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according to Aballah Qarali, the founder of the Maronite Order
Retrieved from the book: “The Monastic Lamp” (Al-Mosbah Ar-rohbany)
with comments & some examples from Fr. Antonio Elfeghali
 Jesus said, “If you want to follow me, deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me.”
 These words are the general guidelines towards perfection. The Maronite monk Abdallah Qarali (the founder of the Maronite Order in Lebanon) interpreted the words of Jesus “follow me” as “be obedient”.
 Obedience was seen as an act of virtue done by the directee to his director, disciple to his teacher, monk to his superior, believer to his Master Jesus Christ, children to parents...
 He found obedience a perfect worship and a greater offering than chastity & poverty.
 For Jesus obeyed the Father until the death on a cross. Jesus said, I came not to do my will.
 Through His obedience, He glorified the Father. Through our obedience, we can glorify the Father. The prophet Samuel said, “Obedience is better than sacrifice.” (1 Samuel 15:22).
 When Jesus called us to follow Him, our hearts stirred within us. We asked ourselves, “where am I supposed to be?” “Where can I nurture my faith?” “Where can I grow spiritually.”
 God directed (and still directs) us to communities within the parish, to religious life or lay communities. These communities have leaders, directors. God placed them there to help us grow.
There, in these communities, we can glorify His name if we stick to Obedience. Everyday, millions of people say, “Hallowed be Thy name”. We can glorify the name of the Father through our obedience to God, following Christ, trusting in our spiritual director, superior, teacher, leader...
 Obedience was defined by Abdallah Qarali (know as Abdel Ahad = Dominic) as an external and an inner mortification to accept the superior’s will.
 Through the vow of Obedience, the Maronite monk offers himself completely (his body, his will, and his mind).
 Obedience is composed of three types. All of them together make the true obedience:
 1- The obedience of the body: The way we behave is conformed to the will of the superior.
 ex: Linda talks very quickly with everyone. Her message sometimes is not understood. The leader of the community tells her gently to talk slowly. This is difficult to Linda. But she obeyed her leader because she knew that God placed this leader in her path to help grow and be perfect. Linda’s body obeyed the leader.
 2- The obedience of the will: Our will is conformed to the will of the superior/Jesus/Director/parents.
 ex: Linda lives in a contemplative community. She agreed to her order’s constitution & rules. She felt one day that she could evangelize and bring many people to Christ. She decided to make evangelical evenings in her village’s houses. Her superior did not allow her to do that. Linda got upset. She felt that the superior is against the Holy Spirit who ‘was working through her’. Linda followed her will and visited one house. Here Linda failed to obey.
 3- The obedience of opinion: We convince our mind that the opinion of the superior is right.
 ex: John is a monk. He lives in a community of brothers. He has a vision of how to take care of the garden. The superior has a different vision. Both are not wrong. Both are useful, but John thinks that his own opinion is better and his superior’s opinion is not right. John has to learn how to convince his mind that the opinion of the superior is right.

Perfect Obedience is divided into three stages:
 I- Mortification to accept the superior’s will made with big difficulty:
 In this stage, there is a conflict, a mortification. The body, the will, and the mind are involved.
 Here we have 4 steps:
 1- Abandonment of the will:
 “I have come from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of the one who sent me.” (John 6:38).
 As the cultivation of the land precedes the harvest, so is the abandonment of the will precedes the act of obedience. If you start to build your house of obedience without the foundation of “the abandonment of the will”, your building will be for disobedience. Do not hold to your will even if it looks good, because acting against your will-even if it is less favorable- is more useful.
 Ex: Saint Peter benefited when he acted against his will (first he did not want Jesus to wash his feet, then he acted against his will allowing Jesus to wash his feet).
 2- Giving up the will:
 It is not enough for someone who sold himself to obedience to abandon his will just for abandonment, but he must abandon his will hating it, as if he refuses something harmful.
"If you come to me, without being ready to give up your love for your father and mother, your spouse and children, your brothers and sisters, and indeed yourself, you cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26). 
To give up his love for himself = to hate his own will.
To be his disciple = to be obedient.
  When Jesus began to teach them that the Son of Man would suffer and be killed, Peter took Jesus aside and began to protest strongly. Peter could not give up his own will. He could not hate it. There was a good reason for Peter to hate his own will. Read what Jesus said to him: "Get behind me Satan! You are thinking, not as God does, but as people do." (Mark 8:33).
 One of the obedient fathers to Saint John Climaco said: “Take off your will the way one takes off the clothe of shame.”
 3- Complete the superior’s will:
  “I have come from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of the one who sent me.” (John 6:38).
 4- The desire for completing the superior’s will:
 “My food is to do the will of the One who sent me.” (John 4:34). This verse means that the true obedient desires to do the will of his superior the way the nature desires food.
One of the saints said: “The true obedient prophecies what the will of his superior is and he does it.” It means that because of his strong desire for the perfect obedience, he grasps his superior’s will from a distance as if he acts before he is commanded.
 II- Mortification to accept the superior’s will made with little difficulty:
 In this stage, boredom may occur, sadness, hardness of heart, but with less difficulty.
 Ex: There was a priest called Alexander who was very obedient. He liked to work. He was cheerful with good character. His superior, father Agathon, loved him a lot. One day, the brothers complained to the superior that Alexander was lazy at work. The superior said to Alexander: “My brother Alexander, wash these clothes better.” When Alexander heard this word, he became upset. It was painful to him.
 After a while, the superior approached Alexander saying: “Did you think I didn’t recognize your good work? But I said this for them to hear to appease their hearts.”
 In this case, Alexander did what his superior asked him to do but with little difficulty.
 III- Mortification to accept the superior’s will made without difficulty:
 In this stage, there is no difficulty, no pain, no frustration. The obedient sees compliments & honors as a burden and the tiredness, insults, and humiliation as a pleasure.
 “They do not suffer unless they do their own will only.” (Saint John Climaco).
 They drink ridicule as a living water.

Means that help the monk to live the obedience:
 I- The monk should take his superior to the level of Christ:
 The holy monk sees his brother as a saint. The evil monk sees the saint evil.
 If you are holy you see your superior holy.
 Satan blinds the monks’ sights with their superior’s weaknesses (defects, shortcomings).
 “When some thoughts suggest you should examine your superior or judge him, expel them the way you expel impure thoughts, and tell the dragon: ‘O deceitful tyrant, it is not I that I assume judgment upon my superior, but it is he who assumes judgment upon me” (Saint John Climaco).
 II- The monk should offer obedience to his superior except sin:
 III- The monk should exceed in honoring & loving his superior outwardly and inwardly:

 IV- The monk should not make contracts and agreements without his superior’s permission:

 V- The monk should not examine his superior’s management of the brothers’ matter:

 VI- The monk should inform his superior about everything he experiences, good and bad:

 VII- The monk should not minister (preaching, teaching) without the superior’s permission:

 VIII- The monk should not send or accept a letter before he discloses it to his superior:

 IX- The monk should not accept a deposit or a mortgage:

 X- The monk should not lend or borrow money, give alms or ask for alms without his superior’s permission.