Day 6 Admonition
Of Perfect and Imperfect Obedience.
Here is the text
“If, however, a superior command anything to a subject that is against his soul it is permissible for him to disobey, but he must not leave him [the superior], and if in consequence he suffer persecution from some, he should love them the more for God’s sake. For he who would rather suffer persecution than wish to be separated from his brethren, truly abides in perfect obedience because he lays down his life for his brothers.(See John 15. 13) For there are many religious who, under pretext of seeing better things than those which their superiors command, look back and return to the vomit of their own will.(See Prov. 26 11) These are homicides and by their bad example cause the loss of many souls.”
What might a Superior have commanded any brother to do that was against that brother’s conscience? I can’t begin to think, can you? It is on these occasions only that the brothers were permitted to disobey their Superiors. Yet they must not leave them!
Rather they must admonish the Superior, remind them of their true self and their duties and persuade them that whatever the course of action it is not the one to take.It is not quite clear whether the persecution arises because of disobedience to the Superior or for abiding with the Superior, for whichever reason, Francis holds it out as an example of laying down one’s life for ones brothers.
It is here that ‘perfect obedience’ dwells:”For he who would rather suffer persecution than wish to be separated from his brethren, truly abides in perfect obedience because he lays down his life for his brothers.(See John 15. 13)”
Francis accuses those that do leave of murder because they set their own souls before the Order and since they are not willing to lay down their lives for their brothers it is as though they had killed them? He uses the term ‘return to the vomit of their own will’See Prov. 26:11
Saint Francis of Assisi, The Writings of Saint Francis of Assisi, newly translated into English with an Introduction and Notes by Father Paschal Robinson (Philadelphia: The Dolphin Press, 1906). 09/09/2015. http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/1172#lf0535_footnote_nt100_ref