Saint Josemaria
Quotations from Saint Josemaria

The Good Shepherd

Tags: Spiritual guidance, Church
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber; but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers…
Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep…
If any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture…
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep
(Jn 10:1-11).

I remember, many years ago now, I was going along a road in Castile with some friends, when we noticed something in a field far away which made a deep impression on me at the time and has since often helped me in my prayer. A group of men were hammering some wooden stakes into the ground, which they then used to support netting to form a sheep pen. Then shepherds came along with their sheep and their lambs. They called them by their names and one by one lambs and sheep went into the pen, where they would be all together, safe and sound.

Today, Lord, my thoughts go back particularly to those shepherds and their sheepfold, because all of us who are gathered here to converse with you – and many others the world over – we all know that we have been brought into your sheepfold. You yourself have told us so: I am the Good Shepherd. I know my sheep and my sheep know me. You know us well. You know that we wish to hear, to listen ever attentively to your gentle whistling as our Good Shepherd, and to heed it, because eternal life is knowing you, who are the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

The image of Christ with his sheep at his right and left means so much to me that I had it depicted in the oratory where I normally celebrate Holy Mass. Elsewhere, as a reminder of God’s presence, I have had engraved Jesus’ words, cognosco oves meas et cognoscunt me meae (I know my sheep, and my sheep know me), to help us consider constantly that he is at our side, reproaching us, instructing us and teaching us as a shepherd does with his flock. The Castilian scene I have recalled is very much to the point.
Friends of God, 1

Christ has given his Church sureness in doctrine and a flow of grace in the sacraments. He has arranged things so that there will always be people to guide and lead us, to remind us constantly of our way. There is an infinite treasure of knowledge available to us: the word of God kept safe by the Church, the grace of Christ administered in the sacraments and also the witness and example of those who live by our side and have known how to build with their good lives a road of faithfulness to God...
The holiness of Christ’s Spouse has always been shown – as it can be seen today – by the abundance of good shepherds. But our Christian faith, which teaches us to be simple, does not bid us be simple?minded. There are hirelings who keep silent, and there are hirelings who speak with words which are not those of Christ. That is why, if the Lord allows us to be left in the dark even in little things, if we feel that our faith is not firm, we should go to the good shepherd. He enters by the door as of right. He gives his life for others and wants to be in word and behavior a soul in love. He may be a sinner too, but he trusts always in Christ’s forgiveness and mercy.
Christ is Passing By, 34

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