0

Let Him Help You

Memorial of Saint Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

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. (1) 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

dec7

I was sitting in the confessional with tears streaming down my face as the priest handed me a Bible and asked if I wanted to read a few verses out loud.  It was November 15, 2014, and I was serving as a chaperone for my parish’s annual Confirmation retreat. Nodding a “yes” since I wasn’t familiar with the Zephaniah 3:14-20 passage he had mentioned and to hopefully regain my composure before facing the students, I thumbed through the pages and began reading:

“Shout for joy, daughter Zion! Sing joyfully, Israel! Be glad and exult with all your heart, daughter Jerusalem! The Lord has removed the judgment against you . . . .”

My hopes to gain composure were tarnished as the tears started falling even harder, but this time the tears were filled with something else: peace. It was in reading this passage about God’s great mercy that I was finally able to let go of one of the deepest wounds and sufferings I’d ever experienced—an eating disorder that I had battled years earlier. Thanking the priest for sharing this Scriptural gem with me, I left the confessional feeling like a boulder had been lifted.

Today’s readings made me think back to this experience as they are filled with countless examples of God’s unending love and mercy. In Isaiah’s First Reading we read about the Lord giving strength to the fainting and to those who hope in Him. In the Psalm we find the Lord pardoning iniquities and healing ills. And lastly in the Gospel we hear Jesus encouraging all of us who labor and are burdened to come to Him, so that He can give us rest. What a truly loving and merciful God we have!

My dear sisters, I want to remind you that there is no sin or wound that the Lord doesn’t want to heal. Whether it’s asking to heal a broken relationship or an addiction: let Him help you. Whether it’s asking for more trust in His plan for your life or to remove insecurities you have about your role as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, or friend: let Him help you. Never forget that He wants to give you rest, and He wants to give you wings so you can soar, but we have to let Him help us. What wound are you carrying in your heart that you want to offer up to the Lord today?

As you reflect on the wounds in your life, recall the words of Saint Ambrose whose feast day we celebrate today and pray: “Lord, I show you my wounds, and I let you see my shame. Knowing my sins are many and great, I have reason to fear. But I trust in your mercies, for they are beyond all numbering.” Amen.

Joan Geiger is a North Dakota native and newlywed, and in her spare time she can be found going on adventures with her husband, working as a Registered Dietitian, and learning to play the ukulele. You can find out more about her here.

No Comments

Leave a Reply