“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11)
Lately, I find it easy to get angry because life is hard and daily life is messy and the world sometimes seems unforgiving and harsh.
And I feel angry because Jesus told us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
I know this isn’t Jesus promising an easy, successful life. I know He isn’t preaching material prosperity and comfort. But what is He promising? It seems impossible to find ease and light if one is to follow His command to take up the cross and follow Him. (Matthew 16)
How could a cross be easy and light? Christ Himself struggled and agonized and suffered on the road to Golgotha. His cross was not easy and light. It was heavy and huge. It brought suffering and death. It brought darkness and grief to His mother and disciples as they stood at its foot. It hurt. It bled. It killed.
But that isn’t the end, for the cross is more than heavy suffering. It is the way of love. Our Lord took up His cross so that our cross might be easy and light. This doesn’t mean that our momentary suffering ought not hurt. It is heavy, and hard. Yet it is heavy with a weight of glory that will be revealed to us. It is heavy with love and eternal life.
Rest comes for our souls when we pick up our cross and follow Jesus down the Way of Sorrow to the hill of Calvary. For there The Cross stands, our crosses so small in comparison. There we see that our cross is a yoke, yes. It is a burden, yes. But it is a yoke tying us to love. It is a burden bringing us life.
And we can walk this road because Christ already has.
“When we know that the way of love–this exodus, this going out of oneself–is the true way by which man becomes human, then we also understand that suffering is the process through which we mature. Anyone who has inwardly accepted suffering becomes more mature and more understanding of others, becomes more human. Anyone who has consistently avoided suffering does not understand other people; he becomes hard and selfish.” (Joseph Ratzinger)