Saturday, August 4, 2018
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30
Clergy when in traditional vestments usually have a length of cloth draped over their shoulders. This vestment called a “stole” is actually a symbolic representation of a yoke placed around a beast of burden. It is the symbol of ordination that signifies that this soul now does the work of the Lord as a pastor and preacher. Obviously, this is drawn from this passage in the Gospel of Matthew …”Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me … learn from teachings and the echoing of my teachings, learn from doing the work I send you now to do, learn from being obedient in the practice of holy Love, learn from the moments you will experience in my service.”
But today I focus on the words of self-revealing spoken by Christ … “for I am gentle and humble in heart”. Christ confesses that His heart is gentle and humble, and then in extension, we who live of Christ also would have hearts that are gentle and humble. But I find this is not always the case with people … even people like me.
I am gentle of heart … a gentle touch, a gentle word, a gentle manner, a gentle breeze … to be not harsh or violent, overly stern or heavy-handed…
I am humble of heart … an honest awareness of self, neither haughty, boastful, nor arrogantly proud, the posture of a servant, a deference to the value of others …
Yet … some expressions of the Christianity instead promise worldly riches and honors, fame and celebrity, harsh condemnation, and heavy-handed ways. They turn the humble King who was Christ into self-indulgent and sword-wielding crusader. They cast aside the qualities of humility and gentleness so that they might vault themselves into realms of self-glorification. Oh, they rationalize it, explain it away, even denigrate these qualities of humility and gentleness … and thus abandon the spirit of the One who teaches by sharing the work of the yoke.
Learn from me, Christ pleads … but, too often, we learn from everyone else but Christ.
Always in Christ’s Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz