The Gospels can be extraordinarily demanding.It’s not easy to take up one’s cross, to love enemies, to forgive those who have hurt us, to leave behind our lifestyle and loved ones for the sake of the Kingdom. But we also have to remember that there is an extraordinarily gentle side to Jesus. He wants at all times to be a source of comfort and consolation.
When you and I pray and ask Jesus for help, it can often be rather self-centered. The word “I” takes a prominent place. Even if “I” is not in the prayer, many times there is more than just a touch of self-interest. When we are in difficulties and pain, when we have problems or face obstacles, we want the Lord to take them away.
Jesus may not answer our prayer for reasons known to him alone, but he is ALWAYS there with comfort, strength and peace. Always. Rather than letting us bear the painful yoke of our burdens all by ourselves, he encourages us to share the yoke with him. Where I go, he goes along with me, pulling together with me and making it at least a little bit easier to put one physical, mental or spiritual foot in front of the the other.
There are some things which can be changed in life and it is up to us to do the changing, mainly by changing ourselves.So we pray for the courage and wisdom we need. There are other things which cannot be changed and they need to be accepted and lived with at least for the time being. If it is meant to be, the prayer will be answered at the perfect time.
For some reason, I just now thought of when I quit smoking many years ago. My first overriding thought was: “I can’t do this for rest of my life.” It took awhile and a lot of prayer, but I finally learned that I can stay away from the ciggie for the next 5 minutes. A lifetime, no. Five minutes, yes. And in that 5 minutes I just prayed for help. One foot in front of the other, a moment at a time. I laugh now at how mad I got at my doctor, who was concerned about the weight I was gaining. I said, “Doc, %$#@, give me a break! I can’t stop smoking, lose weight and stay celibate all at the same time.”
So with that chuckle, I bid you adieu!
Fr. Herb Yost, C.S.C.