When I lived at home and had gotten my driver’s license, I signed up for a Holy Hour at a local chapel adjoining the church my family sometimes went to for daily Mass. I was throwing myself at Jesus at the time and it was a great way to get some privacy to focus on him and beg him to answer me. I filled pages and pages of my journal. And I truly did feel a sort of peace there.
It was the candles, it was the quiet, it was the solitude – I was usually alone. And maybe Jesus had something to do with it too. But I found a peace I could never find in my bedroom, where I spent so many hours crying, sinning, agonizing over my sins, agonizing over how to make my life better and my family more harmonious….
In college, I rarely committed to a Holy Hour but I still went now and again. When I was in Austria, studying abroad, my boyfriend and I decided on a time when we could both be in the Adoration Chapel, even though he was in a completely different timezone. And when he was in Austria, we did it again. I don’t believe that I ever experienced clarity of thought, emotion, or spirit by going to Adoration – I can’t say that Adoration improved my life once I stepped out of the chapel.
Except that it gave me a pleasurable peace inside me. It was in those moments that I resolved to go on doing what I thought was right; it was in those moments that I knowingly chose – although I had no choice – to return to the emptiness of my life.
Was it peace that I felt or was it only resignation? Was it a false sense of power, of control over, of direction in my life?
He shall banish the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem; the warrior’s bow shall be banished, and he shall proclaim peace to the nations.
My God, my brother, he proclaims that if I take up his yoke and learn from him, I will find rest. His burden is light – what is this burden? Can I have it? I’ll trade ya, Jesus.
Matthew doesn’t waste time on the details in chapter 11 – it’s like he couldn’t remember what the hey they were all doing that week but Jesus said something about carrying a burden at some point so let’s write that down.
What on earth (quite literally, really) is rest, according to Jesus? He doesn’t promise where or when the resting will be – is this, like, the fine print of the Bible? Asterisk! Rest not guaranteed at any point in time during life in earthly flesh.
Are we Jesus’ oxen, pulling a light cart? I don’t know. I feel more like the lost sheep – indeed, my most often repeated prayer these days is this: “If you want me, come find me.”
I haven’t yet dared speculate about the consequences of this prayer.