“Rest”, By Brian Flanagan, Fiat Ventures

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

I was fortunate to spend some time at a lake house recently for a bit of vacation.  Picture a gorgeous lake with the sun peeking through the trees for some early morning kayaking.  The kayak gliding through the water, while birds sing their glorious song welcoming the morning.  Playfully splashing my wife’s kayak with my paddle.  Gracefully flipping my kayak.  Majestically flailing, trying to get back into it.  Peacefully calling out to my wife to get my paddle before it floated away.  Elegantly wringing out my hat, the drips of water glistening on the dock.  Those adverbs don’t make the story any better actually…

Vacation is nice and it’s important to rest.  But it doesn’t always turn out to be quite as picturesque as we’d hoped for.  I’m sure most of us can remember a vacation we had looked forward to for months, only to be rained on every day but the day we had to check out of the hotel and head home.  If not weather-related, we may remember a big family argument that put a damper on the whole mood.  Or maybe a vacation that was full of flight delays, lost luggage, or car trouble.  Sometimes vacations leave us even more exhausted than before we left.

I hope your vacation is restful and relaxing, but vacation shouldn’t be the only time we take a break.  We can’t depend on a long weekend, or a week or two to recharge us until next year.  We love to plan and to save up as though it will, but I’ve yet to meet someone who can recharge next to the pool for two weeks and is 100% restored until the next trip.  We need to relax, rest, and recharge every day in some way or another.  So where to do we turn for that in the middle of winter when the beach towels are still buried in the closet?

In this week’s Gospel, Jesus says, “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.”  Jesus himself gives us rest, and we need to turn to him for it every day. 

Try taking 5 minutes at the end of the day before bed, to put your phone away and spend some time thanking God for the blessings of that day.  Take a break in the middle of doing homework or working on a project to pray, acknowledging that God is with you and that what you’re doing, however mundane it may seem, is for his glory.  When you get a text or see a post that makes you want to respond immediately in anger and frustration, take a break and turn to the Lord.  Jesus will give you rest and peace, and you can bring that peace with you when you go back into whatever situation it might be.  It’s also important to remember those who rarely get a break or a vacation, especially the poor.  A great way to do this may be to donate to a local Church or charitable organization in a city you’re visiting.  Remember to rest in Jesus this summer, whether or not you’re also on the beach!

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