Monday, June 20, 2011
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. ~ Matthew 11: 28-30
I don’t know how she did it.
There was no need to set an alarm. Her eyes opened automatically with the dawning of a new day. Thoughts of kids, chores, breakfast, packed lunches, car repairs, a leaking roof and cats that needed to be fed forced her out of the bed. She must have looked in the mirror on some mornings and fought back the tears, certain that she should give up. But, she never did. She kept breathing. She kept moving. She kept giving herself over and over and over in service of others. And I was one of those others.
I don’t know how she did it.
My mom was little less than a miracle worker. As I was growing up she balanced several jobs, running a household, raising three kids, and everything that goes with that. And she did it all pretty much on her own. Yet even greater than her tenacity, was that in the midst of all she encountered, she managed to hand on something to me that was invaluable: a strong faith in Jesus Christ.
I don’t know how she did it.
As I grow a little older, and have a chance to reflect back on what it must have been like for my mom to be a single mother of three kids, I find myself in awe. The pressure she must have felt to fulfill those responsibilities must have been so great. I suppose that is why with all that was going on, with every worry that she must have had, and despite every effort of us kids to fight it, she made sure to bring us to church every weekend. She made sure to pass that gift on to us.
Jesus tells his followers that all who labor and are heavy burdened should come to him, and he will give them rest. For the yoke he provides is easy, and his burden is light.
I can imagine that when Sunday morning came around my mom would have loved to stay in bed and catch up on much needed sleep. I’m certain the last thing she wanted to do was wake up three stubborn teenagers and hall them off to a place they did not want to go. Yet she knew that when the entire world kept taking from her—over and over—she had a savior whose burden was light. She could come to him and receive the grace, mercy, love and rest necessary to make it just one more hour, just one more day, just one more week.
I have learned so many lessons from my mom. But this is one that I pray I never forget. No matter how busy I may be, no matter what obligations I have, no matter how exhausted I am or how sick of life I may be: Jesus remains the same. His yoke is easy and his burden is light. When I feel like I simply cannot give anymore of myself over to the world, I can fall in his arms and find rest.
As I now reflect I guess I maybe do know how she was able to do it. Jesus’ arms were always waiting to hold her, and they are waiting to hold you, too. May you find rest in him.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
And everyone who has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children or land for the sake of my name will be repaid a hundred times over, and also inherit eternal life. ~Matthew 19: 29
“Thank you for your commitment and for what you are doing.” Once I describe my vocation to people whom I’ve met for the first time this is invariably the statement I receive. I tend to accept this graciously and am humbled by the kindness of others. People are generally supportive of the path I am taking in life. I think they perceive it to be a great sacrifice, and as serving a real need. Perhaps they think, too, that they would never be able to choose it. And yet, after my experience of the past two weeks, this statement is even more humbling, and perhaps difficult, to accept.
Two weeks ago I made my Perpetual Oath to the Glenmary Home Missioners. In front of hundreds of people I read the Glenmary Oath and signed my name, making the lifelong commitment. This decision certainly was not taken lightly, and was preceded by years of difficult and intense discernment. Certainly in making this Oath I was being asked to sacrifice much, and marriage and a family generally tend to come to the top of that list. And yet as the Oath ceremony finished, the banquet following it came to an end, and my family and friends departed for their homes, I could not help but think: I am receiving so much more than I could ever possibly give over to God, the Church, or to the world.
Jesus assures his disciples that those who leave everything and follow him will be rewarded a hundred times over with blessings of every kind. My experience has been that Jesus’ words are accurate.
In my years of formation I have encountered family beyond my biological family, I have found dozens of homes away from home, I have encountered vast experiences that I could never have imagined, I have been the recipient of the generosity of so many people, and I have, if I may humbly say, grown closer to God.
I think there is a valid fear that is associated with pursuing a vocation to the priesthood or religious life. Much will be asked from people who do so. But, God will never be outdone in generosity. The blessings that a person receives for courageously entertaining this kind of call will truly be a hundredfold. In the end, the ultimate blessing is the peace that accompanies knowing that one has discerned the will of God, and as much as is possible, aligned him or herself with that will.
And this, my friends, is eternal life: fullness of life on earth, and an eternity spent with God and all of his people in Heaven.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
I am at the Glenmary 15th Chapter and we are doing our best to listen to the Spirit to best discern the will of God. We are currently discussing methods of utilizing technology in order to best communicate with each other and the world so as to serve the Home Missions. Please pray for is.
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