Thursday, July 14, 2016

My Soul Yearns for You

By Beth DeCristofaro

The way of the just is smooth; the path of the just you make level. Yes, for your way and your judgments, O LORD, we look to you; Your name and your title are the desire of our souls. My soul yearns for you in the night, yes, my spirit within me keeps vigil for you (Isaiah 26:7-9)

Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

Prayer in Mohawk Language

Anyone who knows the story of St. Kateri might wonder at her feast day celebrated with these readings.  Kateri was born in what is now upstate New York and orphaned at the age of 4.  She survived smallpox but with such scarring and impaired eyesight that she was named "Tekakwitha," which means "she who bumps into things."  She was raised by an anti-Christian uncle who wanted her to marry despite her desire to dedicate herself to God.  Although her family finally relented, allowing her to be baptized Catholic at 18 years old, she endured many years of ridicule and abuse by the community.  Finally, Kateri escaped, walking many miles to a Jesuit settlement where she lived out the rest of her young life in prayer, ascetic practice, and gentle kindness to all.

The way of the just is smooth?  The human condition does not guarantee a yellow brick road.  We regularly suffer, doubt, ache, rage unrelentingly, lose.  smooth?  Humans die.  Their life ends and often before it does it diminishes, becomes uncontrollable, becomes unrecognizable and perhaps appears to border on meaningless.  Smooth?  People are betrayed, terrorized, hunted, trafficked, abused, disrespected.  Smooth?

We need to read on beyond the promise of “smooth.”  We need to see that our soul desires not the smoothness of youth, success, long productive life or even satisfactory human roles.  We do not rest, we do not experience “smooth” until we rest in our truest home of homes, Jesus the Christ.  Kateri, young, burdened and alone knew and strived for this.  She died in the arms of her Lord, smoothly entering into the place prepared for her

As we encounter our next struggle or ponder present hurdles, are we able to know our Brother Jesus is at our side, smoothing the path by divine love, guidance, and fortitude?  If we cannot find Him can we hope He is there?  The yoke becomes much lighter with an assist from Him in whom all are truly themselves and all are at rest in His peace.

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