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Ask Him to Carry You

Memorial of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Virgin

First Reading: Isaiah 26:7-9, 12, 16-19

The way of the just is smooth;
the path of the just you make level.
Yes, for your way and your judgments, O LORD,
we look to you;
Your name and your title
are the desire of our souls.
My soul yearns for you in the night,
yes, my spirit within me keeps vigil for you;
When your judgment dawns upon the earth,
the world’s inhabitants learn justice.
O LORD, you mete out peace to us,
for it is you who have accomplished all we have done.

O LORD, oppressed by your punishment,
we cried out in anguish under your chastising.
As a woman about to give birth
writhes and cries out in her pains,
so were we in your presence, O LORD.
We conceived and writhed in pain,
giving birth to wind;
Salvation we have not achieved for the earth,
the inhabitants of the world cannot bring it forth.
But your dead shall live, their corpses shall rise;
awake and sing, you who lie in the dust.
For your dew is a dew of light,
and the land of shades gives birth.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 102:13-14AB AND 15, 16-18, 19-21

R. (20b) From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.
You, O LORD, abide forever,
and your name through all generations.
You will arise and have mercy on Zion,
for it is time to pity her.
For her stones are dear to your servants,
and her dust moves them to pity.
R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.
The nations shall revere your name, O LORD,
and all the kings of the earth your glory,
When the LORD has rebuilt Zion
and appeared in his glory;
When he has regarded the prayer of the destitute,
and not despised their prayer.
R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.
Let this be written for the generation to come,
and let his future creatures praise the LORD:
“The LORD looked down from his holy height,
from heaven he beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
to release those doomed to die.”
R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.

Gospel: Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus said:
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

NAB

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I remember it like yesterday, even though it’s been more than twenty-four years. Waking in the morning with that ache that comes with sleeping stiffly while nursing through the night, I thought to myself, “I cannot do this one more day. He’s too heavy to carry all day long even one more day.” The passages in today’s Gospel came to mind readily. They were my passages, committed them to memory two years before, as I was battling cancer. Now, this baby born so soon after doctors  had said there’d be no more—the baby I’d pleaded for—was bringing me to my knees, wailing with exhaustion. I’d named him Matthew Christian. He was named for this message of our Lord. God knew I’d need a constant reminder that would come every time I uttered that blessed name. He weighed 24 pounds at 4 months old—a heavy load in the most literal sense of the word.

All through chemotherapy and radiation, I’d begged God to bless me with a baby when the cancer journey was finished. The writhing and crying in pain spoken of in Isaiah had not been limited to childbirth in this case, but had stretched over the year of cancer and the subsequent year of high risk (though miraculous pregnancy). And here I was, like a spoiled brat, having everything I’d wanted, and moaning because the thought of putting my beautiful (if heavy) baby in sling and carting him around all day was more than I could bear.

My God had brought me from the shadow of death into this place of literal birth and new life. I wanted to awake and sing. But I was tired and sore. The reality is that life is full of struggle and suffering. Even after the big things like cancer are conquered, there are heavy burdens to bear all along the journey to Heaven. Jesus promises us grace sufficient to carry to them.

At the start of the day, eyes still closed, ask Him to shoulder the yoke, to carry with you, to carry you. Moment by moment, step by step, do the day together.

photo credit

Elizabeth Foss is a wife, the mother of nine, and a grandmother. She finds the cacophony of big family imperfection to be the perfect place to learn to walk in the unforced rhythms of grace. You can learn more about her here

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