I knew I was listened to, a sacred listening that required no actual words.

December 8, 2021

Psalm 103:1-10 | Isaiah 40:25-31 | Matthew 11:28-30

Growing up, I was welcomed at the neighborhood Catholic church, or at least I felt I was, regardless of the fact that services were only either in Latin or Lithuanian; I stopped by the church almost daily, every afternoon on my walk home from school. Even now I remember the peace and comfort I felt entering the church as the heavy doors closed behind me. Choosing the pew I would sit or kneel in; although I was alone, I knew I was safe, and in a place where I could rest on my way home. Even on sunny days, it was mostly dark inside the church, lighting was minimal, except for the votive candles glowing at the foot of the life size crucifix. As dark as the interior was, it was equally as quiet. The silence felt immense, creating a sense of mystery for me. In that moment I knew I was listened to, a sacred listening that required no actual words.

In Matthew’s gospel for today, Jesus asks us to experience God in a way similar to my childhood experience. Jesus invites us, “Come to me, all of you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” We are invited, all of us, to God’s love. A love beyond the understanding of the mind. A love that always was, is, and always will be. I am grateful to be invited to that love, a love that is happening in every moment of every day. Equally, I am delighted the invitation is extended to all, that is, “all who are weary and carrying heavy burdens.” Since I know of no one who has escaped that experience, I venture to guess that means all of us. The presence of God is in every moment, we simply need to say yes to the invitation. Yes, to facing God in one another, and in all of creation. Yes, to the serenity of resting in God’s love.

Leonard Cohen, songwriter and poet, captures the essence of our invitation to rest in the love and mercy of God in several of the excerpts from his poem – “Come Healing.”

O gather up the brokenness
And bring it to me now
The fragrance of those promises
You never dared to vow . . .

The splinters that you carry
The cross you left behind
Come healing of the body
Come healing of the mind . . .

Behold the gates of mercy
In arbitrary space
And none of us deserving
The cruelty or the grace . . .

O solitude of longing
Where love has been confirmed
Come healing of the body
Come healing of the mind . . .

O see the darkness yielding
That tore the light apart
Come healing of the reason
Come healing of the heart . . .
O let the heavens hear it
The penitential hymn
Come healing of the spirit
Come healing of the limb . . .

Patricia Warburton

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