Rorate Caeli

Feed the sheep whom I bought with my Blood

Zurbarán
Saint Peter appears to Saint Peter Nolasco
The Lord rises from the dead and appears to His disciples. Peter thus sees full of life the One whose death he had dreaded. He realizes not that the Savior was subjected to death, but that in His person death itself was subjected to death. Convinced from this moment by the very example of the risen Lord that death was not something to be feared, he learns to love.

He has the need to love, now that he sees the Lord living after His death; he loves accordingly, he loves in a sure way, sure because he can now follow Him. Therefore, the Lord asks him: "Peter, do you love me?" —  "I love you, Lord," he responds.  As proof of your love, I do not ask you to die for me - I am the one who died for you. What is it then? "Do you love me?" How will you prove to me that you love me? "Do you love me?  —  I love you.  — Feed my sheep."

The Lord repeats himself, twice and thrice: love is thrice confirmed, because fear had thrice denied. ... But after having charged Peter with the care of His sheep, and after having charged Himself of Peter along with His sheep, the Savior predicts Peter's passion. ... You see that one of the duties of the one who is called to feed the sheep of the Lord is to not refuse to die for them.

The good shepherd is the one who gives his life for his sheep. Feed my sheep: whom does He trust with His sheep? Those who are well disposed to take charge of them, or those who are not? And, first of all, who are these sheep that He cares for? Precious sheep, for He bought them not with gold or silver, but with blood. If the owner of a flock wished to entrust it to his servant, he would certainly ask himself if the assets of my servant would be enough to cover the price of the sheep, and he would say: if he loses them, waste them, eats them, he will have the means to pay for them. Finding an assurance in his worthy servant and verifying that the assets of the servant would cover the value of those sheep he bought with his resources, he would then deliver his flock. 

Has not Our Lord Jesus Christ also bought with the price of His blood the sheep that He delivers to His servant? That is why He finds the worthiness of His servant in the blood of his passion.  It is as if He told him: Feed my sheep, I trust you with my sheep. Who are these sheep? Those whom I bought with My Blood. I have died for them - do you love Me? Then you must also die for them.  If a master's servant came to lose his flock, he would pay it back with money. Peter gave his blood for the preservation of the Lord's flock.

Saint Augustine
Sermon on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul [Sermon 296]

3 comments:

Long-Skirts said...

St. Augustine said:

"...whom does He trust with His sheep? Those who are well disposed to take charge of them" (St. Peter & Paul, ora pro nobis)

(a tale of two Shepherds)

OF
SEDUCERS
AND
TRAD…ucers

Time delayed…
But Holy hope!
The sixty’s seducers
Are known by the +Pope.

Stiffed-necked men
Won’t serve, obey –
Sure of their slander
Defame +Fellay.

The two extremes -
They both reduce
Their holy inheritance
To less than a deuce…

But what their inheritance?
The True Faith they deduce -
For their Shepherd-less rites!
Both…Tradition traduce.

LeonG said...

Francisco de Zurbaran's style is Caravaggesque in its realistic use of chiaroscuro and tenebrism. His other paintings are usually harsher and more austere: St Francis meditating and St Luke illustrate this better. I have always been fascinated by this one.

St Peter, our first pope, sanctified by Our Blessed Lord with all his human frailties inspires St Peter Nolasco as he inspires us. The threefold invocation of love through obedience is deeply removing reminding us that in spite of a subsequent threefold betrayal of His Master, God's forgiveness is even greater than this.
If The Lord can perform such acts as these how much more should we forgive each other? Should we not be humbler yet?

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

St. Peter, pray for us. said...

Speaking of feeding His sheep...I checked comments on LifeSiteNews yesterday in the aftermath of the betrayal by Judge Roberts. Non-Catholics rightly put the blame on the bishops and the pope for not punishing the public sinners like Pelosi and Sebellius. They said with much disappointment that without the willingness to do that they consider that the Church and the pope are just "bs". These comments were by people who truly wanted to see action out of the Church and had they done so these people may well have become Catholic. You see it all the time.

So not only do these shepherds not feed His sheep, but the potential sheep, because they watch the Flock being starved, are driven away.