“Come to me, all of 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.” Matthew 11: 28-30
Whom does Jesus say this to? To “all of you who labor and are burdened…” And what does he promise? “I will give you rest…you will find rest for yourselves.”
I don’t know about you, but rest sounds like a great gift. Really, it’s another way to say “PEACE.”
So what do we need to do to receive this gift of rest, this gift of peace? He tells us to come to him.
Come to Jesus
Well if we are busy, burdened, overworked, overwhelmed, how are we going to go to Jesus? Isn’t that just one more thing we have to add to our list of to-dos?
I think we need to de-mystify it and make it more attainable. When Jesus says, “Come to me”, it really just means to become aware of his presence, since he is already here with us. He promised that he would never leave us or forsake us (cf. Heb. 13:5) — we just lose sight of that fact.
When I feel life’s pressures weighing me down and feel hard pressed, what helps me is to close my eyes briefly and have a quick chat with the Lord. “Jesus, I’m feeling stressed and overwhelmed. I need your help. Please give me what I need. I love you, Lord.” That is manageable, no matter what busy agenda I have for that day. And it helps so much! I start to feel his peace and strength fill me.
Go to His Mother
Another way that Jesus gives us rest is by giving us his Mother. Remember on the Cross, Jesus said to John, “Here is your Mother” and to Mary, “Here is your son.” Mary is always ready to give us solace and whatever grace we need at the moment.
I love her words to St. Juan Diego when she appeared to him as Our Lady of Guadalupe: “I love you…I am your merciful Mother, the Mother of all…those who cry to me, of those who have confidence in me. Here I will see their tears; I will console them and they will be at peace.”
What else did Our Lady of Guadalupe tell Juan Diego?
- “Do not fear this illness or any other sorrow of affliction.”
- “Am I not here who am your Mother?”
- “Are you not under my shadow?”
- “Have I not placed you under my care?’
- “What else do you need?”
- “Do not let anything distress or disturb you.”
Sadly, we often forget to ask her for what we need. When Our Lady appeared to St. Catherine Labouré in Paris, France in 1830, she showed her the image of the Miraculous Medal with the words, “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.”
The word recourse means “a turning to someone for help or protection…a source of help or strength.” We have recourse to our Blessed Mother and can turn to her at any time with whatever need we have, but do we do that?
St. Catherine Labouré noticed that the Virgin Mary had rings on her fingers that were covered with jewels, some large and some small, from which came beautiful rays of light. But some of the precious stones gave forth no light, and Catherine asked her about that. Our Lady replied, “This is a symbol of the graces which I shed on those who ask me. Those jewels which are in shadow represent the graces which people forget to ask me for.”
[emphasis added by me!]
All the help we’ll ever need is promised to us by God: rest, peace, grace for every situation we find ourselves in — it’s all there. But we need to turn to Jesus, go to his Mother, and not forget to ask.