Rorate Caeli

Francis: importune us to "give you the milk of grace, of doctrine and of leadership"!

May the Lord help us shepherds always to be faithful to the Master and wise and enlightened guides of the people of God entrusted to us. I also ask you, please, help us to be good pastors. Once I read something beautiful about how the people of God help bishops and priests be good shepherds. It is a text of St. Caesarius of Arles, a father of the first centuries of the Church. He explains how the people of God must help the shepherd and gave the following example. When the calf is hungry, he does to the cow, to the mother, to get milk. The cow, however, does not immediately give it to him: it seems that she is keeping it for herself. And what does the calf do? He knocks against the cow’s udder with his head so that the milk comes out. It is a beautiful image! “So you too,” the saint says, “must be like this with the shepherds. Always knock at their door, at their heart, so that they give you the milk of doctrine, the milk of grace and the milk of leadership.” And I ask you, please, to importune the shepherds, to disturb them, all of us shepherds, so that we can give you the milk of grace, of doctrine and of leadership. Importune [us]! Think of that beautiful image of that calf, how he importunes the mother so that she gives him something to eat.

In imitation of Jesus, every Shepherd “will sometimes go before his people, pointing the way and keeping their hope vibrant. At other times, he will simply be in their midst with his unassuming and merciful presence. At yet other times, he will have to walk after them, helping those who lag behind” (“Evangelii gaudium,” 31). May all shepherds be like this! But you must importune the shepherds, so that they give you the guide of doctrine and grace.

May 11, 2014

Photo: Ordination in St. Peter's Basilica, May 11, 2014. Source