A Treatise Of Obedience
9. How God does not reward merit according to the labor of the obedient, nor according to the length of time which it takes, but according to the love and promptitude of the truly obedient; and of the miracles which God has performed by means of this virtue; and of discretion in obedience, and of the works and reward of the truly obedient man.
"I have appointed you all to labor in the vineyard of obedience in different ways, and every man will receive a price, according to the measure of his love, and not according to the work he does, or the length of time for which he works, that is to say, that he who comes early will not have more than he who comes late, as My Truth told you in the holy gospel by the example of those who were standing idle and were sent by the lord of the vineyard to labor; for he gave as much to those who went at dawn, as to those who went at prime or at tierce, and those who went at sext, at none, and even at vespers, received as much as the first: My Truth showing you in this way that you are rewarded not according to time or work, but according to the measure of your love. Many are placed in their childhood to work in the vineyard; some enter later in life, and others in old age; sometimes these latter labor with such fire of love, seeing the shortness of the time, that they rejoin those who entered in their childhood, because they have advanced but slowly. By love of obedience, then, does the soul receive her merit, filling the vessel of her heart in Me, the Sea Pacific. There are many whose obedience is so prompt, and has become, as it were, so incarnate in them, that not only do they wish to see reason in what is ordered them by their superior, but they hardly wait until the word is out of his mouth, for with the light of faith they understand his intention. Wherefore the truly obedient man obeys rather the intention than the word, judging that the will of his superior is fixed in My will, and that therefore his command comes from My dispensation, and from My will, wherefore I say to you that he rather obeys the intention than the word. He also obeys the word, having first spiritually obeyed in affection his superior's will, seeing and judging it by the light of faith to be Mine. This is well shown in the lives of the fathers, where you read of a religious, who at once obeyed in his affection the command of his superior, commencing to write the letter o, though he had not space to finish it; wherefore to show how pleasing his prompt obedience was to Me, My clemency gave him a proof by writing the other half of the letter in gold. This glorious virtue is so pleasing to Me, that to no other have I given so many miraculous signs and testimonies, for it proceeds from the height of faith.
"In order to show how pleasing it is to Me, the earth obeys this virtue, the animals obey it -- water grows solid under the feet of the obedient man. And as for the obedience of the earth, you remember having read of that disciple who, being given a dry stick by his abbot, and being ordered by obedience to plant it in the earth and water it every day, did not proceed to ask how could it possibly do any good, but, without inquiring about possibilities, he fulfilled his obedience in such virtue of faith that the dry wood brought forth leaves and fruits, as a sign that that soul had risen from the dryness of disobedience, and, covered by the green leaves of virtue, had brought forth the fruit of obedience, wherefore the fruit of this tree was called by the holy fathers the fruit of obedience. You will also find that animals obey the obedient man; for a certain disciple, commanded by obedience, through his purity and virtue caught a dragon and brought it to his abbot, but the abbot, like a true physician of the soul, in order that he might not be tossed about by the wind of vainglory, and to prove his patience, sent him away with harsh words, saying: 'Beast that you are, you have brought along another beast with yourself.' And as to fire, you have read in the holy scripture that many were placed in the fire, rather than transgress My obedience, and, at My command were not hurt by it. This was the case of the three children, who remained happily in the furnace -- and of many others of whom I could tell you. The water bore up Maurus who had been sent by obedience to save a drowning disciple; he did not think of himself, but thought only with the light of faith of how to fulfill the command of his superior, and so walked upon the water as if he had been on dry land, and so saved the disciple. In everything, if you open the eye of the intellect, you will find shown forth the excellence of this virtue. Everything else should be abandoned for the sake of obedience. If you were lifted up in such contemplation and union of mind with Me, that your body was raised from the earth, and an obedience were imposed on you (speaking generally, and not in a particular case, which cannot give a law), you ought, if possible, to force yourself to arise, to fulfill the obedience imposed on you, though you should never leave prayer, except for necessity, charity, or obedience. I say this in order that you may see how prompt I wish the obedience of My servants to be, and how pleasing it is to Me. Everything that the obedient man does is a source of merit to him. If he eats, obedience is his food; if he sleeps, his dreams are obedience; if he walks, if he remains still, if he fasts, if he watches -- everything that he does is obedience; if he serve his neighbor, it is obedience that he serves. How is he guided in the choir, in the refectory, or his cell? By obedience, with the light of the most holy faith, with which light he has slain and cast from him his humbled self-will, and abandoned himself with self-hatred to the arms of his order and superior. Reposing with obedience in the ship, allowing himself to be guided by his superior, he has navigated the tempestuous sea of this life, with calm and serene mind and tranquillity of heart, because obedience and faith have taken all darkness from him; he remains strong and firm, having lost all weakness and fear, having destroyed his own will, from which comes all feebleness and disordinate fear. And what is the food of this spouse obedience? She eats knowledge of self, and of Me, knowing her own non-existence and sinfulness, and knowing that I am He who is, thus eating and knowing My Truth in the Incarnate Word. What does she drink? The Blood, in which the Word has shown her, My Truth, and the ineffable love which I have for her, and the obedience imposed on Him by Me, His Eternal Father, so she becomes inebriated with the love and obedience of the Word, losing herself and her own opinions and knowledge, and possessing Me by grace, tasting Me by love, with the light of faith in holy obedience.
"The obedient man speaks words of peace all his life, and at his death receives that which was promised him at his death by his superior, that is to say, eternal life, the vision of peace, and of supreme and eternal tranquillity and rest, the inestimable good which no one can value or understand, for, being the infinite good, it cannot be understood by anything smaller than itself, like a vessel, which, dipped into the sea, does not comprehend the whole sea, but only that quantity which it contains. The sea alone contains itself. So I, the Sea Pacific, am He who alone can comprehend and value Myself truly. And in My own estimate and comprehension of Myself I rejoice, and this joy, the good which I have in Myself, I share with you, and with all, according to the measure of each. I do not leave you empty, but fill you, giving you perfect beatitude; each man comprehends and knows My goodness in the measure in which it is given to him. Thus, then, the obedient man, with the light of faith in the truth burning in the furnace of charity, anointed with humility, inebriated with the Blood, in company with his sister patience, and with self-contempt, fortitude, and enduring perseverance, and all the other virtues (that is, with the fruit of the virtues), receives his end from Me, his Creator."