The Secret Virtue

“Light of the Incarnation”, Carl Gutherz, 1888.

There is a secret virtue that guides the course of the stars in the heavens, the orbits of the planets in space, and alike the behavior of mammals on land, and the movement of the fish in the sea. Everything, that is, that exists, lives this virtue in accordance with the laws of nature set by the Beneficent and Good God.

Every rational creature ought to live this simple virtue according to which the Will of God is followed promptly and cheerfully. Obedience, is the virtue. At the origin, there existed Order, Harmony, Peace, Love, Joy, and Innocence. Heaven and Earth were paradisiacal realms in which the Will of God was followed; had the virtue of Obedience triumphed over Adam and Eve, this state of being would have endured and humanity would have lived in happiness. Disobedience arose, when, at the prompting of the Serpent, Adam and Eve disobeyed the Divine command and ate of the fruit of the Tree of the knowledge of Good and of Evil. With disobedience, ruin entered into the material universe: the loss of the friendship with God, the deprivation of sanctifying grace, the emergence of ignorance, the disappearance of preternatural gifts such as intelligence and immortality, the apparition of concupiscence in the disorder between reason and the senses, the subjection of woman to man, the toil of labor and the harshness of nature, the enmity between man and man and between man and nature, natural catastrophe, plague and disease – in short, the disorder of Sin.

In the proto-Gospel, to the fall of man was joined the Salvation of the human race by the Man-God. Indeed, what Adam had lost through disobedience, that is, pride, the Christ conquered and re-gained through Obedience, that is, humility in love for the Will of God. The Light shone in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. The Incarnation presents the humble abasement of the Word come in the flesh, to the confines of time, and the materiality of space, the vicissitudes of a material body subjected to the laws of nature and the limitations of matter, in the need for sustenance, shelter and sleep, fatigue and toil, and suffering due to the rigors of existence itself. As He had obeyed in the first operations of the Creation of the world, the Word obeyed in the operation of the second Creation, the regeneration of the human race. And He obeyed, in the events of the daily life of Nazareth, as in the events of His ministry as He followed joyfully the promptings of the Holy Spirit who was His Light during his apostolate. The Word obeyed in becoming an Infant, a Child, a young Man, an Adult, a Rabbi, a Redeemer, in fact, a Christ; until He reached the perfection of Justice, where, on the Cross having deprived Himself and His Holy Heart of all attachments – and even that of the natural attachment of a Mother, and of a Church – He had only the Will of God as His Food and offered Himself up in perfect Sacrifice for the Honor of God, the reconciliation between God and Man, and the Birth of His Church.

The Christ, is an example of suffering to follow and a model of spiritual sanctity to emulate. Upon His Ascension, He left as primary Teacher and Witness to His Gospel, that is, His acts, His deeds, and His Teaching, a Church, “pillar and foundation of truth” (1 Timothy 3:15), that through Tradition and the Sacred Scriptures, Her Magisterium may safeguard and protect them, interpret and expound them, and illumine as Light and redeem as salt the world in whose midst She is found, and with whose conflict She exists.

In the example of the Master, the believer ought to obey. Granted, the truths of the Faith are demanding on the whole person, engaging intellect and will, reason and sense, meaning, the animal, the moral and the spiritual orders of the human being. Still, Obedience is to be the virtue that defines the faithful. In Her proposition of Revelation, the Church demands the obedience of Faith, of the Catholic, requesting of him that he follows the Divine Law, the Ten Commandments, with fidelity in addition to the wise evangelical counsels and also, the customs and the laws of the Church; and the believer is bound by Faith, by Law, and by holy Charity to observe them, in order that he may be converted, recreated, attain sanctification and conquer Heaven by his holy heroism and ardent zeal.

Obedience, is the secret virtue of sanctity. It is this virtue which shines forth in the ministry of the angels, who like faithful messengers, dutifully watch after the interests of God and the care of man. Obedience, is the substance of the Catholic Faith, for it reveals humility in love, as one freely submits the intellect to the truths of the Faith, and wholly directs the will to the practice of Charity. It is Obedience that saves, for it grants, more than any other virtue, an intellectual likeness to God and helps man become a reasonable creature, a spiritual person.



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