St. Norbert and Obedience
“When your Superiors speak, think that they stand in God’s place. Listen in all humility to what they say, and obey them directly. I deem it preferable to enter a burning furnace, to suffer even death itself, than not to obey.” – St. Norbert
Our Holy Father Norbert was a man who attracted followers; as a preacher, as the founder of Prémontré and as Archbishop of Magdeburg. He knew the necessity of obedience in a religious community for it to function and flourish. Our Holy Father taught us that we are to obey the voice of the superior as we would obey the voice of God Himself. St. Norbert was also a person subject to superiors; his veneration for the Pope is one of the most exemplary aspects of his life. The Rule of Augustine exhorts superiors not to take delight in ruling, but in serving.
As Catholic religious we are bound to obey not only our immediate superiors in our own houses, but also to show a profund respect and obedience to the voice of the Holy Father as Vicar of Christ. Many martyrs of our Order have given the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of their fidelity to the Petrine Office. Most recently our confreres in Eastern Europe suffered much on account of their fidelity to Rome, losing their monasteries, their freedom and even their very lives.
Let us pray therefore that the adorable will of God may be done in all things. Let us pray too for an increase in fidelity to the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI.
V) Pray for us, O Holy Father Norbert,
R) That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray,
Awake O Lord, in Thy Church the Spirit by Whom St. Norbert, Thy Confessor and Bishop, was guided in order that, filled with the same Spirit, we may love what he loved, and live as he taught us. Through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.