Faith and Life,  World View

You Will Find Rest

I am an avid news-watcher. My television essentially has only one channel which I watch with any sort of regularity – the news channel. I like to keep abreast of what is happening in the world, both locally and more globally. But over the last two or three years, something has changed in the news. It is as though the world has become broken. This sense of brokenness does not affect just one aspect of the life of the world which is reflected in the news – it seems to touch upon everything in life.

Politics has become a cess-pool of those who seem to be, for the most part, driven by ego; in the United Kingdom, the United States and other nations during this period, senior politicians appear to have little real thought of serving their respective nations and the needs of their people. Rather, they are far more greatly concerned with their own personal vanities – it looks as though it is more about winning than serving; more about tenaciously holding onto power than looking toward the good of the people. And lies have become so commonplace that even those you would expect to be prudent in what they judge to be true have lost all sense of judgement, and of belief in the political systems they are there to uphold.

Health systems are broken, too. Here in the United Kingdom, those systems which we have for so long taken for granted are now crumbling under the immense strain of chronic underfunding over many decades, their resources chipped away so greatly now, that there is no flexibility or ‘give’ left within them. Added on to this, the staff within these systems are burned out, taken for granted, undervalued, massively under-resourced and under paid. Stories abound of the inability of ordinary people to access the health services they require, often at moments of intense need.

Justice and policing are suffering, too, and in much the same ways as those systems already described above.

At the personal and familial levels, people are struggling terribly. The costs of fuel, food and housing are astronomically inflated just now, so that many individuals and families really see no viable way forward for themselves and for those they love.

Throughout all of this, there is an ever-increasing sense that the whole world is falling apart and that we can no longer rely on those things which until very recently have seemed to be steady and dependable.

And the Church has not escaped this decimation, either. Three long decades of clerical abuse has violated the moral standing and authority of the Church. This is above and beyond the deepening divergence between a life of faith and a life lived in the world, such that world and Church appear to be on a collision course. Even within the Church, there seems to be a Great War raging and there is a growing sense of tension and unease, almost as though there is a great festering wound present, which is liable to burst open at any moment.

It is all very bleak indeed.

Come to Me, all you who labour and are burdened
and I will give you rest.
Learn from Me, for I am meek and humble of Heart,
and you will find rest for yourselves.

These words of Christ in the twenty-eighth chapter of the Gospel of Saint Matthew give us comfort and succour. We are all labouring with great burdens weighing down upon our shoulders, and so the Lord is speaking to every one of us personally.

Christ reminds us that this life is not everything, no matter how much we might love it and regardless of how greatly we struggle with it – there is something far greater, something yet to come.

And He is the way to that something greater, if only we will learn from Him as He desires us to do.

Before we can come to the Lord, we must first look at Him, fixing our gaze upon Him; and in doing this, our gaze shifts from the world just enough so that everything else goes slightly out of focus in our field of view. He, on the other hand, comes into sharp focus. And when we do look at Him, we find ourselves intensely drawn to Him, the end result of which is that we go to Him.

In this present life, this happens primarily through two means – those of prayer and of the sacraments.

Prayer is our ‘looking at Him’, our contemplative gaze resting upon Him; it is the opening up of a path which leads directly to Him. The sacramental life is our ‘coming to Him’, our uniting with Him in a very real way, particularly through the sacraments of Reconciliation and of the Eucharist – in these two (and especially in the latter), we meet Him in a very tangible way.

If you, reading these words, find yourself experiencing that same sense on unease when looking around you at the world, that feeling that nothing is as dependable as it once seemed, then look beyond all these things and upon the Lord who speaks to every one of us in the words above.

Come to Him. Learn from Him. Rest in Him and find refreshment.



Catholic | Retired Nurse | UK

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