What voice do we listen to? Do we listen to the voice of the Shepherd who calls each sheep by name or the voice of the stranger? The Shepherd knows his sheep, loves them, and will give his life for them. The sheep recognize his voice and stay close to him, for his voice is like no other. His voice brings love, mercy, and peace. Yet no matter how close we stay to the Shepherd, sometimes the voice of the stranger becomes overwhelming. It tries to convince us that we are unworthy of God’s love, and that the sins we have committed can never be forgiven. That voice tries to rob us of our peace and our inheritance as beloved children of God.

Today, let us pray for the grace to listen carefully to the voice of the Shepherd so that we “might have life and have it more abundantly”.

—Mary Lou Manion is an intern in the spiritual direction program at Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House, Barrington, IL.