Dear brothers and sisters, Fiat!
The Gospel presents to us one of the most beautiful images that has portrayed the Lord Jesus since the earliest centuries of the Church: the Good Shepherd. The text describes the special features of the relationship between Christ the Good Shepherd and His flock, a relationship so close that no one will ever be able to snatch sheep from His hand. Indeed, the sheep are united to Him by a bond of love and of reciprocal knowledge, which guarantees to them the immeasurable gift of eternal life.
At the same time, the flock’s attitude to the Good Shepherd, Christ, is presented by the Evangelist with two specific verbs: “to listen” and “to follow”. These terms suggest the fundamental characteristics of those who live out the following of the Lord.
First of all by listening to His word, from which faith is born and by which it is nurtured. Only those who are attentive to the Lord’s voice can assess in their own conscience the right decisions for acting in accordance with God. Thus the following of Jesus derives from listening: we act as disciples only after hearing and inwardly accepting the Master’s teachings in order to put them into practice every day.
On June 12, 1927, Jesus told Luisa that one who wants to know all the relations existing between Creator and creature, and to keep their bonds in force, must let the Divine Will reign within herself with absolute dominion. In fact, since the life of the Divine Will is present in all Creation, she will form one single life for all created things, and since the life is one, she will understand their language and the relations existing with her Creator. Each created thing speaks of its Creator, and possesses the legible characters of the Divine Fiat.
But do you know who it is that is capable of hearing their voice, of understanding their celestial speaking, and of reading the divine characters which each created thing has imprinted within itself? One who possesses the Divine Will. She has the hearing to be able to listen to their voice, the intelligence to comprehend them, the eyes to read the divine characters which, with so much love, her Creator impressed within each created thing. On the other hand, one who does not let the Divine Will reign, finds herself in the condition of one who is deaf and cannot listen, of one who is a cretin and cannot comprehend, of one who has not studied the variety of languages, and as much as one may speak, he understands nothing.
In the same way, in order to maintain the relations existing between Redeemer and redeemed ones, and to know them, one must study Jesus’ life. Each of His words, works, steps, heartbeats and pains were all bonds with which Jesus came to bind all the redeemed ones. But who is bound? One who studies His life and tries to imitate Him. As she imitates Jesus, she remains bound to His words, works, steps, etc., receives their life, and will have the hearing to be able to listen to all His teachings, the mind to comprehend them, and the eyes to read all the characters impressed within Him in coming to redeem mankind. And if the creature does not do this, the characters of Redemption will be illegible for her; it will be a foreign language for her, and the relations and bonds of Redemption will not be in force. The Holy Spirit puts His flames on the way toward one who truly loves, and binds her with the relations of His sanctity. Without love there is no sanctity, because the bonds of true sanctity are already broken.
On this Sunday, therefore, it comes naturally to remember to God the pastors of the Church and those who are training to become pastors. I therefore invite you to say a special prayer for the bishops, for the parish priests, for all those who have responsibilities in the guidance of Christ’s flock, so that they may be faithful and wise in carrying out their ministry. In particular, let us pray for vocations to the priesthood on this World Day of Prayer for Vocations, so that effective workers in the Lord’s harvest may never be lacking.
In these times too, in which the Lord’s voice risks being drowned by so many other voices, every ecclesial community is called to promote and to care for vocations to the priesthood and to the consecrated life. Men and women in fact always need God, also in our technological world, and there will always be a need for Pastors who proclaim His Word and bring them to encounter the Lord in the sacraments.