“Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.”
Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate.
Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
The word ‘recognize’ comes from the Latin re and cognoscere which together mean ‘to know again.’ We recognize melodies and voices because they were already within us and some experience helped them resurface. Jesus assures us that, among the cacophony, we recognize his voice. We attune to it because it lives within us. Miraculously, the Good Shepherd’s voice is written on our hearts.
Yet, with numerous competing voices, recognizing Jesus’ voice often requires further reflection. Ignatian discernment helps us hone in on daily experiences that harmonize with God voice within us.
The Examen prayer – Ignition discernment’s core practice – helps bring God’s voice to the surface. In the Examen, we reflect on the ‘voices’ we heard throughout the day, in relationships, in art, and in nature.
The Good Shepherd speaks through people and experiences that bring clarity, a sense of meaning, or lasting peace.
Where have you recognized Jesus’ voice today?
—Nick Rennpage is a Theology teacher and the director of Adult Formation and Mission Integration at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy
—A version of the daily ExamenPlease share the Good Word with your friends!