Kathy Bernard - Publisher

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you, and learn from
Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls.
   For My yoke is easy, and My load
 is light." - Matthew 11:28-30


No 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 accord. 

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. 

The heavy 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." 

Through 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 …, weighed down …, 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, … when communications 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,  "Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus".

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 see.

”Now 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.”.

 "You see, 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 reads, "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  “On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering (Salvifici Dolores), 1983.

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, our 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.
- Psalm 55:22

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