How do we recognize the voice of the shepherd? Sullivan McCormick, SJ, reflects on discerning the different voices that we might hear in our head in this week’s One-Minute Homily. Based on the readings for Sunday, July 18, 2021.
How do we know the voice of the shepherd?
Hi, I’m Br. Sullivan McCormick and this is my One-Minute Reflection.
Amidst the countless voices in our head, which voices are of God? Today’s Gospel verse after the Alleluia encapsulates a theme in the readings: the guidance of the shepherd. The verse says, “My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me.”
There’s another voice that we might hear from time to time and St. Ignatius calls that the evil spirit. I experienced this voice when I was on an 8-day retreat before I entered the Jesuits. While praying I heard, “you have prayed well throughout this retreat, but you could never maintain that amount of prayer every day as a Jesuit.” This highlights the primary characteristic of the evil spirit’s voice: discouragement. On the contrary, St. Ignatius tells us that when we are moving from good to better in the spiritual life, the good spirit gives us strength and courage. In this context, we know the voice of the shepherd when we experience the voice of encouragement.