Multicolored images and symbols of the Good Shepherd have appeared throughout the ages from catacombs to the internet from the imagination of artists.
Across the field from the Formation House in Guatemala there are sheep grazing and young girls and women shepherding them. This pastoral scene challenges us to reflect on who shepherds today? As disciples of Jesus are we not all, women, girls, men, boys, called to shepherd — to guide, to care for, to protect, to stand in front of danger, to sacrifice, to soothe through music, art, good humor and to love each one called by name?
We look around at so much darkness; yet we are still in the Paschal Season that tells us Christ the Light has conquered death and new life is present. With resurrection eyes we see that light in: families in quarantine (sheepfold?) doing their best to hold together, teachers and entertainers on line sharing knowledge and joy, health professionals courageously ministering to the sick and seeking cures, manufacturers, transporters of needed supplies and communication media, service people from military, police, fire personnel to sanitation workers, cleaning and maintenance staff and so many more volunteers all over the world.
Goodness and kindness abound, and Charity rises!
Elizabeth Seton loved Psalm 23, as it brought her comfort through many trying times. She prayed: “Blessed be my precious shepherd. I am at rest within the fold, sweetly refreshed with the waters of comfort.”
Let us pray our own Psalm 23 in this, our hour of need:
Give rest to the weary in service of others.
May healing waters refresh them.
Guide those in leadership and authority to choose
right paths to wholeness of spirit and wellness of body.
As we walk through this dark valley, may we have no fear
but be courage.
Anoint all who have died and receive them into the dwelling of your house.
Console all who mourn them with goodness and kindness all the days of their life.
– Sr. Nora Cunningham, SC
Sr. Nora is currently Novice Director for the Sisters of Charity in Guatemala. Previously she served as a Councilor on the Congregation’s leadership team and in pastoral ministry and adult faith formation at the South Bronx Pastoral Center and in Sullivan County, N.Y.