Monday, 4 January 2016

St. Gregory the Great on the shepherd and the hireling

As we continue as Catholics, who do not celebrate Christmas in November but bask in its glow until Epiphany if not until Purification, I give to you today a little present from a priest who sent it along to me thinking that you might also like to read it. I agree and thank him. 

It is from 'Be Friends of God - Spiritual Reading from Gregory the Great'.  The volume is comprised of excerpts of St Gregory the Great's homilies, selected and translated by John Leinenweber.  The original Latin text of the following selection can be found in Migne's PL 14,1-4 abridged: 1127c-29b... we pick it up part way through that section of the homily:

THE GOOD SHEPHERD (John 10.11-16) 

'But the hireling, who is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees.' 

We can never really know whether someone is a shepherd or a hireling until they are tested.  During times of peace even hirelings frequently stand up and protect the flock like true shepherds.  But when the wolf comes, they then reveal what their intentions were while they were standing as protectors of the flock.  Any rapacious intruder preying upon you, God's people of faith, is a wolf coming upon the sheep.  Those who appeared to be shepherds, but were not, leave the sheep and flee.  While they are afraid of the danger to themselves they don't venture to resist the wrong the intruder is doing.  Their flight isn't physical, but a withholding of help; it is to see the wrong the intruder is doing and to remain silent; it is to hide under the cover of silence.  Addressing people like this, the prophet said:  You have not offered any opposition, nor have you fortified the house of Israel, to hold fast in battle on the day of the Lord.  To offer opposition means to openly denounce any wrongdoing; we hold fast in battle for the house of Israel on the day of the Lord, and fortify it, if we defend innocent believers against the wrongdoing of the wicked with the authority of righteousness.  Since hirelings do none of this, we can say that they flee when they see the wolf coming.   

'And the wolf snatches and scatters the sheep.'  

The wolf comes, and the hireling flees.  The evil spirit tears apart the hearts of believers by tempting them and those holding the place of the shepherd take no responsibility.  Souls perish while they enjoy the prerogatives of their office.  The wolf snatches and scatters the sheep when it carries one off in the dissipation, another in greed and another in pride; it destroys one by anger, stirs up another by envy and trips up another by deceit.  When the devil kills off believers through temptation, he is like a wolf dispersing the flock.  No zeal rouses hirelings against these temptations, no love excites them.  They seek only outward advantages, carelessly allowing internal injury to their flocks.


Ana Milan said...

You could apply these readings to practically all of the present CC leadership and, unfortunately, to Pope Benedict as well for having fled & abandoned us in our hour of greatest need. Even those Cardinals/Bishops who in the past have warned us about PF's radical changes to traditionally accepted doctrine & grave errors in teaching the Catholic faith have been silenced and are watching their backs rather than taking up their yoke as true apostles of Christ and leading His sheep to safety. We are left to struggle on our own as best we can and continue to place our trust in Jesus Christ who is, after all, the true Head of His Church on earth & Saviour of mankind.

We cannot expect anything good to come out of the Vatican as it has become totally Modernist since Vatican II. Obsessed with secular ecumenism they have thrown away the foundations of our faith - Ten Commandments, Sacraments, Liturgy, Catechesis, Tradition etc. The Apostles' Creed no longer applies. It appears they perceive Jesus to be only a prophet and not the Son of God. PF doesn't genuflect at the consecration, is perfectly willing to give Holy Communion to anyone who feels their conscience allows them and anyway ALL can get to Heaven by good deeds so what's the point of being Catholic. The stench of Satan permeates the Vatican & can only be eradicated by exorcism before any good can come out of it e.g. the Consecrations of Russia & France which are so desperately needed.

Barona said...

Thank-you for posting this. One of the greatest temptations is to remain silent.... however, silence is already a choice. One has chosen a side.

Anonymous said...

I have read this passage over and over in the past month, and I can only conclude that Pope Benedict is the hireling. How can he leave the flock to the wolves who have taken over? Imagine if your real father told you, I am retiring. I will pray for you, but I simply will be silent even if I see wolves leading you away from the faith.

Unknown said...

Thank you and the good Priest that passed it on. This so overwhelming. I see so many disturbing things going on daily in the Church. God give us strength and holy understanding. Wisdom to persevere in the True Path. Have Mercy

Anonymous said...

That's fantastic! ***** Where can I get this book?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I think the million dollar question is: What circumstances and which person(s) influenced Pope Benedict XVI to resign?

I cried when he resigned. I still miss him too.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Ana.