Thomas Aquinas's commentary on John appears in the Office of Readings today, for those who didn't take the option of celebrating Rose of Lima, or for us Capuchins who didn't take the option of celebrating Conrad of Offida.
This line caught me: "Nobody is a good shepherd (pastor) unless by charity he is made one with Christ and a member of the true Shepherd."
It is the love of God that makes pastors, and empowers someone to give pastoral care. To me, this has two senses. First, anyone who dares to be a minister of God has to first know himself as loved by God. Of course this is a spiritual ideal. Everyone has some admixture of nonsense and distraction in this. Our own self-hates and the wrong beliefs we have been taught about ourselves by others (passing on their own negativity to us) sometimes get projected onto God. Part of our prayer must be our ascetical effort against this sort of thing. It might be subtle or even a secret to us, but if we, even in small ways, believe that God disdains or even hates us, it will come out and get passed on in our pastoral care of others.
Second, we must strive to purify the encounter of our heart and mind with others. We might find someone to be interesting or tedious, enjoyable or annoying, but we have to learn to bracket such things interiorly if we want to be ministers of genuine pastoral care. In my job before I was in the Order most of my coworkers were young women. Moment to moment cooperation made a big difference in how smoothly we could get through a day. Once I was examining myself on my charity, on how freely I could be helpful to others. I realized that I was more attentive and helpful to the coworkers I found pretty. Realizing that I had uncovered a subtle unchastity, I asked my spiritual director about it. He said something like this, which was very helpful: 'Whether or not you find a particular person attractive is largely an accident of your own history and your arbitrary prejudices. It's all a dead end in the face of the truth: each person is a unique and unrepeatable creation, loved by God beyond what we can imagine. In other words, they are all beautiful and lovable to God, regardless of how you might feel. Get that into your mind and heart and eyes, learn to view others as God sees them, and let it free you from the narrowness of your own particularity.'