The Obedience of Faith


Now to Him who can strengthen you,
according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ…
to all nations to bring about the obedience of faith… 
(Rom 16:25-26)

…he humbled himself and became obedient unto death,
even death on a cross. (Phil 2:8)


GOD must be shaking His head, if not laughing at His Church. For the plan unfolding since the dawn of Redemption has been for Jesus to prepare for Himself a Bride who is “without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:27). And yet, some within the hierarchy itself[1]cf. The Final Trial have reached the point of inventing ways for people to remain in objective mortal sin, and yet feel “welcome” in the Church.[2]Indeed, God welcomes all to be saved. The condition for this salvation are in the words of Our Lord himself: “Repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15) What a vastly different vision than God’s! What an immense abyss between the reality of what is prophetically unfolding at this hour — the purification of the Church — and what some bishops are proposing to the world!

In fact, Jesus goes even further in His (approved) revelations to Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta. He says that the human will may even produce “good,” but precisely because one’s actions are done in the human will, they fall short of producing the fruit He wishes us to bear.

to do My Will [as opposed to “live in My will”] is to live with two wills in such a way that, when I give orders to follow My Will, the soul feels the weight of its own will which causes contrasts. And even though the soul faithfully carries out My Will’s orders, it feels the weight of its rebellious human nature, of its passions and inclinations. How many saints, although they may have reached the heights of perfection, felt their own will waging war on them, keeping them oppressed? Whence many were forced to cry out:“Who will free me from this body of death?”, that is, “from this will of mine, that wants to give death to the good I want to do?” (cf. Rom 7:24) —Jesus to Luisa, The Gift of Living in the Divine Will in the Writings of Luisa Piccarreta,

Jesus wants us to reign as true sons and daughters, and that means “living in the Divine Will.”

My daughter, living in My Will is the life that most closely resembles the [life of the] blessed in heaven. It is so distant from one who is simply conformed to My Will and does it, faithfully executing its orders. The distance between the two is as far as that of heaven from earth, as far as that of a son from a servant, and a king from his subject. —Ibid. (Kindle Locations 1739-1743), Kindle Edition

How foreign, then, to even propose the notion that we can linger in sin…


Gradualness of the Law: Misplaced Mercy

Without question, Jesus loves even the most hardened sinner. He came for the “sick” as announced in the Gospel[3]cf. Mark 2:17 and again, through St. Faustina:

Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet… I cannot punish even the greatest sinner if he makes an appeal to My compassion, but on the contrary, I justify him in My unfathomable and inscrutable mercy. —Jesus to St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary, n. 1486, 699, 1146

But nowhere in the Scriptures does Jesus ever suggest that we may continue in our sin because we are weak. The Good News is not so much that you are loved but that, because of Love, you can be restored! And this divine transaction begins through baptism, or for the post-baptismal Christian, through Confession:

Were a soul like a decaying corpse so that from a human standpoint, there would be no [hope of] restoration and everything would already be lost, it is not so with God. The miracle of Divine Mercy restores that soul in full. Oh, how miserable are those who do not take advantage of the miracle of God’s mercy! —Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary, n. 1448

This is why the present sophistry — that one may gradually repent of sin — is such a powerful lie. It takes the mercy of Christ, poured out for us in order to re-establish the sinner in grace, and twists it, rather, to re-establish the sinner in his ego. St. John Paul II exposed this still-lingering heresy known as “gradualness of the law”, saying that one…

…cannot, however, look on the law as merely an ideal to be achieved in the future: they must consider it as a command of Christ the Lord to overcome difficulties with constancy. And so what is known as ‘the law of gradualness’ or step-by-step advance cannot be identified with ‘gradualness of the law,’ as if there were different degrees or forms of precept in God’s law for different individuals and situations.Familiaris Consortion. 34

In other words, even though growing in holiness is a process, the decision to break with sin today is always an imperative.

