First Reading: Exodus 3:13-20
Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, `The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, `What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, `I AM has sent me to you.'” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, `The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’: this is my name for ever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations. Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them, `The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, “I have observed you and what has been done to you in Egypt; and I promise that I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt, to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Per’izzites, the Hivites, and the Jeb’usites, a land flowing with milk and honey.”‘ And they will hearken to your voice; and you and the elders of Israel shall go to the king of Egypt and say to him, `The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us; and now, we pray you, let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.’ I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless compelled by a mighty hand. So I will stretch out my hand and smite Egypt with all the wonders which I will do in it; after that he will let you go.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 105:1, 5, 8-9, 24-27
Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples! Remember the wonderful works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered, He is mindful of his covenant for ever, of the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant which he made with Abraham, his sworn promise to Isaac, And the Lord made his people very fruitful, and made them stronger than their foes. He turned their hearts to hate his people, to deal craftily with his servants. He sent Moses his servant, and Aaron whom he had chosen. They wrought his signs among them, and miracles in the land of Ham.
Gospel: Matthew 11:28-30
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Do you know those days when you wake up, fully intending to begin your day with prayer, and find a toddler at the foot of your bed covered in toothpaste, or a baby whose diaper has leaked all over your sheets, or a child chasing another down the hall with a pointed stick pretending it’s a light saber? On those days, my prayer is often more like, “Oh, God, help!” as I run to deal with whatever is happening. I always intend to get back to prayer later . . . when things are calm and quiet, when I have a moment of peace to pause.
And then, the day gets going, and that moment of peace rarely comes.
There is breakfast, and dishes, and cleaning hands and faces and getting everyone dressed. There’s combing hair and making ponytails and French braids and taking them down again when the person has changed her mind and wants a headband instead. There’s packing lunch for the picnic at the library park after story time and searching the house for lost shoes. There’s play dough, and paint on the easel, and sidewalk chalk to wash off everyone before snack. There’s cleanup before Daddy gets home and dinner and clean up again and baths and more stories and bed.
When things finally settle, when I put on my own pajamas and crawl into bed after the baby is finally asleep, I mean to pray. I really, truly do. I start so often . . . a decade of the rosary, or just talking with Jesus for a few minutes about the day and my worries and the things on my heart . . . but more often than not, I fall asleep.
I used to feel so guilty about this. Prayer is important! How could I be falling asleep during prayer? God must be so frustrated with me.
But then, I read today’s Gospel passage in a new light.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
He wants to give us rest. Isn’t that exactly what we need most?
He sees our tiredness, our fatigue, our exhaustion from a long day serving small ones. He knows our weariness. He speaks to us: Come to me. Lie down. Put your head on my lap and let me rest my hand on your hair. You have worked so hard. You need rest. Rest with me. Rest in me. Let me help you. My yoke is easy and my burden is light.
So now, on nights when my eyes are too heavy to stay open for prayer time, I just ask Jesus to come sit with me or lie down with me. He knew what it was like to need rest. He invites me to come, and I do—it’s that simple. I believe that talking with Him as I fall asleep is a faithful response to His invitation . . . and what could be better than fixing our minds on Jesus as we drift off into rest?
Even if my sentences are unfinished, my heart is with Him.
Today, instead of feeling frustrated about the things you can’t cross off your spiritual to-do list, try resting in Jesus. Try inviting Him to be with you in whatever you are doing . . . chopping vegetables, typing minutes, running laps, taking a nap.
Abbey Dupuy is a homeschooling mama to three-year-old twins, a first grader and a new baby. You can find out more about her here.