Theology of the Heart: Wisdom of the heart- St. Claude de la Colombiere

Our Good Shepherd
St. Claude de la Colombiere
From the Office of Readings, Apr. 24

What does amaze me is that God should be so affected when we stray. He knows quite well that we are nothing, and suffers no real loss when we break away from him. Yet he shows profound grief at our separation and makes every effort to win us back. Nor is that mere fantasy; it is the teaching of the Gospel and of Jesus Christ himself.

Would you care to know what the Savior of the world feels every time you lose the grace of God? He is distressed to the very depths of his soul; he is as troubled as a poor shepherd who has lost one of his sheep, or a poor woman who mislays one of the ten gold coins that are all her worldly wealth. The Son of God uses these two comparisons to make us understand his own sorrow at losing us.

Imagine the desolation of the poor shepherd whose sheep has gone astray. The entire countryside resounds with the cries of the unfortunate man; neglecting the rest of his flock, he runs through woods and over hills, combing thickets and undergrowth, lamenting and shouting at the top of his voice. He cannot bring himself to give up until he has found his lost sheep and brought it back to the fold. That is how the Son of God acted. When disobedient humanity had escaped from the creatorís guidance, the Son of God came down to earth and spared neither toil nor trouble to restore us to the position from which we had fallen. He still does the same thing daily for those who have strayed from him through sin. He follows their trail, so to speak, calling them again and again until he succeeds in getting them back on the road to salvation. And indeed, if he had not taken such care of us, our fate as you know would have been sealed after the first mortal sin. We could never have recovered from it. It is he who must make all the advances, who must offer us his grace, pursue us and beg us to take pity on ourselves; otherwise we should never think of asking him for mercy.

Godís ardor in pursuing us is no doubt born of his very great mercy. But the gentleness with which he exercises that zeal shows an even more wonderful kindness. Despite his intense desire to win us back he never uses force, but only the gentlest of ways. I find no sinner in the entire Gospel story who was induced to repent by anything other than gentleness and kindness.



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