Kathy Bernard - Publisher
"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you
Take My yoke upon you, and learn from
Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for
My yoke is easy, and My load
is light." - Matthew 11:28-30
matter how we look at it, life is not easy. It is filled
with obstacles that can weigh us down and steal our peace of mind. Rather
than surrender our difficulties and
obligations that life imposes to God, we sometimes think we
can handle these heavy loads by ourselves. We look at
others and they seem to be trouble free, able to handle their
problems, and so we feel we also should be able to untangle our predicaments by our own
Life finds us carrying burdens of sin,
of fear for ourselves or for others, anxiety, money worries, illness, and depression just to
name a few. We hide behind a smile, knowing if a
sympathetic friend probes, we will collapse in tears. Others who claimed to be our friends
become strangers, turning their backs on us for fear our misfortunes
may be infectious.
trials we face cannot always be controlled through our own power.
When we cannot find a solution or have no control over our
concerns, it is as a last resort that we begin to look outside ourselves
and make a direct plea to Almighty God through prayer. Only then do we rest on God's Word and His promises
for comfort and relief, knowing that in His powerful Hands He will take care of
us in His own way. 1Peter 5:7 assures us, "Give all your worries and cares to
God, for He cares about you."
prayer and supplication, we can share our pain with Jesus
Christ Who offers the peace that can still our frantic
hearts. He will walk with us and help us carry our burdens with
loving compassion. We are no longer
alone for He is there with us, sharing the anxiety, addictions, concerns,
grievances, hindrances, misfortunes, sorrow, thorns, and all our
worries. He understands every uncertainty we carry. Even as we wonder why we have to go through the burdens of
this imperfect earth, He is there with us, whispering words of comfort
within our hearts to calm our fears, promising if we persevere, He
will help us. He empowers us to see beyond our difficulties and
propels us to keep moving forward on His path.
Father Vincent J. O'Malley
CM, has this to
say about the burdens of life, "Think of your own experiences when
in the past you have felt, or currently feel, terribly burdened
, at the end of your rope
, imagining that the next
straw will be the one final
straw to break the camel's back. Can you identify at least one
situation like that?
The range of feelings we experience at times
of great burdens are not happy feelings.
I wonder if the heaviest burdens are not the
material burdens of sickness and death, or of relative poverty. I
suspect that the most onerous burdens are intangible, interior, and
spiritual. When relationships are not good,
are not good,
when respect is diminished,
when truth is absent,
we feel bad. When faith, hope, and love are not strong, we feel
weak. When virtue is diminished, we feel diminished. Because evil
is the absence of good, when evil increases, we feel less good.
How might we achieve the rest of which Jesus
assures us? Not surprisingly, it is not easy; if it were easy to
attain or obtain, we would not all be sitting here wishing or
praying for it. Jesus says the means to achieve His rest is: "Take
my yoke upon yourself, and learn from me." What is Jesus' yoke?
Jesus came to do the will of the Father in heaven. He came to earth
as the God-Man to suffer and die for us, in order to save us, and to
teach us how to live properly. Look at our visual images of Jesus:
He comes with an openness in order to teach us the truth. He
demonstrates truth and love by giving His life for all others.
Jesus' rest results from doing the good that God wants us to do,
from valuing God's will and way above our way. Divine rest results
from humbling ourselves, facing and accepting the realities of our
lives, determining/discerning what God would want us to do, and then
trying to do our best in praise of God and in service for others.
All those who find life burdensome, come to
Jesus. As He says, "Take my yoke upon yourself. It is easy." We
will find rest to the degree that we turn to Jesus and the Church
which He founded. We will live better qualitatively when our
vision coincides better with Jesus' vision and Jesus' way. Remember
the words of St. Augustine, "Our hearts are restless, O Lord, until
we rest in you." So, dear friends, respond to Jesus' invitation:
"Come to me all you who labor and find life burdensome, and I will
give you rest.
My yoke is easy and my burden is light."
A native of Paulsboro, NJ,
Father O'Malley was ordained in 1974 after studying at
Mary Immaculate Seminary in
Northampton, PA. He has a bachelor's degree in philosophy, Master's
Degree in Divinity and a Master's in art and history. He has a breadth of
administrative, educational and pastoral experience. A published
author, Father O'Malley has written
several books, including The Saints of Africa and Ordinary
Suffering of Extraordinary Saints.
PAUL in Philippians 4:6-7 writes, "Dont worry
about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you
need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will
experience Gods peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.
His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ
There is a story about a lecturer who
spoke to his students on
managing heavy burdens. He raised a glass of water and
asked his audience, "How heavy do you think this glass of water
is?" The students answers ranged from 10g to 500gm.
"It does not depend on the absolute weight.
It depends on how long you hold it. ", the professor said to the
class. "If I hold it for a minute,
he continued, it is OK. And he held it high for the class to
if I hold it for
an hour, I will have an ache in my right arm, he laughed.
But, he announced dramatically, If I
hold it for a whole day, you will have to call an ambulance..
it is the exact same weight as it was at
the beginning, but the longer I hold this glass of water, the
heavier it becomes." He went on, "This glass is like the burdens
we labor with in our lives. If we carry our them all the time by
ourselves, sooner or later, we will not be able to carry on, and
these burdens will become increasingly heavier and overtake us. We
will become overwhelmed, oppressed, saddened, dissatisfied with
life, and unable to function as we should. Instead of
struggling with difficulties and afflictions, we
must hand them to Jesus. It is then that we can say
as Psalm 4:8
"I will lie down in peace and sleep, for you alone, O LORD, will
keep me safe."
Pope John Paul says this of burdens and
sufferings: "Many of us are hit with unexpected trials and burdens,
and some of us create them all on our own. However, it is within
these situations, when we clearly experience a lack of control, and
are unable to find resolution, that we clearly see our human frailty
and limitations. Left to our own abilities, we often cannot
accomplish and sustain much in our lives, but united with Christ, we
can endure, persevere, and find a sense of peace even during the
strongest of trials. Whatever burdens we carry today, and in the
days ahead, we thank God that He has not left us to carry them
alone. As Catholics, we are yoked to Jesus, Who helps us to carry
our burdens, and even allows us to participate in His work of
redeeming our fallen world. Being yoked to Jesus, might we find
rest for ourselves, because as He tells us, His yoke is easy, and
His burden is light. Let's think about how we are currently living
out our lives. Are we truly yoked to Jesus? And if not, what in
your life is keeping you away from Him?" Excerpt from
the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering (Salvifici
We inhabit a world of imperfections
and trials. God does not promise us heaven
on earth. He asks us to bring all our cares and put them into His
capable hands and He will help us. Whatever the outcome might be, He will give the strength and courage
needed to bear all hardships as He reminds us that earth is only a way-station, a temporary place to get ready for
our eternal home. Know that each burden
that becomes heavy provides an opportunity for us to depend upon
Him and see the greatness of His loving mercy.
If we surrender everything to the Lord
by relinquishing our hold, we can rest in His goodness, confident He
will intervene for us. Though our
troubles weigh heavily on us, we must depend on Jesus Christ,
advocator Who has promised to share all burdens if we bring them to
Him in prayer.
Give your burdens to the Lord
and He will take care of you. He will not permit the
Godly to slip and fall.
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