Thursday, April 30, 2009

Trust and Obey

One of the wonderful hymns I grew up singing in my Southern Baptist church was "Trust and Obey." The words go like this,"Trust and obey, For there's no other way To be happy in Jesus, But to trust and obey." (Luckily you can only read this and you don't have to hear me sing it!) Simple words and a simple tune but they carry much truth.

During my journey to Catholicism I have come to learn the power of those words. Learning new theology is never an easy task nor is learning the Catholic culture. At least not for someone steeped in the Southern Baptist tradition (emphasis on SOUTHERN). Much about Catholicism is foreign to the rugged individualism, go it alone, and be your own man, rebel attitude which is engrained in virtually every southern male at birth. (It comes with the birth certificate, along with a love for football, fried chicken, biscuits and grits.)

However, to be happy in Jesus can only take place as we submit ourselves to His will. But what does it mean to submit to His will? How do we actually do that? The Catholic Church makes this easy. When we submit ourselves to the Magisterium of the Church, (whether not we understand or even agree with the them) out of honor to God, then God will honor our act of obedience by providing the grace necessary for the spiritual growth required to come into an understanding with His will. I have come to experience that the "understanding" often comes after the obedience, not before.

As with many converts, my road to Rome was filled with many questions. The traditional big stumbling blocks were the questions about the Blessed Virgin Mary, purgatory, indulgences, infallibility of the Pope, etc. However, once I accepted the teaching of Matthew 16, where Jesus gives the "keys" to Peter, everything else fell into place. I realized that the authority of Peter or the chair of Peter did not rest in man but in the promise of Christ. Because the authority was from God the Father, through Jesus His Son, then I had to obey the authority to be happy in Jesus. It was His promise that "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" so the responsibility for maintaining that promise is His.

As long as I seek to honor Him by obeying His authority, it is His responsibility to guide me to the still waters. This He unfailingly does, as is evidenced by the great peace that seems to growth with each passing day. My life is still filled with many challenges and in some way the challenges are even greater now than before. But Jesus has shown me that I do not walk alone. I have the Most Blessed Holy Trinity, the Blessed Virgin Mary (my spiritual mother) a whole host of Saints (dearly departed brothers and sisters in Christ), Angels, and the current body of Christ on Earth (the church, my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ) all who have walked the path before me and now walk it with me.

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