Many centuries ago a holy abbot named Anastasius was in charge of a monastery in Egypt. This particular monastery had an impressive library of manuscripts, one of which was a rare volume worth a fortune. One day a young monk was visiting from another monastery; he had chosen a monastic lifestyle not so much out […]
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The Prophet (Is 55:1-3) proclaimed: “Thus says the LORD: All you who are thirsty come to the water! You who have no money, come, receive grain and eat; come, without paying and without cost, drink wine and milk! Why spend your money for what is not bread; your wages for what fails to satisfy? Heed […]
It is easy to criticize those who are supposed to be able to change economic behavior. Monetary policy making is no exception. Such authorities can and have made mistakes. But impotence in changing the economic behavior of a large economy is not the same thing as incompetence. This (2014) is a difficult time to assume […]
In many quarters, particularly in my own special area of hymnody, mighty efforts have often been expended to horizontalize the Mass. Full, conscious, active participation is undeniably a goal of the Vatican II reform of the Mass, as articulated in its …
I’m very proud to be an American, but there are times when I’m ashamed of our country. I’m proud that we have what in some ways is probably the freest society on earth, but I’m ashamed that so many people misuse this freedom through such things as crime, materialism, and immorality. I’m proud that we […]
Christians are not noted for learning from people of different faiths. In fact, many Christians seem to believe that even considering a perspective that differs from their own is borderline sinful. That is unfortunate because examining others’ views can often deepen our own. A good example of this is the concept of karma. Karma is […]
Ordinarily the chants of the Mass ought to be sung, whether in the Ordinary or the Extraordinary Form.On those occasions when hymns are sung at Mass–and let’s be honest, we all do it–how do we choose among the hundreds of thousands of hymns available…
What topic or subject did Jesus talk about most frequently? If your answer was a topic concerning love or morality or faith or forgiveness, you would be wrong. The central theme of Jesus teaching, as recorded in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, was “The Kingdom of God”. We should recognize that the terms […]
Delighted to run across a wonderful blog by an old friend and classmate, Dr. Eric Johnston, a seminary professor living with his large family in Newark.
The Catholic Spiritual Life is a peaceful and informative blog, something like either liturgical spirituality, or spiritual theology–drawing theological truth from all those wonderful sources that we have available to us as Catholics. All of these sources of truth bear upon one another, and we can be caught up in their dynamism, and filled with the living Word of God.
At last we return to our orderly reading of Matthew – and see how beautiful are the ordinary words of the Gospel.
“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.”
Such words are like balm. They are really worth reading and hearing just to bathe in them. Such a beautiful reminder that none of our pious meditations can equal the healing power of God’s word.
But let us come to him, and learn! These words teach us even more when we read them in context. The Lectionary is good enough to give us the verses that immediately proceed.
“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones. . . . No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”
The two halves of this paragraph illumine one another. Not by strength does man prevail. It’s not human wisdom that discovers the love of the Father. It’s a gift, through Jesus Christ.
And this is the deeper meaning of “take my yoke upon you.” The “rest” he gives us is precisely knowledge of the Father. This is the cure to our labors and burdens.
We have to take his “yoke” upon us. But this doesn’t mean hard work. To the contrary, it means being so assimilated to him that we let him be our all – let Jesus be the source of our strength, and learn from him to receive everything from the Father. That’s the true meaning of meekness.
And meekness is a “yoke” – a challenge to our self-sufficient ways, requiring a real change of behavior – but also “easy,” because what we learn is precisely that we don’t have to be self-sufficient.