Friday, April 01, 2005

A Good Shepherd

I was reading the Pope's book Rise, Let us Be on Our Way last night, and I came across this passage, which seems appropriate considering the Holy Father's great example during his worsening illness:

The first and most important aspect of the honor due to a bishop lies in the responsibility associated with his ministry.

"A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden" (Matt 5:14). The bishop is always on a mountain, always on a lampstand, visible to all. He must always be aware that whatever happens in his life takes on greater meaning in his community. "And the eyes of all looked intently at him" (cf Luke 4:20). Just as a father shapes the faith of his children primarily by his example of prayer and religious fervor, so also a bishop inspires his faithful by his behavior. That is why the author of the First Letter of Peter begs that bishops be "a living example to the flock" (1 Peter 5:3).

And a paragraph later, the Bishop of Rome goes on to say that:

A bishop is called to personal holiness in a particular way so that the holiness of the Church community entrusted to his care may increase and deepen. It is his responsibility to promote the "universal call to holiness" of which the fifth chapter of the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium speaks.

Please keep the Holy Father in your prayers today.