Dictionary.com defines the word "shepherd" as: a person who protects, guides, or watches over a person or group of people. This prompted me to contemplate any "shepherding" I have done in my life thus far. Raising my three daughters, keeping mom's mental health balanced over the years, caring for mom and dad at end of life, the blessing of adding another daughter to the mix when I married Jay all come to mind. And, the clock has reset with the addition of our three grandsons and one granddaughter (so far!). We have opportunities every day to shepherd for Christ. But do we grab those moments when they arise? Or, do we feel inadequate for the job, so we just let it pass by? Ask yourself this question today . . . do I shepherd? If your answer is yes, praise God. If your answer is no, praise God and get to work!
In today's Gospel (John 10:11-18), Jesus defines the importance of guiding others to God:
Jesus said: "I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd. This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father."
In Volume Three, God the Father asks us for our "yes" . . . now:
"My child, for so long I have watched you. In some deep area of your soul, you knew I was there with you. I choose to be more active in your life now. I choose to lead you more directly, if you will allow Me. I want My children to be united with Me, but also with each other. I require a legion of souls who are living in union with Me, their God, and who are responding to My directives. Children, along with My Son, and Mary, his mother, I am giving you every assurance of your welcome. You are being guided in an unprecedented fashion and this guidance will continue. We will shepherd you through all difficulties. Many souls think that they do not have to return to Me now because they will have time later. They procrastinate. Children, this is not what I want. This is not what I am asking of you. I say, Enough. Come to Me now. In order to enter heaven, you must accept Jesus, My Son. You know this. Do this now. Do I ask this of you so that I will have greater glory? Am I a selfish God who seeks My own comfort? Children, surely you know this is not the case. If your God is calling out to you, if your God is sending all manner of signs and warnings, you must assume and understand that your God is trying to spare you difficulty and upset. I want My children at peace. I want My children to be detached from the world, understanding that the heavenly kingdom is their home and their destination. If you are on a journey, a long journey, and suddenly you arrive at your destination, do you not celebrate? Of course you do, children. You do not say, “No thank you, we do not wish to arrive at our goal. We prefer to continue traveling.” The longer and more difficult the journey, the more relieved you feel at its end. Such celebration greets the end of a journey."
Lay apostles, search out opportunities to teach what you have learned over your lifetime so far. There are so many people wandering around without any knowledge of Christ, or misunderstandings when it comes to faith and the Church. Take the time to pass on the Word of God; if you don't feel confident, just start with "Jesus loves you." It has to start somewhere. Let it begin with you.
Thank you, Lord, for Your gentle push to "shepherd" those you place in my life on a daily basis. Help me to achieve Your Will, not my own.