Thursday, November 4, 2010

Memorial For St. Charles Borromeo - My Evening Prayer Reflection

"God’s flock is in your midst; give it a shepherd’s care”

Today we remember St. Charles Borromeo. He was born in 1538. As a young man, he was made a Cardinal and later on Archbishop of Milan. He achieved these positions of honor the old fashioned way, his uncle was the Pope, Pius IV. Still, he was very talented man; he had some influence in the closing days of the Council of Trent; he was a reformer in his Archdiocese. He visited his parishes; he established colleges and seminaries to train his clergy. When plague struck Milan, he visited the sick, set up hospitals and hospices saw to it that the poor were cared for. In every way he was a true shepherd for his people. Worn out by his work, he died in 1584.

“God’s flock is in your midst; give it a shepherd’s care”

Fast forward a few centuries, a young priest who was the secretary of the bishop of Bergamo, a diocese linked to Milan, came across the letters of Charles Borromeo. He undertook the task of organizing, studying, and publishing those letters. This was a project that he would be involved in for many, many years, even when he was called into the papal diplomatic service. Inspired by Charles Borromeo, this now bishop and diplomat, wherever he was posted, he was a pastor to the Catholic community there, large or small. He was a shepherd first and a diplomat second. He finally finished the last volume of Borromeo letters in 1957; in 1958 he was elected Pope, and chose the name John.

“God’s flock is in your midst; give it a shepherd’s care”

We, who hope to be future deacons, are called to assist the Archbishop in shepherding this Christian community, helping to care for it. Remember what St. Peter said, God’s flock is in our midst, the people we are to care for, to help pasture, are all around us, in our families, our workplaces, on the streets. At any moment, in any place, we may the opportunity to provide a shepherd’s care.

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