This week in 2019, my then two-year-old son and my husband were in two different hospitals. My son was doing three weeks of inpatient physical therapy at Children’s Hospital, learning to sit and stand and walk and eat again after two weeks of bacterial meningitis. My husband had had an ambulance ride to the local hospital after complications from an outpatient procedure for a long-term medical condition. My newborn and I were going back and forth between the hospitals and home, where my eight other children were being looked after by family and friends. It was . . . a lot.
But I was borne up by the prayers and concrete assistance of our loved ones, my faith, and, of course, my vast knowledge of the lives of the Saints. Those guys have suffered, and suffered well.
One of my favorite stories is of Saint Teresa of Avila. While on a trip to found convents, she and her companions were beset by flooding and the loss of their carriage. Facing a treacherous river-crossing on foot, Saint Teresa complained aloud to God, with her usual loving feistiness, of the obstacles in their way. God replied to her, “It is ever thus that I treat My friends.” She countered, “Ah, Lord, it is also on that account that Thou hast so few!” (The Life of St. Teresa, p. 548.)
He’s right, though (obviously). Our relationship with God doesn’t remove obstacles and suffering from our lives. In today’s Gospel, Jesus says, “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” (Matthew 11:29-30).
Jesus doesn’t tell us that our burdens will be taken away. He tells us that—with Him—we will have the strength to carry them with joy (and perhaps occasional good-natured grumbling).Jesus doesn't tell us that our burdens will be taken away. He tells us that—with Him—we will have the strength to carry them with joy. // @kendra_tierney Click To Tweet
This priest’s sermon leans into how to pick up your cross.
P.S. My son is still in outpatient physical therapy for some lingering apraxia of balance, but is doing really well. My husband is home and working and awesome and continues to shoulder his yoke with admirable fortitude.