O.I.L. Obedience In Love

O.I.L. Obedience In Love


Remember, it was Mary’s ‘fiat’ (‘yes’) that brought the Holy Spirit: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to Thy word” (Lk 1:38). Because Mary submitted, the Holy Spirit came upon her, and she was filled with the life of God. Spiritually speaking, the same thing happens to us once we are ready to set aside our foolish pride and humbly offer our “yes” to God. And, just as Mary delivered a Savior into the world, we are called to bring this Divine Life we’ve received to all we encounter.

Obedience In Love (O.I.L.) is what Sacred Scripture refers to as “fear of the Lord” or holy fear. As distinct from servile fear (fear of punishment), holy fear is a fear of disappointing or being separated from the one you love. St. Francis de Sales wrote, “We must fear God out of love, not love Him out of fear.” It is like a son who loves his dad very much and fears disappointing him or damaging the relationship or being separated in any way. St. Paul wrote: “So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when He adopted you as His own children. Now we call Him, ‘Abba, Father’’’ (Rom 8:15).

Why did the Bridegroom say, “I do not know you” (Mt 25:12) to the foolish virgins who did not bother to bring enough oil? They represent those who are stuck in that kind of empty religiosity that avoids the extra effort, the sacrifice that is vital in any real love relationship. Instead, they neglect, take shortcuts, or avoid altogether the greater demands of obedient love. Trapped in spiritual sloth (indifference), there is no holy fear and therefore, they are content to keep God at an impersonal, manageable distance as they remain just a face in the crowd — a pew potato — a bench warmer who is content to be on the team but avoids the effort of getting in the game. “Faith means battles;” said St. Ambrose, “if there are no contests, it is because there are none who desire to contend.”

(Excerpt from Church Militant Field Manual: Special Forces Training for the Life in Christ)

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