God: The Shepherd of All

While on retreat recently, I participated in an exercise that had a profound impact on my life. We were asked to find a partner we did not know and then sit facing each other, holding each other’s hands. We were asked to first look into our partner’s eyes and then look down at their hands. We sat this way for about 15 minutes while a mantra “I love you” played quietly.

As I gazed at my partner’s hands I began to “see” hands of people in countries throughout the world, people I did not know, hands of all different shapes, sizes, and skin tones. With each, I thought to myself “I love you.” After several minutes my thoughts flowed to the hands of those who traffic other human beings for profit. In my mind these hands also took on different shapes and hues. I remember hesitating; I knew that I was called to say “I love you” to each of these people also. I also knew that I could only authentically say this by remaining “faithful to the grace of God.” (1 Acts 13:43) My thoughts then moved to the hands of some specific people in the news who I disagreed with or I disliked. I knew that each of these individuals were made in the same image and likeness of our God who shepherds us, and so to each I said, “I love you.”

This Sunday is often referred to as Good Shepherd Sunday. It may serve to remind us (me!) that God reaches out to all people. God is the shepherd of all, even, and perhaps especially, those individuals who plan evil acts, who not just ignore, but who choose to do all they can to mock and to destroy the most vulnerable in our society and world.

Sr. Maryann Mueller, TSSF
FAN Board Member

Suggested Action:
Take time this week in silent meditation of the words, “I love you.” Start to envision all those close to you, ever widening that circle of loved ones to eventually include those you may disagree with and those you may dislike.

Suggested Petitions:
May the God who shepherds us all settle deep in your heart and provide love, mercy, peace, and joy. We pray….
May all those who suffer violence in all it’s forms see the Lord in the eyes and hands of those who advocate with them. We pray…

Collect Prayer:

Almighty ever-living God,
lead us to a share in the joys of heaven,
so that the humble flock may reach
where the brave Shepherd has gone before.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Amen