"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me"
O Jesus, Good Shepherd, a shepherd who is truly good, shepherd full of lovingkindness and gentleness, the cry of a poor and wretched shepherd rises up to you: a weak and clumsy shepherd, an unprofitable shepherd (cf. Lk 17:10) and yet, in spite of all, a shepherd of your flock. Yes, Good Shepherd, the cry of this shepherd who is far from being good rises up to you. He cries to you, uneasy for himself, uneasy for your flock… You know my heart, Lord, you know my wish is to spend entirely for those you have entrusted to me all you have given to your servant …, and more than anything, to spend myself for them without counting the cost (2Cor 12:15)… Even you yourself did not disdain to spend yourself for them. Therefore teach me, Lord, even me your servant, teach me through your Holy Spirit how to expend myself for them… By your inexpressible grace grant me, Lord, to bear their weaknesses with patience, to sympathize with kindness, to help them with discretion. May your Spirit’s instruction teach me to console the afflicted, strengthen the fearful, raise up those who fall, to be weak with the weak, to share the shame of those who stumble, to make myself all things to all to gain them all (2Cor 11:29; 1Cor 9:19.22). Put true words on my lips, words that are upright and just so that they may grow in faith, hope and love, in chastity and humility, in patience and obedience, fervor of spirit and purity of heart. Since it is you who have given them this blind guide (Mt 15:14), this ignorant teacher, this incapable leader, teach him whom you have installed as their professor, guide the one you have commanded to guide others.
- Saint Aelred of Rielvaux (1110-1167), Cistercian monk