"Come to me, all 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."
This Gospel verse from today's reading seems to be a bit of a theme for my life lately. It was given to me as a reflection after reconciliation multiple times, it was spoken at a Charismatic prayer group I attended, and it was recited straight to my heart five separate times this weekend at the masses I had the privilege of leading.
So often, we become burdened by the things we do every day. Not only that, but we cannot seem to escape the constant self-doubt that accompanies many of the tasks we seek to accomplish. We doubt our worth, we doubt our skills, and we doubt our Lord when we don't feel the rest he claims to provide.
Often times, the reason we cannot experience this rest is because we have chosen- not the yoke of the Lord- but a yoke that we feel is better suited for us. We want to feel valuable; to know that we make an impact. We want to see our own value in our accomplishments, and it can be frustrating watching others be successful as we continue to labor without respite. But our Lord wants to give us a new yoke. Not one that tugs, pulls, and tears at us. Not one that provides pain, rather, one that permits us to accomplish those tasks we were truly created to do.
See at the time of Christ, oxen were provided a yoke that was specific to them. It took into account the grooves and bumps in their necks and was worked to a point where the ox was not going to be bruised and bloody, but rather would be able to do his best work in the field. Our Lord desires to provide that specific yoke for us as well. He wants us to be fulfilled in our work, to experience the peace that comes with a job well done, but he requires us to lay down our ill-fitting yokes first and foremost. He tells us to rest while he prepares our yokes, and expects us to be willing to put in the effort necessary to accomplish his work.
I feel like I'm starting to learn how to live this Gospel. After about a month of discernment, I've put in my notice at the parish where I work and will be staying with my children at home while praying with others through music whenever the need arises. The Lord is asking me to take a new yoke upon my shoulders, and I pray I can wear it with pride and confidence - always striving to do His work.
Lord, help me to rest when necessary, and to lean in to the work you give me. Your yoke is truly easy, and your burden truly light.