Orthodox America

  On Obedience

The greatest offering we can present to the Lord is our self.  We cannot do this without giving up our own will.  We learn to do this through obedience, and obedience we learn through practice.  The best form of practice is that provided by the Church in her prescribed fast days and seasons.

Besides fasting we have other teachers to whom we can show obedience. they meet us at every step in our daily life, if only we recognize their voices. Your wife wants you to take your raincoat with you: do as she wishes, to practice obedience. Your fellow-worker asks you to walk with her a little way: go with her to practice obedience.  Wordlessly the infant asks for care and companionship: do as it wishes as far as you can, and thus practice obedience.  A novice in a monastery could not find more opportunity for obedience than you in your own home.  And likewise at your job and in your dealings with your neighbor.

Thus, make it a habit to rejoice when an opportunity for obedience offers. It is quite unnecessary to seek one, for you may easily fall into a studied servility that leads you astray into self-righteous virtue.  You may depend upon it that you are sent just as many opportunities for obedience as you need, and the very kind that are most suitable for you.

Tito Colliander, The Way of the Ascetics