The Weight

Life is a complicated, often painful endeavor, and the greatest adventure we can have, though never without struggle. Living a full life is highly demanding and forces us to reckon with our limitations. So many times, we come to the end of our lives and find that there is still so much more we want –more to do, to become, to accomplish, to create, to say.

Last weekend, Fr. Steven gave a homily that served as a beautiful teaching on the central, critical importance of correctly ordering our loves. When we fail in this, displacing God with a lesser person, place, activity or pursuit, our lives go sideways. And the longer we leave our priority issues unaddressed, the more haywire we are liable to become.

This week, Jesus continues to proclaim the Gospel (“good news”) in the presence of John the Baptist’s disciples, those who had come inquiring whether he is “the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” He launches into a lengthy discourse on the worthiness of following him and the costs of going another way.

The first portion we encounter is an intimate look at the nature of his relationship with the Father. If you’ll hearken back just a few weeks, recall what I wrote on the Blessed Trinity. Here, Christ sheds light on just how intimate and intertwined he and the Father are, yet how distinct they are as well. Jesus leaves little doubt that, while united, he and the Father are not one and the same. Instead, Jesus alone knows the Father, and only the Father really knows the Son. Therefore, the only way to come to sure knowledge of God in his true nature is through Jesus. Then, Jesus appeals to our need for respite from struggle and recognizing that we will not have that respite without help, “Come, all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest.”

We, who find ourselves lacking and who know our own inability to really control our circumstances (perhaps much less our own whims), should be all ears. Lord, tell me please, how can I know some peace? Of course, the answer is as simple as it is indescribable.

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves,” the Lord tells us. Not just those within earshot, but all generations henceforth can know the abiding peace of the knowledge of God, the source and origin of our very selves.

Twenty years ago, God revealed himself to me, and I knew him through Jesus in an instant. I knew his reality — that he simply IS — and knew that even in my own heart he had the first place. I experienced two very different things concurrently: 1) incredible exhilaration and excitement that I had not known even possible, and 2) profound peace that I could not really begin to describe (thus the phrase, “peace beyond all understanding”). It was at once a joy that made me whoop and shout, as well as gave me a quiet, steady sense of well-being. It gave me the unaccountable assurance that all would be well, no matter what came for the rest of my days.

Instantly, I knew that I would be capable of all the loves I had — my spouse, my family, my friends, my hobbies, my dreams. Obviously, I would learn through the course of the ensuing years that keeping all of those things in the proper perspective would involve lots of failure and “learning the hard way.”

Loving God first, after a while, is no longer about having nothing else on the mind, as much as it is about having that love inform every other facet of life. It becomes the basis, the platform, or, for the computer savvy, the operating system, that facilitates every other process and task one must do. It is in the context of the truth that God exists, loves us boundlessly and is an unending joy to love; in return, there is an ease to life and its demands.

Life doesn’t become easier once we take on the yoke of Jesus, knowing the Father bit by bit, more and more, day by day, but truly living becomes possible.

May you all one day soon experience firsthand that rest which follows from the knowledge and love of God.

David Dunst

Music Director


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