On Obedience

St. Paisius Velichkovsky 1722-1794

Divine obedience is something so necessary for the true pleasing Of God, that without it it is not at all possible to please God. Therefore, all-holy obedience was planted by God in three places, in the heavens, in paradise, and on earth: in the heavens, among the heavenly powers; in paradise, in the first-created men; and on earth, in the holy disciples and apostles of the Lord. In all three of these places there appeared the fruit of most blessed obedience, and also the fruit of thrice-cursed disobedience.

In the heavens, all the heavenly powers, remaining by their good will in obedience to God, were vouchsafed, being enlightened by the Holy Spirit, to remain eternally in Him. But the devil, being from the angelic order, by his own free will fell away from obedience, and becoming proud, was cast down from the heavens together with all the fallen-away powers of the same angelic order who freely obeyed his impious counsel; being deprived of the divine light, they became darkness by their own will, and were made eternally enemies of God and of the salvation of right-believing Christians. Behold how the fruit both of obedience and of disobedience was manifested in the heavens.

In paradise, as long as the first-created ones remained in true obedience to God, they took sweet enjoyment in beholding God face to face and in multiform gifts of the Holy Spirit. But when of their own free will, obeying the counsel of the devil and falling away from obedience, they became proud, desiring to be equal to God, then they received the sentence of death from God were banished from paradise, and were the cause of death for the whole human race. And if the Son of God by His obedience unto death to God the Father had not destroyed the disobedience of Adam, there would have remained from the human race no hope at all for salvation from death and eternal perdition. Behold how in paradise, in the first-created ones, the fruit of obedience and of disobedience was shown.

On earth, Christ the Son of God, having come down from heaven not to do His own will but the will of the Father Who sent Him, to Whom He was obedient unto death, the death of the Cross, planted His Divine obedience in His holy disciples and Apostles. Remaining in it even unto death, they were enabled by their preaching to bring the world to the knowledge of God, and now with Christ their Lord and Teacher they reign in the heavens. But the thrice-cursed Judas, who fell away from obedience and in place of the Lord obeyed in all things the devil, fell into despair, hanged himself, and perished eternally with soul and body. Behold how on earth the fruit of obedience and of disobedience was manifested.

The divine obedience, planted by Christ God Himself in His holy disciples, passed over to the holy angelic monastic order, in  which many shone forth like the sun in holy obedience and pleased God perfectly. And, indeed, the whole monastic order is founded upon holy obedience; and in ancient times, whether in the common life, or in the royal way (that is, where two or three are together), or in the deserts, for the greater part they began their life with obedience, and thus by God’s grace they escaped demonic deceptions. (To Maria Petrovna Protasieva. Blessed Paisius Velichkovsky pp. 206-208)