Today, May 3, 2009, is Vocations Sunday, and the heart of the gospel about our Good Shepherd brings home again the timeless message that I am a sheep and a shepherd in my own little pasture. I am called to tend with the most tender care I can the sheeps within my fold – my family, my co-workers, my friends, my neighbors, and even my “enemies”. Equally, I am called to a humble state of receiving any act of care, no matter how small – a shared viand, a greeting, an assurance of a prayer, shared time, and many others.
Becoming my own shepherd demands learning – learning especially to listen to the Voice who always calls, familiar as a breath yet often taken for granted because it can linger like an athlete’s foot, annoying yet routinely loyal in some sense. But bottomline, the Voice is a call to healing, to a “renewal of the mind”. Becoming my own shepherd is learning to follow the Voice where I am.
It is also learning from the voices who take the risk of following. In my case, the voice of the layman Saint Benedict and of those who recognize the Voice in him. Among the Benedictine voices who guide/d me include those of Trappist monk Fr. Thomas Keating, writer Paul Wilkes, Anglican scholar Esther de Waal, Sister Joan Chittister, and spiritual writer Renee Miller. Shepherds and sheeps in their own ways, worth learning and listening from. The rest of the equally challenging voices are in the kitchen, restroom, slum areas, wet market, congested roads, empty wallets, constipated stomachs, lurid billboards, swimming pools, or empty silent chapels.
Have a blessed Sunday of Vocations…