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Catholic Activity: Teaching Obedience



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The story of St. Francis and the cabbages illustrating the importance of obedience. A great story for parents to use in teaching obedience for the family.


Obedience is something to be learned by all Christians and loved for itself alone for Christ's sake, who was "obedient unto death on the Cross." It is the key to humility. While there is need for us to teach our children to "use their heads," to "reason things out," there is also need to teach them that where obedience to an authority under God is concerned, in all things excepting sin there is no act more meritorious than obedience even when we question the wisdom of the commands we are given. We never lose when we are obedient for the love of God. The "duly constituted authorities" in a child's life are his parents first, after them his teachers, the police officers protecting him, his bus driver, Scout leader, and so forth, and of course in a special way his bishop, his pastor and the other priests of his parish.

Almost everyone knows the story of St. Francis of Assisi, christened Francis Bernadone, the son of a wealthy merchant who expected his boy to win honor and glory for the family name in the wars, then settle down to a life of pleasure and riches as partner in the family business. But Francis fell in love with God and left all things to become a beggar for Christ.

There are many stories about St. Francis; among our favorites is a legend from the friary at Monte Casale. Here every year the brethren plant a cabbage in the garden and let it flower to remind them of the time the saint bade two young brothers plant some cabbage plants upside down. One did, but the other knew better and planted his right side up. St. Francis dismissed the second brother, for, he said, it had been a test of obedience, not of planting cabbages.

Activity Source: Saints and Our Children, The by Mary Reed Newland, P.J. Kenedy & Sons, New York; reprinted by TAN Publishers, 1958