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Submission — A Necessity No One Wants

February 13, 2024

On the Feast of Christ the King, I was contemplating what it means for Christ to be my King. Ultimately, I realized that if I were to say that Christ is my King, it would mean that I submit to him in everything.  There are many aspects of submission. Most people don’t like that word. Most women shutter at the thought of submitting to a man. It means giving up control, taking orders and doing what someone else wants, not what I want. For many women, it feels like an insult, as if it is an indication that I don’t have the intelligence/strength/ability to make decisions for myself. I don’t think we ever consider that submission could be what we want, particularly in our relationship with God and in our marriages.

How could submission be what we want when internal alarms sound off at the prospect?

Trusting in God as Father

stairway to heaven

Historically speaking, when men and women submit to an earthly king, it is because they are obliged to for many different reasons.  Nonetheless, Christ the King wants us to freely CHOOSE submission.  Why? I believe it is because we must trust him in order to bear the fruit in our lives that will make us happy and ultimately lead to the eternal wedding banquet he has waiting for us in heaven.

For a time in my life, it was very difficult to trust God and submit to his will.  Many things had happened in my professional and personal life that were stressful.  Personal and family health issues, along with unresolved conflict and considerable activity in our lives led to many questions left unanswered and some fear of what was to come.  During the worst of it, when I couldn’t really resolve how everything was going to work out in my little head, God spoke to me and said, “Trust me.”  I told God it really wasn’t that simple, and he reassured me that it was. Lack of Trust is an ancient and recurring story.

“Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God’s command. This is what man’s first sin consisted of. All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness” (CCC 397).

Lack of trust was at the root of original sin, and according to the Catechism, has been at the root of every sin since! Adam and Eve did not trust in God as Father.  We live in a broken world. Our relationships are imperfect.  We fear that if we submit to God, or even scarier, another human person, that we will be hurt, walked on, or used. We may know what God is asking of us, but we are afraid. We fear that what He wants us to do will not lead us to happiness.  We may tell God, “I’m too afraid to do what you are asking; I don’t know if I can make myself that vulnerable.”  Sometimes we also convince ourselves that it’s better to not try so as not to fail.

Pride also gets in our way. We tell God “I’ve got this”, “I think I have a better plan” or, “What if I just try this other way that isn’t so hard?” We are like two-year-olds, trying to cross the grocery store parking lot and refusing to take our parent’s hand. God foresees the big trucks that are coming and he’s trying to guide us on the right path, but we must submit to him and obey.  He wants us to be safe and protected, and he can’t show us that if we don’t let him.

The Marriage We are All Called to

What about in marriage? Ephesians 5 says, “Be subject to one another out of reverence to Christ. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord.” Many women have grown up in an age where they have seen terrible spousal, sometimes even abusive relationships.  So, the idea of subjecting themselves to someone who may hurt them is, rightly, rejected. However, this is not the marriage we are called to! Paul instructs husbands to “love their wives as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her.” Christ loved the church with his life, he gave everything for her.  This is a beautiful love, a love that would even accept death. This is the love we are called to.  In the end, we are all, male and female, called to the marriage of the lamb, we are all called to submission and obedience.  We all have to trust God that he knows and wants what’s best for us.  He knows better than we do. We cannot move on to bigger and better things if trust isn’t present.

We have an incredible role model in the Blessed Mother.  Mary was very young and in a culture that was dangerous for women who found themselves pregnant by someone other than their spouse.  And yet, when asked if she would carry the Son of God in her womb, she said yes.  Looking back, knowing history, we may brush aside the enormity of this decision, but it was truly courageous for her to accept the angel Gabriel’s proposal. That decision showed her complete and total trust in God as Father.

When God asked me to trust him, it wasn’t easy. Lots of things were going on around me that I couldn’t control but that had a significant effect on me and my family.  I had to trust him, to stop worrying, to submit and obey what he was asking me to do.  It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. It’s still not easy, but I will say that taking God’s hand and letting him lead me has taken me to places I couldn’t even have imagined when I was trying to do it all on my own. The necessary submission to God’s will leads to the fulfillment of my ultimate desires. So, submission is indeed what I want. 

Mary, Tabernacle of the Lord, Pray for us.

Written by,
Kathleen Cory,
Regional Curriculum Consultant (South) for Ruah Woods Institute



Kathleen Cory