From the Deacon’s Desk:  Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts

This week we hear about a voice that is truer and sweeter, more powerful and strong, steadier than any other voice – the voice of the Good Shepherd – the voice of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He is the Good Shepherd.  Our shepherd into eternity!  From our very birth He begins to call to us.  He is the cornerstone, the stone rejected by the builders.  We all face years which test our faith, our courage and our patience in every way possible.  This past year has been such a year for me.  The one constant in such years is God’s presence – the Good Shepard – evident in so many different ways.  He calls to us if we but listen.  He guides us and encourages us.  Most importantly, he walks beside us, leading by his humility and example, and as we are reminded every Easter season, he sacrificed his life that we might live.  There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are saved!”  “This is the love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God.”

We are reminded in years of testing of our total reliance on God.  They humble us as we recognize that we are nothing without Him and everything with Him.  We are each called to care for one another, but all we do is because of, and through Jesus the one true shepherd.  While in the Holy Land a few years back, I visited with the monks at the Church of the Good Shepherd.  They talked about the life of a shepherd.  They are willing to risk their lives for their sheep.  The sheep come to know and trust the sound of their voice.  They do not lead the sheep, but follow from behind gently guiding and directing them, making sure they do not stray too far off course, and yet also, letting the sheep find their way.  The shepherd has ‘their back’ and is always there for each of them.  This is how Jesus leads us as well.  We are the ministers working for the true Shepard.  We need to let His voice ring out through the work we do in His name!

As Vincentians, we are called to be the presence of Jesus to our neighbors AND ONE ANOTHER. Financial, emotional, medical and family crisis can turn lives upside down.  Patience, compassion and trust in God must be our steadying influences.  As Jesus walks with us, we are called to walk with others listening to their stories and offering them the calm and the hope of our Lord Jesus.  We listen for the guidance of our Shepherd that we might help others find their way in life. We help them to come to know the Good Shepherd and to trust in His will for them.  How do I truly look for His guidance in the decisions I make daily for myself and my neighbors?  How do I bring comfort to those I minister to?  How have I made my ministry even more grounded in prayer as I have been forced to find new pathways?  How do those around me come to see the   Shepherd through my presence?

Lord Jesus, you are the Good Shepherd in whom I trust.  Help me to overcome my fears during this time.  Let me draw ever closer to you in prayer.  Open my ears that I may hear your will for me in all decisions I make.  Give me the courage to hear and share the truth of your words.  Allow me to submit humbly to all you call me to, and all you ask of me.  Allow me to take the time to seek your wisdom, listening constantly that I may not go astray. Give me the grace to spread your calm and your hope to all I encounter. Give me the courage to now step out in renewed faith, engaging with others that we might bring glory and honor to your name. Make my heart burn with the desire to do your will always.  We pray all of this in your name.  Amen

Deacon Mike