This is a wonderful article.
God, grant us to have listening ears today and every day.
Reprinted from the Serra, Airport Chapter, June Newsletter
At the Abbey of Monte Cassino in Italy, there is a beautiful Basilica Cathedral with a dome high above the altar. The four corners show allegories of the vows taken by Benedictine monks, which are depicted by a human figure.
• Chastity is bearing a lamp,
• Stability is pictured with an anchor and a column,
• Poverty is leaning onto the cross and dropping money, and
• Obedience conveys a loving, obediential, listening attitude.
It captures the fundamental principles and attitudes which underlie the vow of obedience. For Christ, obedience was the unifying principle of His life. A principle is that from which everything proceeds, or on which it depends as its origin, cause or source of action. Every act of obedience has an origin, cause or source. The act of obedience is a very complicated act, and it requires a number of integrated attitudes. The artist of this image captures this integration and brings many symbolic gestures into a unified whole.
Reflection: One aspect noticed about the painting of obedience is the figure’s posture of hearing. She has her hand raised to the ear, conveying by this a loving, obediential, listening attitude. Her ears are open to hear and to receive God’s word. The artist seems to want to make this a driving point by exaggerating the opening of the ear. The figure strongly suggests a willingness and readiness to obey. She is attentive, undistracted, securely centered on hearing the one voice of her Beloved.
What does this show us about the vow of obedience? For one thing, it is a “listening vow”. This vow challenges us to be attentive and open to God’s will through the various ways He makes His will known to us. We have to “hear” to be obedient. Hearing suggests an attitude of receptivity, openness, a responsiveness to God’s personal involvement in our lives.
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-- Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious website