess to feeling more sincere when I ‘go with the flow’ as Fmn puts it.

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