Is there anything I can say at this time of year that isn’t cliché when it comes to the passing of time or the general sense or urgency where we hope to find peace? As we head into the final weeks of ordinary time that propel us into the gentle and earth-shattering season of Advent, one thing is for sure:
Rest is likely about to get put onto the back burner again (if it hasn’t been already).
Particularly as we look forward to moving collectively back into a more traditional season of gathering, this time of giving gratitude may very well have the feel of an accelerator rather than the opportunity to catch our breath.
However, there is good news, friends! We are not the first to feel this dissonance—and we do not have to stay in this mindset.
Cadence of Rest
Even if we have gotten out of the habit, we have been commanded to rest … weekly! This is such glorious permission to step off the treadmill of productivity. Not just when we are overwhelmed or in a season of spiritual growth, but consistently, each week. Sundays were never intended for laundry and groceries, but for actual nourishment and revitalization.
Perhaps this season, rest is the gift we are being offered; not because we have “earned it,” or our lists have been checked off, but because it is a grace always available to us and offered to us in love by the One who knows us best.
Gathering Wisdom from the Saints
God gave us the commandment to rest because He knew how self-important we would find the uninterrupted work of our hands. Without the opportunity to step away from work, we might begin to believe that our worth (or the course of the earth) is dependent upon our productivity, rather than the One who created us to do said work and offers respite to our souls.
We need frequent reminders that the fate of the universe is not dependent upon our efforts. God lovingly provides that for us if we are open to it.
You Don’t Have to Take My Word for It
Do you remember watching Reading Rainbow in grade school? In every episode, LeVar Burton would introduce and recommend a great new book to the audience, before panning to a gaggle of children ready to endorse the goodness or silliness of the book and he would say: “But you don’t have to take my word for it.”
In the same way, I take comfort in the fact that we are not the first to need encouragement to offer a commodity as precious as our time to the Lord.
As I imagine the daily lives of the Saints, I have no doubt that they could have filled their every waking hour with the Corporal or Spiritual Works of Mercy. So involved were they in promoting the mission of the Gospels that they, more than most, might well have been consumed by the work of their hands.
However, they offer wise insight into the heart of a servant who is willing to let the final outcome rest on the work of God’s hands, rather than their own.
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Saint Quotes When You Need Rest
Should we need reminding (and I know I do!), here is some fantastic wisdom from a few spiritual giants, on whose shoulders we are privileged to stand.
It is such a folly to pass one’s time fretting, instead of resting quietly on the heart of Jesus. // Saint Therese of Lisieux
God is there in these moments of rest and can give us in a single instant exactly what we need. // Edith Stein (Saint Theresa Benedicta of the Cross)
We find rest in those we love, and provide resting place to those who love us. // Saint Bernard of Clairvox
If there were no tribulation there would be no rest; if there were no winter there would be no summer. // Saint John Chyrsostom
Half an hour’s meditation each day is essential, except when you are busy. Then a full hour is needed. // Saint Francis de Sales
Our hearts were made for You, O Lord, and they are restless until they rest in you. // Saint Augustine
My strength returns to me with a cup of coffee and the Psalms. // Servant of God, Dorothy Day
An Invitation to Rest
Maybe this year, rather than sacrificing ourselves in the name of scheduling and to-do lists, we consider offering our undone lists, our unstructured time for the Lord to use as He sees fit?
What do we stand to lose? Better yet, what might we stand to gain?
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