Sunday, April 22, 2018

Good Shepherd Sunday

Great was the desire of the Bridegroom to free and ransom his bride completely from the hands of sensuality and the devil. Like the good shepherd rejoicing and holding on his shoulder the lost sheep for which he has searched along many winding paths (Lk 15:4-5), and like the woman who, having lit the candle and hunted through her whole house for the lost drachma, holding it up in her hands with gladness and calling her friends and neighbours to come and celebrate saying, rejoice with me, and so no (Lk 15:8-9), now, too, that the soul is liberated this loving Shepherd and Bridegroom rejoices. And it is wonderful to see his pleasure in carrying the rescued, perfected soul on hos shoulders, held there by his hands in this desired union. Not only he himself rejoice, but also makes the angels and saintly souls share in his gladness, saying in the words of the Songs of Song; Go forth, daughters od Zion, and behold king Solomon in the crown with which his mother crowned him on the day of his espousal and on the day of the joy in his heart (Sg 3:11). By these words he calls the soul his crown, his bride, and the joy of his heart, and he takes her now in his arms and goes forth with her as the bridegroom from his bridal chamber (Ps 19:5) He refers to all this in the following stanza: The bride has entered the sweet garden of her desire, and she rests in delight, laying on her neck on the gentle arms of her Beloved. (St John of the Cross, Stanza 22)
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