This Week's Reflection

Oratory of Divine Love Reflection 443: I Will Give You Rest: A Reflection on MT 11:28-30
 

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” -MT11:28-30 NAB

 

Every time I read this verse of scripture, I’m reminded of a song that was on the radio endlessly when I was growing up in the 1970’s: “I beg your pardon! I never promised you a rose garden!” I think that many times we have this notion that our relationship with Christ is supposed to relieve us of the cross. No. Jesus gives us REST from our crosses. Jesus HELPS us carry our crosses. But Jesus is not going to take away our crosses. Our crosses, though unpleasant, are necessary for our salvation, because our crosses teach us self-denial.

 

We all have crosses. Some have physical crosses: handicaps, sicknesses, diseases, the discomforts of old age. Some have emotional or psychological crosses. Some have financial crosses: poverty, debt. Some have sexual crosses: trying to live chastely in a world obsessed with the flesh. Before Christ, these crosses were just that, sufferings and nothing more. Now, because of Christ carrying HIS cross, all of our crosses are a means for us to attain eternal life. Our crosses allow us to be united with Christ, intimately. NOW our crosses have meaning. NOW our crosses have purpose. So why WOULD you want Jesus to take them away? Every temptation is just as much an opportunity to grow in virtue, as it is an occasion to fall into sin. Temptation merely presents the opportunity. 

 

And many times, our crosses are linked to our vocations, as Moses learned. Moses has been living a pretty good life; the first 40 years as an adopted Prince of Egypt. The next 40 years as a shepherd of his Father-in-law’s flocks in the land of Midian with his wife and children. But the last 40 years of Moses’ life are going to be filled with crosses. Moses will endure the frustration of dealing with Pharaoh. THEN he’ll have the cross with dealing with his own people, who prove to be far more frustrating that Pharaoh ever was! They don’t like Moses. They don’t trust Moses. They’re constantly questioning his authority and his motives. A couple of times Moses prays for DEATH because they’re so frustrating! And yet, notice that God PREDICTS to Moses what Pharaoh’s reaction to him will be. God did that to demonstrate to Moses, I KNOW what’s going to happen. So I’m in control of this situation. All you have to worry about is doing what I tell you to do.

 

That’s one reason why Jesus carried his cross, so he could help all of us carry ours. We can now have confidence that since Jesus carried his cross, I never have to bear any burden alone. He is with me, and he can give me rest. -Fr. Michael Anthony Sisko

 

Quote from a saint

 

“At that very moment, my intellect was strangely illumined. A vision passed before the eyes of my soul; it was like the vision Jesus had in the Garden of Olives. First, the physical sufferings and all the circumstances that would increase them; [then] the full scope of the spiritual sufferings and those that no one would know about. Everything entering into the vision: false suspicions, loss of good name. I’ve summarized it here, but this knowledge was already so clear that what I went through later on was in no way different from what I had known at that moment. My name is to be: “sacrifice.” ...And the Lord gave me to know that the whole mystery depended on me, on my free consent to the sacrifice given with full use of my faculties.” -Diary of St. Faustina

 

Prayer

 

Dear Lord,
Help me to remember in these troubled times
The cross you carried for my sake,
So that I may better carry mine
And to help others do the same,
As I offer up (whatever your concern or problem here) to you
For the conversion of sinners
For the forgiveness of sins
In reparation for sins
And for the salvation of souls. Amen

(from OurCatholicPrayers.com)

 

Questions for Reflection:

 

  1. How is suffering different with Jesus versus without him?

  2. Have you experienced how a particular cross has helped purify you of some fault?

  3. Have you experienced temptation as a means of growing in virtue?

  4. How can carrying our crosses faithfully lighten our burden?

  5. Share an experience you have had, or one someone close to you has had, of Jesus helping to carry your burden.

  6. How can we help lighten each other’s burdens?

  7. Like Moses, St. Faustina had an experience of knowing what she would have to suffer beforehand. How are our crosses different when we know, or at least suspect, them beforehand?

  8. While sometimes we can perceive suffering ahead of time, other times we are caught off guard. How can we prepare for unknown sufferings so that we can bear them in union with Jesus?

  9. Many times, suffering is unavoidable. What is the difference between our willing consent to sufferings and reluctant acceptance of them in unavoidable suffering?

  10. How can the crosses linked to our vocation be especially fruitful for us?

  11. The culture of death proposes abortion and euthanasia as means to end suffering. How can you use your understanding of the value of the cross to combat this?

  12. How can we be compassionate to those who suffer while still honoring the spiritual value of suffering?

  13. What meditation would you recommend to someone who is suffering to help him or her to be able to bear the cross?

  14. Father Sisko mentions several types of suffering. Is there a particular type of suffering you find easier to bear than others? A particular type that is more difficult?

--Erin Wells

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