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Everything Will Be Fine

First Reading: Isaiah 40:25-31

To whom can you liken me as an equal?
says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high
and see who has created these things:
He leads out their army and numbers them,
calling them all by name.
By his great might and the strength of his power
not one of them is missing!
Why, O Jacob, do you say,
and declare, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?

Do you not know
or have you not heard?
The LORD is the eternal God,
creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint nor grow weary,
and his knowledge is beyond scrutiny.
He gives strength to the fainting;
for the weak he makes vigor abound.
Though young men faint and grow weary,
and youths stagger and fall,
They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength,
they will soar as with eagles’ wings;
They will run and not grow weary,
walk and not grow faint.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 103:1-2, 3-4, 8 AND 10

R. O bless the Lord, my soul!
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul!
He pardons all your iniquities,
he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
he crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul!
Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul!

Gospel: Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus said to the crowds:
“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

dec 9

One year and one day ago, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, I knelt in the back of a small church I had not visited before. It wasn’t an impressive place. The decor featured purple carpeting, faded paint, and worn pews. But kneeling at the foot of a statue of Jesus before Mass, I noticed a fading index card taped to the prie-dieu. The verses from Matthew in today’s Gospel were handwritten on it.

My long-term relationship was ending slowly and painfully, and I was a wreck. I knelt there with quiet tears in my eyes. My broken heart was clinging to so much, and here, Jesus was offering to take it all—my ending relationship, my fear of being judged, my need for approval, my attachment to material goods, my entitlement to so much. I could hand everything over. Everything that I was telling myself would make me happier and better. I needed to humble myself, to let my guard down before God.

Kneeling in the back of that church, I knew the words of this Gospel were true. My life was breaking apart at the seams and leaving a large, empty space in my heart, but I could open that space to God and let Him fill it. I could be renewed in His mercy.

I wrote in my journal that night: “I’m devastated, but that loss of comfort gives God a chance to break apart my preconceptions about what my life should be. Everything will be fine.”

I knew my life wasn’t going to be the same. But it wasn’t because of what I was losing—my life changed because I let God in. My life changed because I traded the weight of this world for the burden of the next.

In the year that has passed, my life has changed. As spiritual change worked in my heart, I’ve been strengthened through other change as well. I’ve been able to embrace things that once seemed risky or scary or crazy. I’ve struggled through weeks and months that seemed designed to pull me under, relying on the consolation that God will pull me out on the other side.

He pulls me through, again and again. I sing with today’s Psalm joyfully: “He crowns you with kindness and compassion. O bless the Lord, my soul!”

Let Christ lift the heavy burden from your shoulders. Take on the burden of holiness. Everything will be fine.

photo by Edenn Yorks

Brigid Hogan loves the view of the Washington Monument from her apartment, her standing desk, the Green Bay Packers, and a good mystery. She tolerates taking the Metro to the office, where she works as a communications consultant. You can find out more about her here.

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