This Sunday’s Gospel rings familiar for most of us: “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.”
But it seems that such familiar words have lost some of their potency in our lives. There are so many demands on our time and our energy. We face daily mental and emotional stresses at our jobs or in our families. There is a constant barrage of spiritual warfare that occurs each day, often unseen, which slowly chips away at our charity and interior peace. In order to stay rooted in the important things, and to stay firmly planted in a life of grace, it is necessary to take moments of restful prayer throughout our day.
Prayer does not need to be elaborate. When you think of it, or maybe by scheduling a few times during your day, simply calm yourself and turn your heart to God. Think for a moment of how he looks at us full of love, like parents look at their children. And just spend a moment or two knowing that he looks at us in love, and let that stir love for him in your own heart. It doesn’t take more than a few moments. It is like the glance you share with your spouse; it sometimes lasts just a minute, but in that moment, you are both aware of each other’s love.
When we take those moments of restful prayer, we find ourselves more able and willing to endure the stresses and hardships of our daily life because we are more filled with the love of God and love for him. Love, as many of us have experienced, enables us to overcome many difficulties with ease, and sometimes even joy. This can be easily recognized with a little reflection on the lengths we will go for those we love; cleaning toilets, cooking a meal or giving up something we want become easy.
Taking these moments of spiritual rest are important in our daily life. As St. Paul reminds us in the second reading, we are not merely beings of flesh, but we are spiritual as well. And just as our physical bodies get tired or exhausted after a long day, so, too, our spirit becomes exhausted from the spiritual battle around us, and requires the refreshment offered by our encounter with our loving God.
And so let us spend some time each day resting and being rejuvenated by the love of God.
Deacon Hughes is in formation for the priesthood at the St. Paul Seminary for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. His teaching parish is St. Nicholas in New Market. His home parish is St. Paul in Ham Lake.
Sunday, July 6
- Zechariah 9:9-10
- Romans 8:9, 11-13
- Matthew 11:25-30
What can you give up in order to make time for restful prayer?
Category: Sunday Scriptures