Today’s Saint

Daily Journey with the Saints

March 27 | Obedience

Saint John of Egypt

A.D. 305–394

To whom are you willing to be obedient?

We are allergic to the very word “obedience” in modern culture. It seems we are obedient only to our own desires. Addicted to comfort and convenience, we reject the very notion of obedience. No wonder we have such a hard time surrendering in obedience to the will of God.

The word obedience comes from the Latin word obedire, which means "to listen deeply." When we listen deeply, we begin to see the wisdom of God’s way.

That’s what we see in Saint John of Egypt’s story.

At the age of twenty-five, John went out into the desert to seek the spiritual guidance of a holy hermit. This hermit had him perform mystifying tasks, such as planting a dry stick in the ground and watering it every day and rolling large rocks from place to place. Perhaps John wondered why on earth this was necessary, but soon he would see how the tasks trained him to be obedient to God.

After the hermit died, John was called by God to a cliff. There, God told him to carve three cells into the rock: one for prayer, one for study, and one for sleep. John obeyed. He left only a small window to the outside world and stayed in his cells for the rest of his life.

The fruits of this radical obedience were astonishing. Crowds would come to see John preach because of his wisdom. He possessed the gift of prophecy and could discern the state of people’s lives without knowing them. His prayer was deep and constant.

Saint John of Egypt lived this life of total obedience until the age of eighty-nine, when he died sitting in a prayer position.

So let me ask you again: To whom are you willing to be obedient? Today, let’s ask God to give us the grace necessary to see obedience as something that is life-giving rather than something oppressive. Let us beg for him to help us listen deeply and trust in the wisdom of his ways, not our own.


I will listen deeply to God today.

This reflection is brought to you from book title.

Also Known As: John the Hermit, John the Anchorite, or John of Lycopolis

Feast Day: March 27

Feast Day Shared By: Saint John of Lycopolis

Image of mountain and man reflecting in the water below.

Get Daily Saint Reflections and More!

Start your day with Saint of the Day, Gospel Reflections, Mass readings, and other inspiration!

Image of woman holding the book the wisdom of the saints

Walk with the Saints

Gain wisdom from some of the greatest men and women who ever lived.