In apostolic work there is no such thing as a trifling disobedience.
Temper your will, strengthen your will: with God's grace, let it be like a sword of steel.
Only by being strong-willed can you know how not to be so in order to obey.
With that slowness, with that passivity, with that reluctance to obey, what damage you cause to the apostolate and what satisfaction you give to the enemy!
Obey, as an instrument obeys in the hands of an artist, not stopping to consider the reasons for what it is doing, being sure that you will never be directed to do anything that is not good and for the glory of God.'
The enemy: Will you obey… even in this 'ridiculous' little detail? You, with God's grace: I will obey… even in this 'heroic' little detail.
Initiative. You must have it in your apostolate, within the terms of your instructions.
If it exceeds those limits or if you are in doubt, consult whoever is in charge, without telling anyone else of what you are thinking.
Never forget that you are only an agent.
If obedience does not give you peace, it is because you are proud.
What a pity that whoever is in charge doesn't give you good example! But, is it for his personal qualities that you obey him? Or do you conveniently interpret Saint Paul's 'obey your leaders' with a qualification of your own…, 'always provided they have virtues to my taste'?
How well you understand obedience, when you write: 'To obey always is to be a martyr without dying'!
You've been told to do something which seems useless and difficult. Do it. And you will see that it is easy and fruitful.
Priority, order. Everything in its place. — What would be left of a Velasquez painting if each colour were to mingle with the next, if each thread of the canvas were to break apart, if each piece of the wooden frame were to separate itself from the others?
Your obedience is not worthy of the name unless you are ready to abandon your most flourishing personal work, whenever someone with authority so commands.
Isn't it true, Lord, that you were greatly consoled by the childlike remark of that man who, when he felt the disconcerting effect of obedience in something unpleasant, whispered to you: 'Jesus, keep me smiling!'?
Yours should be a silent obedience. That tongue!
Now, when you find it hard to obey, remember your Lord: 'obedient even to accepting death, death on a cross!'
The power of obedience! The lake of Genesareth had denied its fishes to Peter's nets. A whole night in vain.
Then, obedient, he lowered his net again to the water and they caught 'a huge number of fish'.
Believe me: the miracle is repeated each day.