Grace to you!
Consider how you feel after long hours of deep, uninterrupted sleep. You awake feeling well rested. You’re refreshed and rejuvenated; aren’t you?
Rest is a powerful human experience. Rest after work or rest from worries is refreshing. We’re wired to rest after work.
Rest points to peace or it’s aligned to it. Using the deep sleep analogy above, you would notice that if you aren’t at peace with your situation or a particular event of the day, it could affect your rest. Many times, it affects your sleep as well. It is difficult for a troubled heart to have a refreshing rest. We need peace to rest well. We need peace for a joyful life.
Rest also happens in the spirit. When the joy of the Lord fills our heart, we experience in small ways the heavenly happiness, joy and peace. We feel at rest. As St. Augustine says, “our hearts find rest in the Lord.” This rest is a preview of the fulness of joy and peace the believer will experience during our final homecoming in heaven.
In our day to day activities as believers, we see that such peace manifests in joyful life and expressions. It is the joy of the Lord. For those who experience this rest, they know it’s far more than any pleasure or refreshment worldly things could offer.
The Letter to the Hebrews (4:1-5) speaks of rest. As I pointed out yesterday, that rest or “place of rest” or “God’s rest” as adapted by the text, uses Moses’ typology of the journey of Israel in the wilderness in the Book of Exodus, and points us to eternal rest through faith in Christ. It points to when we will see God face to face.
The Letter to the Hebrews presents faith and fidelity to God through grace as the access code to this rest. It is faith in the Christ, whose life is the rest and in whom one has that eternal sabbath (rest). The 19th century Christian poet, Margaret Mackay, in her 1832 lyrics, “Asleep in Jesus! Blessed Sleep” captures in poetic verses, some of the qualities of this sleep for those who pass in the Lord. Beautiful old hymn.
There is a temporal dimension to this rest too. The rest isn’t simply something we have to achieve in the final homecoming. We begin it now. We begin to experience it now too.
For the believer, we have deep within our heart and soul the peace and rest that go with faith in the risen Lord. We are content. Such contentment is a sign of that rest. We have peace of soul, the kind granted to those whose ways are pleasing to the Lord. As the Lord says, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you” (Jn 14:27).
What we are to witness in the eternal sabbath we already witness and see in the here and now, though, as St. Paul says, “In a mirror dimly” (1 Cor 13:12).
In other words, the rest is a process whose final fulfilment is when we will see the Lord face to face, having kept faith lived in charity.
I pray for you in a special way today: May God grant you the grace of inner peace; remove from you, obstacles to inner peace and joy; and grant you the grace to overcome. Bless you with peace and contentment, so your present moment will be a taste of the joy to come. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Friday Week 1 Ordinary Time: Heb 4:1-5, 11; Mk 2:1-12]
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.