Don’t neglect your spiritual reading. Reading has made many saints.”
St. Josemaría Escrivá
Be shepherds like the Lord
From a homily by Saint Asterius of Amasea, bishop
Saint Asterius (c.350 - 410) was made Bishop of Amasea between 380 and 390 AD, after having been a lawyer. He was born in Cappadocia and probably died in Amasea in modern Turkey, then in Pontus. Little is known about him, but his lively and vigorous sermons paint a clear picture of the life of the period.
You were made in the image of God. If then you wish to resemble him, follow his example. Since the very name you bear as Christians is a profession of love for men, imitate the love of Christ.
Reflect for a moment on the wealth of his kindness. Before he came as a man to be among men, he sent John the Baptist to preach repentance and lead men to practise it. John himself was preceded by the prophets, who were to teach the people to repent, to return to God and to amend their lives. Then Christ came himself, and with his own lips cried out: Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest.
How did he receive those who listened to his call? He readily forgave them their sins; he freed them instantly from all that troubled them. The Word made them holy; the Spirit set his seal on them. The old Adam was buried in the waters of baptism; the new man was reborn to the vigour of grace.
What was the result? Those who had been God’s enemies became his friends, those estranged from him became his sons, those who did not know him came to worship and love him.
Let us then be shepherds like the Lord. We must meditate on the Gospel, and as we see in this mirror the example of zeal and loving kindness, we should become thoroughly schooled in these virtues.
For there, obscurely, in the form of a parable, we see a shepherd who had a hundred sheep. When one of them was separated from the flock and lost its way, that shepherd did not remain with the sheep who kept together at pasture. No, he went off to look for the stray. He crossed many valleys and thickets, he climbed great and towering mountains, he spent much time and labour in wandering through solitary places until at last he found his sheep.
When he found it, he did not chastise it; he did not use rough blows to drive it back, but gently placed it on his own shoulders and carried it back to the flock. He took greater joy in this one sheep, lost and found, than in all the others.
Let us look more closely at the hidden meaning of this parable. The sheep is more than a sheep, the shepherd more than a shepherd. They are examples enshrining holy truths. They teach us that we should not look on men as lost or beyond hope; we should not abandon them when they are in danger or be slow to come to their help. When they turn away from the right path and wander, we must lead them back, and rejoice at their return, welcoming them back into the company of those who lead good and holy lives.
Credit: Divine Office: Office of Readings; February 25, 2021; https://divineoffice.org/welcome/ Information herein posted under the "rules of fair use" to foster education and discussion in accordance with Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976.
St. Asterius of Amasea
Dr. Italy, Crossroads Initiative
Asterius studied law and the art of public speaking (known as rhetoric) and began a career in law. But the Lord’s call led him to leave behind the bar for the clerical life. He was ordained priest and eventually became bishop of Amasea in Pontus, Asia Minor.
With his expertise in public speaking, it is no wonder that Asterius became famous as a preacher. Twenty-one of his sermons are, in fact, still extant, and they frequently extoll the importance of charity to the poor. They also reveal that the Church in Asia Minor, during the latter part of the 4th century, was already keeping the feasts of Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, and the anniversaries of the martyrs.
Saint Gregory the Great describes this good pastor as overflowing with the Holy Spirit. St. Asterius, who is regarded as one of the Greek Fathers of the Church, died around the year 400 AD. Biography by Dr. Italy.
Credit: Crossroads Initiative; https://www.crossroadsinitiative.com/media/articles/beshepherdslikethelord/
Information herein posted under the "rules of fair use" to foster education and discussion in accordance with Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith.”
cf. Hebrews 12:1-2
Where Peter is, there is the Church. Where the Church is there is Jesus Christ. Where Jesus Christ is, there is eternal salvation.”
Saint Ambrose (340-397 A.D.), Doctor of the Church
“From ancient times the Church has had the custom of celebrating each day the liturgy of the hours. In this way the Church fulfills the Lord’s precept to pray without ceasing, at once offering its praise to God the Father and interceding for the salvation of the world.” — Office of the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship. The Liturgy of the Hours is the prayer of the whole People of God. In it, Christ himself “continues his priestly work through his Church.” His members participate according to their own place in the Church and the circumstances of their lives. The laity, too, are encouraged to recite the divine office either with the priests, among themselves, or individually. The celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours demands not only harmonizing the voice with the praying heart, but also a deeper “understanding of the liturgy and of the Bible, especially of the Psalms.” The hymns and litanies of the Liturgy of the Hours integrate the prayer of the psalms into the age of the Church, expressing the symbolism of the time of day, the liturgical season, or the feast being celebrated. Credit: https://divineoffice.org/liturgy-of-the-hours/
Half an hour’s meditation each day is essential, except when you are busy. Then a full hour is needed.”
Saint Francis de Sales
Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thess 5:16-18
Holy Spirit, Light and Life of my Soul, enliven my prayer life.
Be not afraid! And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always. Holy Family, pray for us. Amen.