All of us want a good life. And so we are
all manic every day, juggling meetings, emails,
voice mails, answering our cell phones, errands
in our lunch hour, micro waved dinners, all
at home eating in front of separate television
We have lost the ability to rest. Everyone
is busy. I feel so uncomfortable when people
start their conversation by telling me "I
know you are very busy, Father, but I need
to talk to you!" Is this the impression
I am giving, that I am very busy? How can
a shepherd of souls be ever busy for his
We definitely need a gentler approach to
life. In saying, "Come to me, all you
who labor and are heavily burdened, and I
will give you rest", Jesus Christ is
suggesting a road worth strolling through.
This road rests on two basic street signals:
Look Up and Give Up.
Robert Louis Stevenson, the Scottish author
of Treasure Island (1883) and Dr Jekyll and
Dr Hyde (1886) was very familiar with the
Pacific; he lived his last years in Samoa.
He was the one, himself a Protestant, who
defended Father Damien when he was accused
by the Protestant media of immoralities when
he was doing his sterling work among the
lepers in Molokai, Hawaii.
Once he spoke of a storm that caught a vessel
off a rocky coast and threatened to drive
the ship to ruin. In the midst of all this
panic, one man went to the deck, made a dangerous
passage to the pilot quarters and saw the
helmsman, at his post holding the wheel steadfastly,
and inch by inch, turning the ship out, once
more, to sea. The pilot saw the watcher and
smiled. Then, the daring passenger went below
and gave out a note of cheer: "I have
seen the face of the pilot, and he smiled.
All is well."
If we want to rest, we need to understand
that we are not the captain or the pilot
of our ship. He is. My family is His family.
My job is His job. My Church is His Church.
My children are His children. My marriage
is His marriage. He is even interested in
what I do more than I am myself. This takes
a big load from our mind. We can relax.
So, look up all the time. Above, there is
a sky and the sky is a symbol of heaven.
After serving as a missionary for many years
in Africa, this missionary had to return
home because he was very sick. It just happened
that on the same huge ocean liner, there
was President Teddy Roosevelt returning to
the States after a grand African Safari.
Many people and photographers were waiting
the President of the United Sates at the
New York harbor. No one however was waiting
for this missionary.
Bitterness seized the missionary and turning
to God, he exclaimed, "I have come back
home after all this time and service to the
church and there is no one, not even one
person here to welcome me home."
A still small voice (his guardian angel?)
answered back inside him, saying "You're
not home yet." How true!
Heaven breathes new energy in what we are
doing. And teaches us how to hand over our
problems to the big shoulders of our God.
There are different versions of this story.
The latest one I heard comes with a Chamorro
background. A pastor in Guam in order to
underscore Jesus' invitation to rest, used
the following parable. The driver of a carabao
(his Latin name is Bubalus bubalis!) wagon
was on his way to the market when he overtook
an old woman carrying a heavy load. Feeling
sorry for her, he invited the woman to ride
in the wagon. Gratefully she accepted. After
a few minutes, the driver turned to see how
the woman was doing. To his surprise, he
found her still straining under the heavy
weight, for she had not taken the burden
off his shoulders.
How many times we do the same mistake! We
fail to pass on to Him our burdens. We carry
on in life wanting to solve our problems,
wanting to fix our troubles, never even bothering
to get His opinion! The results are often
anxiety, depression, despair, and even sickness
"Cast your cares on the Lord and he
will sustain you; he will never let the righteous
fall" says the psalmist (Psalm 55:22).
Give Up. Stop carrying the burdens just on
But how am I going to do this? Jesus said
it, "Come to me". Choose to sit
at his feet and listen to His words and learn
from Him. He will give you the same reassurance
that the Prophet Habakkuk had:
"Though the fig tree does not bud and
there are no grapes on the vines, though
the olive crop fails and the fields produce
no food, though there are no sheep in the
pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will
rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in
God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer
and enables me to go on the heights."
Let us enjoy the ride!
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
hereby granted for any non-commercial
provided that the content is unaltered
its original state, if this copyright