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The beggar on the street, the leper in the hospital, the criminal, the dying patient, the abused child: each of these are reflections of the suffering Christ, each mirrors of the incarnate God.

-from Perfect Joy

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Laying Down Your Life For Your Friends by Henri Nouwen

Good Shepherds are willing to lay down their lives for their sheep (see John 10:11). As spiritual leaders walking in the footsteps of Jesus, we are called to lay down our lives for our people. This laying down might in special circumstances mean dying for others. But it means first of all making our own lives – our sorrows and joys, our despair and hope, our loneliness and experience of intimacy – available to others as sources of new life.

One of the greatest gifts we can give others is ourselves. We offer consolation and comfort, especially in moments of crisis, when we say: “Do not be afraid, I know what you are living and I am living it with you. You are not alone.” Thus we become Christ-like shepherds.

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“We are called to participate in the very nature of God, which is Love.”  — Richard Rohr

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“Therefore, my brother, scorned as you are by men, lashed as it were by God, do not despair. Do not be depressed. Do not let your weakness make you impatient, Instead, let the serenity of your spirit shine through your face. Let the joy of your mind burst forth. Let words of thanks break from your lips.”

— St. Peter Damian

 

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