Virtue of the Week; Obedience

posted Dec 17, 2012, 9:50 AM by rthompson@stjohnsacademysf.org
This week at St. John's Academy we are looking closely at the real
meaning of the virtue of obedience.  Just as the virtue of humility is
often confused with humiliation, so the virtue of obedience is often
mistaken for the vice of abject submission, or, worse, total
subjugation (such a vice is admired as a virtue in Mohammedan
civilization, for example, where the word "Islam" literally means
"submission").

A closer look at the etymology of the word "obedience" reveals its
true meaning as the action by which we become totally open to the
wishes, needs and desires of our neighbor.  The English word "obey"
comes from the Latin "obedire, oboedire" which can mean "to be
subject, serve" but more importantly "to pay attention to, give ear
literally to ' listen to' from ob "to" (see ob-) + audire "listen,
hear". In a state of true obedience, we are attentively waiting upon
the words and wishes of another out of Christian agape, not slavish
duty.  Obedience, then, is love incarnate.

Speaking of "listening", I would like to remind all teachers, once
again, to take some time to listen to the wonderful psalms and poems
which our children have spend so much time and attention committing to
memory.  Please remember to test and grade poems and psalms in all of
your classes, especially in classes of Religion, History, English,
Speech and other subjects in the Humanities.  The psalms and poems are
a school-wide requirement.  Students should be evaluated based upon
their memorization, recitation, and general knowledge of the
corresponding trimester's psalms and poems in EVERY class, at EVERY
grade level.  Now that we are nearing the end of of the third
trimester, I will be actively verifying how well students have been
assimilating their psalms and poems, which should be repeated,
recited, and discussed as frequently as possible.  This is fundamental
component of a classical education. I fervently ask all teachers to
take a few minutes before the start of EVERY class period - no matter
what the subject (even Math, Science, PE, Art, and other disciplines)
- to help your students refresh their memories of their psalms and
poems. Your co-operation in this area is greatly appreciated.

St. Nicholas Day is on Wednesday, 19 December.  We will celebrate the
Divine Liturgy in the lower chapel at 8 AM, after which regular
classes will be in session. Due to the Liturgy that morning, the staff
lunch scheduled for Wednesday, 19 December will be postponed until the
following Wednesday, 26 December (the day we return from the four-day
weekend for the Revised Julian Christmas).

May we all attend to one another's needs - not out of fear, but out of
voluntary love and warmth of heart!

Obediently yours,

Seraphim Winslow
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