Oh, that today you would hear his voice: ‘Harden not your hearts as at the rebellion.’ (Heb 3:15)

Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one. (Matt 5:37)

In the handbook for confessors, it states:

The pastoral “law of gradualness”, not to be confused with the “gradualness of the law”, which would tend to diminish the demands it places on us, consists of requiring a decisive break with sin together with a progressive path towards total union with the will of God and with his loving demands.  —Vademecum for Confessors, 3:9, Pontifical Council for the Family, 1997

Even for the one who knows he is incredibly weak and may even fall again, he is yet called to approach the “fount of mercy” time and again, drawing grace, in order to conquer sin and grow in holiness. How many times? As Pope Francis said so beautifully at the beginning of his pontificate:

The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms. Now is the time to say to Jesus: “Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you. I need you. Save me once again, Lord, take me once more into your redeeming embrace”. How good it feels to come back to Him whenever we are lost! Let me say this once more: God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy. Christ, who told us to forgive one another “seventy times seven” (Mt 18:22) has given us his example: He has forgiven us seventy times seven. Evangelii Gaudium, n. 3


The Present Confusion

And yet, the above heresy continues to grow in certain quarters.

Five cardinals asked Pope Francis recently to clarify if “the widespread practice of blessing same-sex unions is in accordance with Revelation and the Magisterium (CCC 2357).”[4]cf. October Warning The answer, however, has only created further division in the Body of Christ as headlines across the world blared: “Blessings for same-sex unions possible in Catholicism”.

In response to the cardinals dubia, Francis wrote:

…the reality we call marriage has a unique essential constitution that requires an exclusive name, not applicable to other realities. For this reason, the Church avoids any type of rite or sacramental that might contradict this conviction and suggest that something that is not marriage is recognized as marriage. —October 2, 2023;

But then comes the “however”:

However, in our relationships with people, we must not lose the pastoral charity, which should permeate all our decisions and attitudes… Therefore, pastoral prudence must adequately discern whether there are forms of blessing, requested by one or more persons, that do not convey a mistaken concept of marriage. For when a blessing is requested, it is expressing a plea to God for help, a supplication to live better, a trust in a Father who can help us live better.

In the context of the question — whether “blessing same-sex unions” is permissible — it is clear the cardinals were not asking whether individuals can simply ask for a blessing. Of course they can; and the Church has been blessing sinners like you and me since the beginning. But his response appears to imply that there may be a way to give a blessing to these unions, without calling it marriage — and even suggests that this decision should be made, not by bishops’ conferences, but by priests themselves.[5]See (2g), Hence, the cardinals asked for ruther clarification again recently, but no reply has been forthcoming  Otherwise, why not simply repeat what the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith already clearly stated?

…it is not licit to impart a blessing on relationships, or partnerships, even stable, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage (i.e., outside the indissoluble union of a man and a woman open in itself to the transmission of life), as is the case of the unions between persons of the same sex. The presence in such relationships of positive elements, which are in themselves to be valued and appreciated, cannot justify these relationships and render them legitimate objects of an ecclesial blessing, since the positive elements exist within the context of a union not ordered to the Creator’s plan. — “Responsum of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to a dubium regarding the blessing of the unions of persons of the same sex”, March 15, 2021;

Put simply, the Church cannot bless sin. Therefore, whether it is heterosexual or “homosexual” couples engaged in “sexual activity outside of marriage,” they are called to make a definitive break with sin in order to enter or re-enter into union with Christ and His Church.

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:13-16)

No doubt, depending upon how complex their relationship and involvement is, this may require a difficult decision. And this is where the sacraments, prayer, and pastoral compassion and sensitivity are indispensable.  

The negative way to view all of this is a mere command to conform to rules. But Jesus, rather, extends it as an invitation to be His Bride and enter into His divine life.

If you love me, you will keep my commandments… I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. (John 14:15, 15:11)

St. Paul calls this conformity to God’s Word the “obedience of faith,” which is the first step toward growing in that holiness that will indeed define the Church in the next era… 

Through him we have received the grace of apostleship, to bring about the obedience of faith… (Rome 1:5)

…his bride has made herself ready. She was allowed to wear a bright, clean linen garment. (Rev 19:7-8)



Related Reading

Simple Obedience

The Church On a Precipe – Part II


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1 cf. The Final Trial
2 Indeed, God welcomes all to be saved. The condition for this salvation are in the words of Our Lord himself: “Repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15)
3 cf. Mark 2:17
4 cf. October Warning
5 See (2g), Hence, the cardinals asked for ruther clarification again recently, but no reply has been forthcoming