Sunday, 13 October 2013

Our Lady, The Good Shepherdess

"The Good Shepherdess", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013


Recently, I came across some drawings of Our Lady with a lamb. The best know of these images shows Our lady holding both her young son as well as a lamb in her arms.  While this painting is quite lovely, I find that it bothers me because I keep thinking about the weight of those two in her arms.  This thought keeps me from being able to look at the painting with pleasure!  

I also found a number of drawings showing Our Lady with a lamb at her feet or following along behind her.  These sometimes have the Divine Son in her arms and sometimes she is alone.  The only image I found of Our Lady actually holding only a lamb was on a lovely, old-fashioned holy card with a lace border.  This drawing is the one that inspired me to try to do my own version.

As I worked on this drawing, I begin to think about what I might name it.  Somehow the idea of Our Lady as the "Good Shepherdess" came to me.  At first I rejected the idea as somehow kind of hokey and maybe even theologically incorrect.  However, the idea just wouldn't leave me alone.  So, gradually I began to try to unpack it just a bit more.

At this point I decided to see what an Internet search would reveal. I put in the search terms: "Virgin Mary Good Shepherdess" and, surprisingly, got a number of hits!  The listings ran the gamut from the Good Shepherdess character in Dungeons and Dragons (certainly nothing to do with Our Lady!) to a message delivered in recent years to a visionary in the U.S. -- a message supposedly from Our Lady under the title of the Good Shepherdess!  Let me just share with you some of the information that was revealed by this search.

[The following "vision" of Our Lady is, to the best of my knowledge, simply a private revelation, not Church approved and used here only as an example of the use of the term "the Good Shepherdess" and for no other purpose.  S. Thayer]
Message from Our Lady, the Good Shepherdess, to the world, November 2, 2010 through Chris Courtis, a visionary in Maryland, U.S.A.

"I am the Good Shepherdess. My children, it is God’s desire that I come to be with you today to call you back to my Son. He wishes to establish in the world devotion to Me under the title of Our Lady the Good Shepherdess. I am also here with my Son herding His flock and moving the sheep and shepherds to one goal, and one goal only: Jesus and His sacrifice. I desire and wish that every year on April 25th that you dedicate this day to the Good Shepherdess which I am. I will lead you to my Son with the care, simplicity and ease of a child. Surrender yourselves completely to me and live the messages that I am giving to you. My heart is burning with love for each and every one of you. Will you not, dear children, offer me this one day? Will you not allow me to enter into your hearts? Yes, this is what I want on April 25th, that you continue to renew and dedicate yourself to the holy Church and to me, your mother. I love you, and I am Mary, Our Lady the Good Shepherdess."
More information about this visionary and other messages can be found at www.movingheartfoundation.com

As well, I came across a number of Biblical references to women shepherds. Here are some of the more interesting ones:

In Genesis 29:9, at a well, Rachel appears with a flock of sheep, to the great interest of Jacob -- who will eventually take her as his wife - Rachel is a shepherdess.
In Exodus 2:16, Moses meets Zipporah for the first time, at a well where she is watering a flock of sheep with her sisters - she and her sisters are shepherds. Moses also becomes a shepherd once he marries Zipporah.
In the Song of Solomon (Song of Songs) 1:7, 8, we read -- "(7)Tell me then, you whom my soul loves , where will you lead your flock to graze, where will you give rest to them at midday? Why should I be like one wandering after the flocks of your companions? (8)If you do not know, most beautiful among women, follow the tracks of the flock and pasture your lambs near the shepherds’ tents."

Of course, the tradition of women and girls shepherding sheep is not just limited to Old Testament times. Remember, the seers at Fatima were two girls and a boy who spent their days looking after the sheep herds of their two families. It was among the "sheepfolds" that first the Angel of Portugal and then Our Lady appeared to them.

So, after all this interesting information, I felt quite comfortable in keeping the title of "Our Lady, the Good Shepherdess" for this drawing of the Virgin Mary.  As well, I liked the idea of Our Lady shepherding us towards her Divine Son.  It made me think right away of the beautiful teaching of St. Louis de Montfort "to Jesus through Mary".  

Let me know what you think about this idea, this title, for our Blessed Mother Mary.




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SUKI AND SALLIE


Following are some photos showing Suki's expressions as I make her aware of the presence of a crinkly-type plastic bag (the kind Sears uses, for example).  This type of plastic bag is something that Suki seems to consider to be a real threat to her and all of creation. I do not think that she is an environmentalist or any such thing, but, rather, she just doesn't seem to believe that crinkly-type plastic bags should be allowed to live! 

 
Suki becomes instantly alert when she hears the crinkling sound of a plastic bag which I am crumpling behind my back.  Crinkly-type plastic bags are one of her greatest enemies and, according to Suki, must be destroyed at all costs!



I hold the plastic bag above her head for just a moment and watch as Suki immediately gets ready to jump!  I move away quickly as I know how surprisingly high she can jump and just how sharp her claws and teeth are!  I do not relish the idea of having either sinking deeply into my arm as Suki seeks to destroy another one of those dastardly plastic bags!




So, before Suki can jump up and grab my hand and arm along with the plastic bag, I bring it back down.  For just a brief moment, I hold the bag even closer to her, crinkling the bag loudly.  I can see her muscles tensing for the big attack and so I quickly move the bag away from her again.




At this point, Suki is beginning to reach a point of absolute frustration.  I can tell because I hear a low growl emerging from her throat.  I know from experience that I had better quickly remove the plastic bag or else just let her attack it.  I decide to let her attack the bag.  

I did not take any photos of the actual destruction of the bag as this is a family-type blog!  No violence allowed!!

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As for me, I am continuing to do reasonably well with both good days and bad days.  Thankfully, at the moment, the good days slightly out-number the bad!

Actually, I expect today to be a very good day as I am currently awaiting the imminent arrival of Braden!  I am so very excited at the prospect of seeing Braden and his parents.  They could be arriving at any moment now.

In preparation of this visit, I have moved almost all my nick-knacks to a level higher than Master Braden can reach.  Even though his mother said that this wasn't necessary as she wants him to learn to respect other peoples' property, I just felt that I wanted to make things a bit easier for him by removing temptation!  

I also baked a batch of "Thanksgiving" cookies -- just simple butter cookies sprinkled with sugar.  I hope he likes them.  I also put out some delicious dark chocolate for the grown-ups to have with their coffee!

I told Suki about the visit this morning and she immediately went and got into her bed in the back of the closet!  I told her that I might have to drag her out for a few minutes as I know Braden will want to see her.  

Last time he was here, he was fascinated by Suki and kept following her around, trying to touch her -- much to Suki's dismay. Thankfully, thus far, I have never seen her get angry with a child -- not even when they were pulling on her tail!  She usually manages to find a way to disappear into one of her hiding places if the child's playing gets too aggressive.

Well, I want to get this posting published before Braden gets here and so I will end it now.  
I wish all my Canadian readers and followers a very happy Thanksgiving Day tomorrow.  
I pray that all those who read this posting may know the peace of God which passes all human understanding.  
May our  hearts be filled with gratitude for all that God has given.
Our Lady, the Good Shepherdess, pray for us. Amen.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving Suki and Sallie
Karen