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Wednesday, Second Week of Advent (St. Ambrose): Powerful Rest

December 7, 2011

Blessed St. Ambrose’ Day!

You can find his story here.

Almighty God, Who command us
to prepare the way for Christ the Lord,
grant in Your kindness, we pray,
that no infirmity may weary us
as we long for the comforting presence
of our heavenly physician.
Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
(Opening Prayer from today’s Mass)

Isaiah 40:25-31 (those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength)
Psalm 103: 1-4, 8, 10 “O bless the Lord, my soul”
+ Matthew 11:28-30 (Come to Me, and your souls will find rest)

You know the profound satisfaction of a job well done.

“Ahh! YES!”

And you know the bone-jarring weariness that goes with it.

“I’m going to sleep well tonight!”

In the beginning it was not so.

God gave Adam a job from the very beginning.

The Lord God then took the man and settled him in the Garden of Eden,
to cultivate and care for it
-Genesis 2:15

That work–the hard manual labor of cultivating and protecting the garden–
was rest!

It was only after sin entered the world, when we turned away from God,
that work became wearisome.

Cursed shall be the ground because of you!
In toil shall you eat its yield all the days of your life.
…By the sweat of your face shall you get bread to eat.
-Genesis 3:17, 19

God has come to change all that.

He forgives all your offenses, cures all your diseases,
He redeems your life from destruction,
and crowns you with kindness and compassion,
-Psalm 103:3-4

He’s come to remove the curse of sin,
to turn work into rest!

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.
-Isaiah 40:30-31

That’s why Jesus can say:

Come to Me, all you who labor and are overburdened,
and I will give you rest
-Matthew 11:28-30

He’s not talking about a tall glass of lemonade under a shade tree.

Shoulder My yoke and learn from Me,
for I am gentle and humble of heart:
and you will find rest for yourselves.
-Matthew 11:20

Jesus gives us rest under His yoke
doing the hard manual labor of a beast of burden!

When we return to Him, hope in Him and take up His yoke,
then we return to the original, restful work of Adam.
When we learn from Jesus’ gentleness and humility of heart,
then we’re able to run without growing weary, to walk and never faint.

Then we have the thrill of accomplishment
and the refreshing vitality of rest.

We have it all!

Now that’s powerful rest!

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