Come to Me...

St. Anthony the hermit was relaxing with his disciples outside his hut when a hunter came by. The hunter was surprised and mildly shocked to see the saint taking it easy.   This was not his idea of what a monk should be doing, and he rebuked the saint.  But Anthony said, "Bend your bow and shoot an arrow."  The hunter did so. "Bend it again and shoot another," said Anthony.  The hunter did so-- again and again.  At last the hunter said, “Father Anthony, if I keep my bow always stretched, it will break." "So, it is with a monk," replied Anthony. "If we push ourselves beyond measure, we will break; it is right from time to time to relax our efforts."

A few years ago, Comprehensive Care Corporation of Tampa, Florida published a booklet about stress in our modern world. The facts are disturbing.

(1) One out of four (that’s 25% of Americans) suffers from mild to moderate depression, anxiety, loneliness and other painful symptoms that are attributed mainly to stress.

(2) Four out of five adult family members see a need for less stress in their daily lives.

(3) Approximately half of all diseases can be linked to stress-related origins, including ulcers, colitis, bronchial asthma, high blood pressure and some forms of cancer.

(4) Unmanaged stress is a leading factor in homicides, suicides, child abuse, spouse abuse and other aggravated assaults.

(5) The problem of stress is taking a tremendous toll economically, also. Americans are now spending $64.9 billion a year trying to deal with the issue of stress.

That is why Jesus gave us the “Good News” when He said: “Come to me all of you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

It seems to me that “to rest” is an act of humility.  Knowing rest is needed requires the acceptance of our own limitations.  I always tell people that we have to learn to be human.  To be human is to allow ourselves to accept all our feelings, weaknesses, and limitations.  We are not Super-man or angels.  It is only through accepting our humanness that we realize we need a Savior in our lives.  Humility is ultimately about accepting God as God and ourselves as human beings.

When we humble ourselves, and learn to be human, we truly hear and accept Jesus comforting embrace: “Come to me…”

Kathryn Richards