Today we begin reading St. Paul's letter to the church in Rome. It is almost inconceivable. When we think of the Church and Rome today, we think of St. Peter's, the Vatican, the Pope, the whole Catholic Church and her history. But when Paul wrote his letter,even he could not have imagined what would happen to that Church for bad and for good over two millennia, eventhough God had told him how far it would go.
He tells us the introduction that he was given grace and apostleship for what appears to be a very simple purpose
the obedience of faith among all nations.
Today we hear obedience and we think, doing as you are told. But in Greek as in Latin, it's meaning is really the step before doing. The word obedience literally means attentive listening.
The "obedience of faith" means to listen attentive in a posture of absolute trust in God. It's harder than it sounds. In Psalm 46 it is put very simply:
Be still and know that I am God.
The truth hidden in this simple phrase is that we can only truly be still, be calm, be at peace, if we know with all our heart that God truly is God. God has this entire universe in his own way under control. Yes, we have free will. Yes, evil exists. But there is no power in the universe equal to or greater than God.
When we truly believe that, then we can be still, and listen.