SME Conference on the Good Shepherd
Excerpts from Chapter 6 of the "Conferences and Instructions of St. Mary Euphrasia Pelletier"
1. " I am the Good Shepherd; I give my life for my sheep."
My dear daughters, during this week we shall reflect together 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 his very life.
My dear daughters, you will 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 our dear flocks. Now, what did Jesus say of himself? “I have come to save the lost.” (Mt 18:11) How did He accomplish that? He followed sinners with a father’s 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 too slow for them, joins in their conversation, suiting Himself to their weakness, the better to teach them and enlighten the darkness of their minds.
2. 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 cared and lead them back to the fold. A difficult task, but great, noble and divine to the eyes of faith. Never be discouraged with 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, words, actions and toils had no other end. Indeed, the wonders he works in our dear girls clearly show how much he longs for their conversion…
3. 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. “You who govern the flock of Israel are just as truly Shepherd.” God tells us by one of his prophets, “Untiringly strengthen the weak, heal the sick, bind up the wounds of the injured, raise up the fallen, search for the lost ones.” Beware of treating them harshly, and ordering them about haughtily. Do remember dear daughters, you will never do any good when you correct unkindly.”