“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” -Matthew 11:28
What comes to mind when you read the word rest? Maybe you think of sleep, even if you have times you awake feeling unrested. Perhaps you thought of halting, as if the only way to rest would be to stop everything you are doing. You may have associated it with retreat, where the only way to rest would be to remove yourself from the everyday busyness that you can’t escape otherwise.
When working in ministry, it can be hard to rest. There is always something to be done, something coming up or ongoing planning for the future within your ministry. Add to that your personal and family commitments outside of ministry and it can be difficult to find time and space to rest. We work to help other people find rest and solace when they seek time to pray and nourish their faith, but it is important that we rest ourselves.
Pope Francis recognized this in a General Audience in 2018:
"The words of the Decalogue seek and find the crux of the problem, casting a different light on what rest is. The commandment has a particular element: it provides a motive. Rest in the name of the Lord has a precise reason: “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it” (Ex 20:11).
This takes us back to the end of creation, when God says: “God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Gen 1:31). And so begins the day of rest, which is God’s joy for all that he has created. It is the day of contemplation and blessing.
What, then, is rest according to this commandment? It is the moment of contemplation, it is the moment of praise, not that of escapism. It is the time to look at reality and say: how beautiful life is! Contrary to rest as an escape from reality, the Decalogue proposes rest as the blessing of reality."
Let this serve as an invitation to rest today, relying on the Lord and seeing the blessings all around. Sit before our Lord in eucharistic adoration. Turn on a song that helps calm you and brings you peace. Take time to journal. No matter where you’re at today, no matter what you’re feeling, take a moment and rest in him.