By Fr. Roy Cimagala
THAT’S what Christ clearly said. “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest,” he said. (Mt 11,28) For those who try to follow Christ faithfully and are burdened as can be expected, they should find consolation in these words of his. He also reassured them that they should be unafraid to take Christ’s yoke for as he said, “my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Mt 11,30)
We really need to know what our proper rest really is. Nowadays, people have different and even conflicting ideas about what it is. For some it is purely something physical. For others, it is more on the emotional and psychological side.
There are those who think that resting is doing what they like to do at the moment, enjoying a peaceful moment, sipping a favorite drink. Still others believe it is having the sensation of letting go of something that weighs heavily on their mind and heart. There still are others who think that is about achieving a goal they had set out for themselves.
All of these, of course, have their valid points. But I believe there is still a higher metric that would best define what our proper rest is and that would somehow integrate all these other ideas about rest. And that is whether we manage to be with God at the end of the day—or of our life.
We have to realize that true rest can be found only in Christ. The rest that he gives us is not only physical. It is the rest that includes all the aspects of our life—emotional, psychological, mental, moral and spiritual. We need to broaden our understanding of rest to go beyond the physical dimension.
Christ offers us the due rest for our soul that can be harassed by the problems of this world and the requirements of our lifelong pursuit for holiness and apostolate. (cfr. Mt 11,29) This is the real rest that is indeed meant for us. Short of this, our rest would be at best only apparent, and cannot cope with the over-all demands and pressures of our life.
For this he advises us to learn from him, particularly in his meekness and humility. I imagine that these virtues were highlighted because they are the ones that would open the gates of our soul to receive God’s grace, to be guided by faith rather than simply by our senses and emotions and even by our intellectual powers.
We have to see to it that our search for rest should not get stuck in the level of our physical, emotional and intellectual conditions. This is a crucial point because the entry point in our process of knowing is through our senses, instincts and emotions, before things get processed by our intellect.
And things do not just end there in our intellect. We have to see to it that our intellect, which does not create the truth but can only recognize and express it, be enlightened and inspired by the ultimate source of truth, which is our faith.
Faith is a God-given view of the all the truths that we need to know. It is God revealing and sharing his knowledge of things with us. It is God sharing his powers with us. We just should not be guided by our own lights and faculties, but rather by the light God gives us through the gift of faith. With this faith in God as revealed to us in full by Christ, we can find our true rest!