James Tissot (1836-1902) Jésus engage les apôtres à se reposer (Jesus Commands the Apostles to Rest) between 1886 and 1894 opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper Brooklyn Musuem
[Jesus said,] “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
I know some days I am heavy with pain, fatigue, and discouragement. I know others carry heavy responsibilities, grief, and stress. I know the world is heavy with violence, racism, and injustice.
I don’t know how to heal the heaviness. But Jesus does. I will practice turning my attention to Jesus. I will trust him with my burdens, the burdens of others, and the world’s burdens. I will rest from my tendency to do-it-myself and let Jesus help me through the day.
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.” Matthew 1:22-23
Whether I’m having an easy day or a hard day, God is with me. Whether I’m feeling peaceful or angry, God is with me. Whether I believe or don’t believe, God is with me.
[Jesus] answered, “When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified.” Luke 21:9a
I am terrified that I am a mistake, a bother, a nuisance. My inner wars have me doubting my self-worth and wishing I were perfect. I rebel against physical pain, mental fatigue, and getting older. I wage an ongoing battle between gratitude for my many blessings and wanting what I don’t have.
The only answer to war, insurrections, and terror that I have found is complete and unconditional surrender to God’s love. Moment by moment.
God loves me. God made me in love for love. God made me in God’s own image of love and goodness.
And so I dare to approach God in prayer, trusting God will have compassion on me despite my weaknesses and failings, trusting God will teach me a new and better way to be, trusting God’s mercy has the power to transform me in every moment so that I become ever more like God in love and goodness.
God likes to hear from me. I am never a bother to God. Gratitude, grumbles, and pleas for help are all understood by God as my human attempts to communicate with the Mystery who loves me unconditionally and wants all good for me.
Can I trust today that God is near, listening, and ready to respond?
And one of [the lepers], realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. Luke 17: 15-16
When I express gratitude, I deepen my awareness of others – their gifts, talents, kindness, and humanity. My “thank you” acknowledges our interconnectedness, our interdependence, and our common heritage as precious children of God.
My “thank you” to God is an awareness of God’s love, compassion, and generosity. My “thank you” to God helps me remember to put God in the center of my life.
Thank you, God, for the many kind people you have put in my path, and thank you for your gentle guidance and all the many gifts you shower on me.