December 7, 2016 (readings)
- Memorial of Saint Ambrose, bishop and doctor of the Church
- Father Walter Schu, LC
Jesus said to the crowds: “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.”
Introductory Prayer: Lord, you know the sincerity of my desire to spend this time with you. As I begin this meditation, I believe that you are here with me, that you never abandon me. Because I love you, my one wish is to please and console you in your solitude in the tabernacle. I hope in the boundless mercy that motivated your incarnation. May we one day meet again in your heavenly kingdom.
Petition: Mary, you who are the perfect model of humility, help me to be meek and humble like Christ your Son, who out of love for me became a helpless infant at Bethlehem.
1. Who Is This Man? Who is this man who stands before us in this Gospel—the man whose gaze has penetrated into the most secret recesses of our souls and discovered what lies hidden there? A man who recognizes that we labor, that we are burdened by the demands of life, weighed down by our sins and imperfections, straining under the load of our passions and unfulfilled desires. Who is this man who would dare promise what we have always longed for in the inner sanctuaries of our consciences, yet never quite allowed ourselves to hope for? Who could utter such a simple, gentle, and appealing invitation, more than we could ever find ourselves worthy of: “Come to me… and I will give you rest”? Who but God himself?
2. How Can We Come to Him? How can we accept the invitation of the one who is God become man? How can we come to him? How can we attain what our souls have longed for all the days of our existence? Christ himself gives us the answer: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.” He is so humble that he does not even wait for us to respond to his invitation. He humbles himself so that he can first come to us at Christmas. To discover how to turn to him with our heavy burden of selfishness and unrestrained passions, we can first approach the manger where the King of Kings lies so helplessly.
3. A Mystery of Humility and Love: Bethlehem is a mystery of humility and love. Doesn’t Christ seem humble to you, reduced to the state of a helpless infant? Without words or speeches he teaches a living lesson we need to feel with all the intensity of which we are capable, allowing the consequences to spring forth on their own. Can we imagine any other state in which the goodness and humility of God radiate more clearly? Before this helpless child, who is God Incarnate out of love for us, we are reduced to silent wonder. All vain ambitions fade, all anger and bitter passion soften and all idle pursuits are driven far from our hearts. The yoke that burdened us, the rod of our taskmaster, is smashed and it is replaced by the light and easy yoke of love.
Conversation with Christ: Lord, help me to penetrate more deeply into the mystery of your becoming a helpless and innocent child at Bethlehem for me. Help me to grow in goodness of heart so I can radiate your goodness to those around me.
Resolution: On my way to and from work today, I will contemplate Christ meek and humble in the manger at Bethlehem. I will imitate his loving humility in my own life and have the confidence to turn to him for help with my failings.
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