MEDITATION For The Third Sunday After Pentecost: Of The Pastor, Which Sought For The Lost Sheep THE II. POINT.
THE II. POINT.
Having found the lost sheep, he layette it upon his shoulders rejoicing and coming home, calleth together his friends, and neighbors, saying unto them. Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep, which was lost.
1. The first shall be to ponder, what St. Matthew saith, proposing another parable like unto this Si contigerit, ut inueniat eam. And if it happen that he find it: because some sheep do so loose themselves, that notwithstanding Christ doth seek them, he doth not find them: not for want of diligence on his behalf, but because they fly from him, and do his Master did very much for to recall him.
O most sweet Pastor, I have erred like a lost sheep, seek thy servant before he perish. Give not over to seek me, though I of myself do fly from thee, and with Adam do hide me. Cease not to call me, although I resist and contradict thee, as did Cain: take pity on my peril, and multiply thy helps until thou find me, and bring me back, to the fold of thine elect, with whom I may enjoy thee, forever and ever, Amen.
2. The second shall be to ponder, the immense charity of this divine Pastor, who encountering with the sheep, did not strike him with his staff, nor did not hale him along by the heels, but with great joy laid him upon hi shoulders, & brought him to his flock: which is to show us, that he treateth sinners, with great love and with singular clemency, to the end to convert them, not bringing them back by force, chastisements, and blows like slaves, but of their own accord and free will, altered and renewed, by his holy grace; Neither leaveth he them to go, upon their own feat; & because they cannot of themselves alone, walk one step in the way of heaven, he serveth them himself instead of eyes, conferring unto them the light of faith, and of celestial wisdom: he serveth them instead of feet, directing their steps, and affections for fear least they stray, and forsake the law of almighty God: he serveth them for hands, assisting them is all their good works: he layette them upon his shoulders, for that he aideth them with sweetness, to support the burdens of this life: and payeth for them the debt of their sins, in applying unto them his satisfaction and his merits.
O most loving Pastor, what shall I render unto thee, for so many favors, and kindness, as thou hast done me? how shall I not serve thee with a right good will, and take up thy yoke, and burden upon my shoulders, since thou takes up me upon thine own? With great reason sayest thou, that thy yoke is sweet, and thy burden light, since so thou helpest me to beare the same. I will therefore beare it with great alacrity, for the pure love of thee, since that bearing me, thou likewise nearest the burden, which thou hast imposed upon me, Amen.
3. Ponder thirdly, how far the charity of our sovereign Pastor, extendeth itself, who not only rejoice to find these sheep, and that sinners are converted, but also invited all the Angels of heaven, the just upon earth, and all the inhabitants of his house, both of the triumphant and militant Church, to rejoice and congratulate him, for having recovered the sheep that was lost.
O most loving Father, this congratulation, ought to be given unto the sheep, for that it importeth her that she be found, but yet thou wilt, that we give this congratulation unto thee, because the sheep is thine, & hath cost so dear to seek her out and, to recover her. I therefore (o my Lord) do congratulate thee in the behalf of those sinners, whom by thy grace, thou hast recovered forth of sin, and do joy of the joy, which thou takes therein: grant unto all those which are now in this world, that they convert themselves, that I may give thee a thousand congratulations, and rejoice in the joy which thou receives in their conversions, Amen.
Venerable Luis de la Puente