“Not as I want, but according to your will, O God, let it be done unto me.” My child, these words… can raise a soul to the summit of sanctity. In such a soul I delight.
Words of Jesus to Faustina recounted in her Diary, par. 1487
Whenever Jesus uses the word, must, He is not merely declaring His obedience; there is more to it. He is teaching by word and example how we must respond:
Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself. (Mk. 8:34)
Whoever serves me must follow me. (Jn. 12:26)
The greatest among you must be your servant. (Mt. 23:11)
Your light must shine before others. (Mt. 5:16)
“How often must I forgive? As many as seven times?” “Not seven times but seventy-seven times.” (Mt. 18:21-22)
“What must I do?” “Sell everything you have and give to the poor. Then come, follow me.” (Lk. 18:18, 22)
Finally, John the Baptist shows us the highest form of discipleship: “He must increase; I must decrease.” (Jn. 3:30)
Obedience is not something we like to think about or even talk about. We would rather relegate it to a child’s world until we hear what Jesus tells us: “unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 18:3).
We are not puppets. We are not rats in a maze. We are freely created human beings in the image and likeness of God and just like God we have an intellect and a free will. Why, then, does Jesus beg our obedience? God knows that it is freely-chosen obedience that leads us to be merciful and that mercy is the essence of God’s life and love.
Therein lies the true dignity of merciful obedience. We become like Christ: fully human, fully alive. We glow with a light that leads others to Christ. We bring Christ’s Peace to a world in darkness. It sounds impossible, a mere pipe dream, yet, nothing will be impossible for God. (Lk. 1:37)
If I freely choose out of my merciful obedience to live, “not as I want, but according to your will, O God,” then He can raise my soul to the summit of sanctity and I will know the true Joy of Christmas.