Love is Our Vocation
Today is known as Good Shepherd Sunday and is also called Vocations Sunday. The idea of vocation is central to the Christian belief that God has created each person with gifts and talents oriented toward specific purposes and a way of life. In the broadest sense,
‘Love is the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being.’
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2392
A shepherd is a common image of leadership in Hebrew scripture. In Jesus, we see that it’s about the loving relationship between the shepherd and the sheep. It is about knowing each one by name, knowing who we truly are. Whatever our life circumstances, love is our vocation. Whether we shepherd one other individual, a small group or a large community, ‘we are called to be a Sacrament of the mystical, a reminder for others of their divine loveliness. Our calling is not to introduce something new, but to reveal what is already there.’
Daniel O’ Leary
John O’ Donohue offers a blessing on our vocation to loving leadership. The beauty of a blessing, he says, is the belief that it can affect what it unfolds.
May the gift of leadership awaken in you as a vocation,
Keep you mindful of the providence that calls you to serve.
When the way is flat and dull in times of grey endurance,
May your imagination continue to evoke horizons.
May you know the wisdom of deep listening, the healing of wholesome words,
The encouragement of the appreciative gaze, the decorum of held dignity.
May you learn to cultivate the art of presence
In order to engage with those who meet you. May those you meet know that you see and respect them.
In your heart may there be a sanctuary for the stillness where clarity is born.
May you have the wisdom to read time clearly
And know when the seed of change will flourish.
May the new draw its enrichment from the old.
May integrity of soul be your first ideal.
The source that will guide and bless your work.
Gospel John 10.11-18
Jesus said: ‘I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd is one who lays down his life for his sheep. The hired man, since he is not the shepherd and the sheep do not belong to him, abandons the sheep and runs away as soon as he sees a wolf coming, and then the wolf attacks and scatters the sheep; this is because he is only a hired man and has no concern for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep. And there are other sheep I have that are not of this fold, and these I have to lead as well. They too will listen to my voice, and there will be only one flock and one shepherd.
The Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me; I lay it down of my own free will, and as it is in my power to lay it down, so it is in my power to take it up again; and this is the command I have been given by my Father.’