EVERY sin is an act of
disobedience; it is the following of one's own will in opposition to
the will of God. The proper atonement for disobedience is obedience,
and the Sacred Heart of Jesus has rendered it by becoming obedient unto
death. "Just as by the disobedience of the one man the many were
constituted sinners, so by the obedience of the one many will be
constituted just" (Rom. 5:19). The whole life of Jesus is a long
drawn-out act of obedience.
Life's First Moment
It is the common teaching of theologians that the
soul of Christ had the perfect use of reason from the very first moment
of its existence. The soul of Christ in the very moment of its creation
beheld the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the Beatific Vision, and its
Own exaltation through the hypostatic union with the Person of the
Divine Word. It fully realized the purpose of this union, namely, to
give to the world a Saviour Who would be God and Man at the same time.
The thoughts and sentiments of Jesus in that moment were foretold by
the prophet, and St. Paul quotes the words of the psalmist in his
Epistle to the Hebrews, "Sacrifice and oblation Thou wouldst not, but
Thou hast fitted a body to Me. . . . Then said I, Behold, I come
. . . to do Thy will, O God" (Hebr. 10:5 ff.). The first act of the
Saviour is an
act of obedience and this obedient attitude never changes throughout
Hidden From the
Every event and circumstance in the life of Jesus was preordained by
the Father, and Jesus took them precisely as manifestations of His
Father's will, which He had come to fulfill. So He welcomed His birth
at Bethlehem amid circumstances which must have been extremely painful
to His holy Mother and because of His Mother also to Him. Yet, He gave
expression to the joy of His heart in the hymn of the Angels which
announced His life's program as He had accepted it, "Glory to God in
the highest and peace on earth among men of good will" (Lk. 2:14).
Unintelligible from the human point of view is the fact that the
Saviour of the world, the Giver and Restorer of life, must flee to
Egypt to save His Own life. But the Father had sent the message to
Joseph, "Arise, and take the Child and His mother and flee into Egypt,
and remain there until I tell thee" (Mt. 2:13). Jesus asked no
question; He obeyed.
Jesus spent the greater part of His life at Nazareth, a small and
insignificant village. The Evangelist characterizes this period of our
Saviour's life by these simple words, "And He went down with them to
Nazareth and was subject to them" (Lk. 2:51). A few words, but an
eternity of thought and reflection will not exhaust their depth. God
subject to men, the Creator to the creature, the All-wise to persons
limited in their wisdom and judgment, even though they were the holiest
persons on earth. And all this for a period of time far exceeding the
length of time men remain under parental authority. But Jesus had come
to do His Father's will and He obeyed.
In the Sight of
During the three years of His public life Jesus went about the country
doing good, preaching, healing the sick, casting out devils, raising
the dead to life. By His wisdom and power He astounded the people and
by the charm of His manners He attracted them, so that they would flock
to Him in crowds. But the spirit that animated Him in this work was the
spirit of obedience to the will of the Father. He said to the Samaritan
woman, "My food is to do the will of Him Who sent Me to accomplish His
work" (Jn. 4:34).
Obedience made Him go after the lost sheep and associate with sinners,
repulsive as sin must have been to Him, the Holy One. The Pharisees
were scandalized, but Jesus told them: "I came down from Heaven, not to
do My Own will, but the will of Him Who sent Me. Now this is the will
of Him Who sent Me that I should lose nothing of what He has given Me,
but that I should raise it up on the last day" (Jn. 6: 38 f.). And
again, "It is not the healthy who need a physician, but they who are
sick. I have not come to call the just, but sinners to repentance" (Lk.
5: 32). The Father's will is that all men should be saved.
In Suffering and
The most painful tests of obedience were reserved for the end of our
Saviour's life. At the Last Supper, as He was about to begin His
Passion, He told the Apostles why He must suffer: "That the world may
know that I love the Father, and that I do as the Father has commanded
Me" (Jn. 14:31). About two hours later He bore the terrible agony. His
human nature shuddered and shrank from the terrors of the Passion.
Bathed in bloody perspiration He lay on His face and cried to His
heavenly Father, "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass away
from Me; yet, not as I will but as Thou willest" (Mt. 26:39). It was
the Father's will that this cup of suffering should not pass away, but
that He should drink it to its very dregs. Therefore Jesus forbade the
fiery Peter to resort to violence in order to defend Him, "Put up thy
sword into the scabbard. Shall I not drink the cup, that the Father has
given Me?" (Jn. 18:11.) Obedient to the will of the Father He allowed
Himself to be betrayed, put in chains, scourged, crowned with thorns,
nailed to the Cross, and He persevered in the pain and agony of the
Cross until all was consummated. Then only did He bow His head and die.
Thus Jesus atoned by His obedience for the disobedience of sin.
Disobedience is forgetfulness of God, self-exaltation, refusal to
serve; obedience is forgetfulness of self, self-immolation, loving
service. In this lies the atoning power of obedience, its greatness and
glory. It does the will of God, which is infinitely wise and powerful
and loving and holy. Nothing could be more perfect, more blissful, more
meritorious, nothing stronger and more powerful. Therefore the obedient
man shall always speak of victory, even though it be victory through
death. In a time of the most widespread self-exaltation and rebellion
against the authority of God, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, obedient unto
death, shows us the way to a truly great, fruitful, holy life on earth
and to the exaltation of the children of God in life everlasting.
TAKEN FROM THE LITANY OF
THE SACRED HEART, Bruce Publishing