My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord,
I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27)
A painting hung in the school corridor of my first grade building. The Good Shepherd. The 1980's Jesus had a touch of a mullet and very blonde hair. He hung a lumpy gray sheep all casual like over his neck, while a little black sheep's neck was nestled in the crook of his staff. The flock behind Him fed happily on sparse weeds in a dirt patch. This Bible verse etched beneath his sandaled toes. I thought it was the most inspirational painting in the world.
The sheep followed Him, with the notable exception of the one who was trying to get away. He knew them all, the fat and thin, the burley and scrawny, the white, gray, and black. He knew those super fly sheep and they were going to hang with Him.
The readings for today are chockfull of richness, beauty, and big lessons, and yet I just can't move past the simplicity of the Gospel antiphon. He knows me; He knows you; He knows everything.
What if I want to hide from Him like that little black sheep? What about the times of my life I don't want to be known? I'd like to sin in private, please. I'd like to shut the pantry door and be a glutton with the chocolate chips. I'd like to sit on the phone and complain about anything, everything, just because it feels good to pass out judgments and gossip. I'd like to ignore my kids and indulge myself.
And yet, I want to follow Him. I do want to follow His teachings. I do want to choose the better path and be with Him in Heaven. But what do I want more? To hear Him and follow Him? Or to hide? Depends on the day, sisters. Depends on the hour.
I'm going to remember that Jesus knows me even in my darkest places. He still wants me along with those retro-sleep sheep. In my ugliest, He wants me to follow Him. Before I fall asleep at night, I've added a new prayer: Lord, help me choose You in every little way.
If you're struggling to hear God's voice and follow it, ask for the graces, hour by hour, day by day. Get to Mass and Adoration. Pray your Hail Marys. Ask and He'll help us both!
Nell O’Leary is Managing Editor for Blessed is She as well as a recovering lawyer married to her law school love. They live with their four kiddos in the great city of Saint Paul, Minnesota. She can down a iced chai tea latte in no time flat. Blogging about natural parenting and sewing organic baby textiles are her sanity. Find out more about her here.