An Extract of the conference of St M. Euphrasia on the Good Shepherd
"When we fall, Jesus holds us lovingly and graciously, And swiftly raises us.
(Julian of Norwich)
"1 am the Good Shepherd; I give my life for my sheep." My dear daughters, during this week weshall reflect together only on the Good Shepherd. This subject will provide us with ample matter for thought, for Jesus the Good Shepherd is the true model whom we must try to imitate in order to measure up to the holiness of our vocation. He is the divine original we must endeavour to reproduce in our conduct. Because he stooped to make us partners in his work and has put us, so to speak, in his place in the sheepfold where he has gathered in so many unfortunate sheep, we must, on our part, be filled with the spirit of our adorable Master and live with his very life. My dear daughters, You w i l l do no good nor have the spirit of our vocation until you have the thoughts and affections of the Good Shepherd, of whom you must be the living images in the midst of your dear flocks. Now, what did Jesus say of himself? "I have come to save the lost."(Matt. 18.11) How did He accomplish that? He followed sinners with a father'- concern and bore much weariness to lead them back to Him.
Do you remember His wonderful kindness in welcoming Jerusalem's notorious sinner, Magdalen, when she fell at His feet washing them with her tears? Why do you harass this woman? Stop persecuting her!" (Mk. 14:4) See Him, another time, seated by Jacob's well; He is tired and rests awhile. But He is waiting for a soul, waiting to save the Samaritan woman. Watch Him in Jerusalem: a guilty woman, deserving stoning, is dragged before Him. "Let whoever is without sin throw the first stone." (Jn. 8:7) the crowd slinks away.
Gaze at Him after the Resurrection, still the Good Shepherd in search of two sheep who, discouraged and sad. have left Jerusalem, City of Peace, to go to Emmaus, stronghold of confusion. He joins the two disciples who are filled with consternation, their faith reeling; He walks along, going neither too fast nor
"His will is that we should be like Him in holiness, and never-ending love to ourselves and our neighbour. (Julian of Norwich)
There, my dear daughters, is the example you must follow, for you are called to be so many Good Shepherds, imitating the self-denial, the spirit of charity and zeal of Jesus Himself. Like Him you will go to Emmaus in search of runaway sheep, to surround them with the Good Shepherd's care and lead them back to the fold.
A difficult task, but great, noble and divine to the eyes of faith. Never be discouraged at difficulties. God allows us to meet them sometimes to revive our zeal should we be inclined to tepidity. The object of our thoughts, words and actions will be the salvation of our dear sheep, like our Saviour whose thoughts, desires, actions and toil had no other end. Indeed, the wonders he works in our dear girls clearly show how much he longs for their conversion. Be full of zeal, then, to save these souls entrusted to your care. Let that be your life's work. |
This thought must haunt your prayers to make them more fervent, your Communions to arouse holy love, your daily work, to enkindle in you more and more the fire of love and zeal. Don't forget - one must be holy to work effectively for souls, given totally to God, no longer concerned with self nor with things. Jesus has chosen you, he has made you partners in his Mission to all peoples so that you may bear fruit. But what fruit? Fruits of conversion and salvation! That is the way you will attract abundant blessings and graces.The fruit of the Spirit is love, kindness, gentleness and self-control. (cf. Gal. 5:22-23)
Work to become worthy of your wonderful vocation, by a burning, active and alert zeal and a charity without limits, always keeping the Good Shepherd before you as your model.