“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” Jesus makes a promise to us in the passage from Mathew’s Gospel today. Doesn’t this sound inviting to you? Which one of us doesn’t need rest? We live in a world consumed with busyness, one where we are asked to give more of ourselves to make a living, often requiring both spouses to work in order to support their families. In cases where one income would suffice a spouse still often works outside of the home because that has become the norm. Add to this the other responsibilities such as training children in the faith, teaching them the virtues and sharing time in family love. Then comes all the extras we place upon ourselves and our families; sports, music, recreation, travel, entertainment. While none of these are bad, we should take a step back and look at our lives, reflecting on what is truly the most important thing?
I say this because all too often we see this busyness overtaking lives and the outcome is typically tragic. Families torn apart from the stress of life, the burden too much to bear and everything comes crashing down. The family structure destroyed in pursuit of a “better life.” It is painful to hear of these tragedies and the aftermath; children fearful of what will happen to them, mothers struggling to feed and house their children, fathers who are angry and resentful.
It doesn’t have to be like this. This is not what God desires, and that is where taking that step back and reflecting should involve God. Reflect on the passage I quoted; how do we “come” to Jesus? Prayer and the sacraments! That is how we encounter Jesus. These are the steps needed to appraise your life with God as the center. Make the concerted effort to build into your schedule time for prayer every day. This will take work and will involve others. In order to take time for prayer something else will have to be cut out of your schedule. Mentally run through your average day and prioritize what is the most important thing. Use this as your basis; God, family, job, other things. Then cut out the item on the bottom of this list, be it TV, internet, sports or whatever it is. Now fill that free time with some time talking with God. Just tell Him what’s happening in your life, the struggles and the joy. Tell Him your hopes and dreams. Tell Him you are thankful for the countless blessings. Tell Him you love Him and want to be in union with Him. Ask Him how you can better do His Will? And now you have found rest.