05_I AM the Good Shepherd – Premium Content

What if the Name of God is the sound of breathing? What if that is the basis of His being both the Door and the Great Shepherd?

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LOVE the Word® is a Bible study method based on Mary’s own practice: lectio without the Latin. Get the book based on her method in the right margin, How to Pray Like Mary.

L – Listen (Receive the Word.)

O – Observe (Choose one or more of the following personality approaches to connect the passage to your life and recent events.)

All of the prayer personalities and temperaments – Franciscan, Ignatian, Augustinian, and Thomistic – are included in the exercise this week.  (Read about those in my newest book, How to Pray Like Mary, in the right margin.)

Watch the video, then proceed to this LOVE the Word exercise from Ignite chapter 4.


Late morning on the shadow side of the distant mountain, the air is already so hot the horizon undulates for miles, when just hours ago the barrenness was so frigid he’d shared breath with huddled animals. He can smell burnt dirt and grass under the harsh odor of either himself or the pissing goats.

Pathetic animals are goats and sheep. Always falling into a crevice or ravine; always running away when you call them; always hungry and thirsty; always head-butting and locking horns; always wandering around in every direction at once; never know where the hell they’re supposed to go; always bleating for something.

The wide-open silence is so penetrating he hears his fingernails scratching against the woolen-felted skull of an ewe that nuzzles and nibbles against his fingers. He strokes her upturned face.
His stomach growls as the wind blows hot air and sand from a long distance up his flapping tunic and rattles the few dried weeds, but all he feels as he leans against his gnarly staff, looking out over the remote wilderness, is useless. Stupid.

Once the educated, accomplished, prodigious Prince of Egypt, but now exiled. A stinking fugitive goat herder. Named to be a deliverer of his Hebrew people, but washed up now. Finished. Abandoned. Punished. If anyone knows he deserves this grit rather than a silver spoon in his mouth, it’s him.

He’s been out here in the “desolate places” of Mt. Horeb, on the run, for forty years, the coulda-beens replaying over and over in his mind. People used to bow to him. But now, not even the sheep hear his voice. There’s nothing left of that life. It’s all been completely stripped down, cut off, and excised out here in the desolation.

Ah, well, the same acute sense of righteousness that once provoked him to murder assures him he deserves this life-sentence. If you can’t run with pharoah’s chariots, then get thyself to the desert, is his attitude as he catches sight of a flame leaping up out of the distant heatwaves.

Is the sand on fire? he thinks, and then feels stupid again. There’s not enough vegetation to burn. But it’s definitely fire. Must be a dittany shrub. Those scraggly bushes burn themselves out in a minute’s puff, so his attention wanders. He watches without seeing it, and wonders about his mothers back in Egypt, one his Hebrew birth mother, the other his Egyptian adoptive mother. Is she ashamed? Angry? Alive? He stabs the staff into the dirt and kicks at the dust he raised. Where is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob out in this forsaken wilderness, this vast open sky, this yawning abyss? Where? Nowhere.

He turns to collect the animals and herd them to shelter for the evening, but the light from the fire is oddly brighter in the growing gloom, and a shiver warns him when he still sees the clear outline of stems and stubby leaves inside its distant glow. Intrigued, now, he peers through the rosemary-scented cloud of smoke blowing over him in the wind. His steps quicken as he hurries to investigate, and he is utterly horrified when a disembodied voice flares out from the crackling flames and erupts in a burst of popping light that burns through him with its terrible snapping sound: “MOSES.”
As though Moses had earlier spoken his thought aloud, the blazing bush thunders, “I AM the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,” as He calls him out of the desert to the salvation Moses was named and had been preparing for all along.

V – Verbalize (Pray about your thoughts and emotions.)

Dear Jesus, forgive me for believing I could run from my sin. I pretended that you did not see me and expected no one would know, but it has separated me from what I love and exiled me to a lonely barren land.

Today, help me to cooperate with my desert surroundings to do away with all the trappings of sinful Egypt that crowd and drown and suffocate your work in me and deceive me into thinking I am where you are. Help me to hear your voice in my desolations, so I can encounter you on a level that will transform me forever.

Like Moses, I know what failure feels like. But I also want to experience you, to hear you speak in that fire and flame, to remove my shoes in awe, and leave your presence ready to change the world. Please call me forward, Lord, to where you are, be it desert loneliness or barren wilderness. I am at the foot of the desolate mountain, wandering around, killing time, awkwardly groping for you. And as you summon me, make me know in my depths that even while I ran from my guilt, you were already waiting for me in the desert.

E – Entrust (May it be done to me according to your word!)

Perhaps you want to rest your little woolen head in the Good Shepherd’s lap and let him hold you tight, or reflect on how you can be a better shepherd to serve, protect, and defend your family and the Church against the wolves and hirelings of the culture. 


*LOVE the Word® exercises are offered according to FIAT: the four personalities, or “prayer forms,” explored in Prayer and Temperament, by Chester Michael and Marie Norrisey: Franciscan, Ignatian, Augustinian, and Thomistic: FIAT! These prayer forms correspond to the Myers-Briggs personality types.

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Read the Transcript

You can download a complete, word-for-word transcript here, when it becomes available, courtesy of Dora Donovan who does our transcripts for you.

2 thoughts on “05_I AM the Good Shepherd – Premium Content

  1. And as I wait in the desert hungry, thirsty, hot, tired and alone help me to wait for you in faith trusting you will give me exactly what I need that You may accomplish in me all that You desire. Lord let the will of the Father be the food I seek ‘That I may be changed into Love’ and praise Your glory by my life.
    Thank you Sonja. for helping me pray.

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