Gospel Matthew 11:25-30
At that time Jesus exclaimed:
"I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to little ones.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows the Son except the Father,
and no one knows the Father except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him."
"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light."
+Come Holy 'Spirit beloved of my soul, enlighten me guide me strengthen me and console me. Tell me what I ought to do and command me to do it. I promise to be submissive to your voice Amen
Slowly read this Gospel passage, if possible out loud. Listen well. What do you hear? What stands out to you? What image or Word? Is it related to something happening right now in your life? Find a place of silence and solitude, it will help you listen, maybe its the back porch or maybe the car while you wait for someone in the store, but its important to be alone with Jesus.
For the purpose of this Lectio Divina, I would love to draw your attention to the 'movement and posture' of a 'little one.'
Look at the images above, what stands out to you? Look at the first.....take your time. Now look at the second. Pray about it, don't rush ahead right now, stay here and ponder these two images above.
Which 'little one' seems to have 'freedom of movement?' Why do you suppose that is? Do you notice where the child is, in the second picture? In the second picture the child is in the arms of his Father. To 'come' is to move from where I am, in the direction of the One who is beckoning me to come to Him. 'Coming' essentially then is a 'movement.' I love this Gospel, there are words and images that rise for me. Let me just underline a few and add a thought or two with them. Remain wherever you find yourself naturally pausing. Be with Him in your heart.
1) "At that time Jesus exclaimed; I give praise to you Father" Watch Jesus and listen to Jesus speak to the Father, watch how Jesus speaks to the Father, listen to Him. In this scene, Be there with Jesus-We are entering into the 'flow of Love' between the Father and the Son. What do you see in Jesus face? Do you see joy, peace, freedom and 'child-likeness?' What does His voice sound like? LIsten. What is Jesus saying to the Father? Why is He praising Him?
2) "Lord of heaven and earth" There is an acknowledgment here of the Father's dominion-His reign both in heaven and also here on earth. Jesus is making it clear to us that both heaven and earth rest under the Father's dominion. He is acknowledging the Father's Presence in both and His Providence in both in the midst of things, that we find ourselves in, right now.
3) "For although you've hidden.....you have revealed" I love the contrast of what the Father is doing and what our Lord Jesus is praising. Jesus is praising what appears to us, a great 'mystery' yet is realized by our Lord as Wisdom. Look at the movements, of 'hiding' and 'revealing'. Observe to whom these great mysteries are revealed. What is a 'little one?' Is it merely a child of 2-5 years or age, or is there a greater Truth we are being led into? Here we also observe the correct 'posture' of a child of God, that of Praise, flowing from a heart filled with Love and Trust. Acknowledging the Father's hand in both; that which I understand and that which remains a mystery to me. If all is ordered or permitted by my Heavenly Father then I must praise God's wondrous and mysterious ways that perhaps pull the greatest faith out of me, in this moment of pain, suffering trial and stillness, as both originate from Him.
4) Observe how many times "Father" is mentioned....stay with that and ponder this revelation of the Father through the Son, Jesus is drawing our focus to the Father, why? What are we meant to learn and imitate in our relationship with our Father in heaven?
5) "Come to Me" That 'beckoning' call- "Come to Me" requires my acute listening. I must listen to the One voice that calls me, I must heed that One voice and 'come.' I must Trust that One voice, as the voice of Love-the voice of our Lord. All of this requires 'action' on my part and movement. This is a movement in the heart. I must move forward to Him, when He calls me to come close, in times of trial, temptation, interior pain and loneliness. In times of misunderstanding and frustration with myself and others. In times of doubt and fear and apparent failure. I must move towards him and not remain where I am, curled up in a ball, trembling in fear. I must desire to 'reach' for his arms and come to Him. The movement towards Jesus is always a movements towards the Father. Ponder the tenderness of the call, listen to His voice, it is not harsh, nor gruff, it is tender and strong: "Come to Me." It strikes me, that a parent often says to a little one; "come" countless times in one day. (Come here, don't touch that, come here, I want to put a bandaid on that, come here, I want to wash your hands, come here, let me help you, come here I will carry you, come here, I asked you to listen to me, the list goes one....") When a little one moves forward and 'comes' to the Father, the Father takes care of the child's best interests and needs. So too with us.
6) "You will find rest" What a beautiful promise, listen to the word 'will'. There is a promise here.... what is it? Rest of spirit! What does that mean, and what does that 'rest' of spirit produce? Peace! And Peace is the Mother of Love!
7) "Learn from Me" There is a second gift and that is an imparting of knowledge- a lesson to be learned that will help us in the future. In His arms, when we come to Him, the rest He gives us, also enables us to open our heart fearlessly, to Truth and what we need to learn. It makes me think of a tiny child who touches a burner and cries and cries. Her Father says, "come" let me kiss your finger. And she comes over and he kisses her finger and then he holds her in his arms and she is comforted and then the Father whispers in her ear: "next time honey, don't touch that burner like that, watch me and he shows by placing his hand high above it to see if it is hot. She is in his arms while He teaches her, she is in his lap. She is so close to Him. That is you and me.
8) "Learn from Me, for I am meek and humble of heart." We must learn the great lesson of how to be "little" truly acknowledging our littleness, our interior poverty, or helplessness in overcoming the evils within us, the effects of original sin. We must look Him right in the eye and learn to acknowledge who I am, and who He is and rejoice in this great Truth, that I am child, beloved by the Father. The more we believe this, the greater the freedom we possess. A great mystery. We don't need to acquire anything in order to be more free, we just need to allow the Truth to penetrate our being, the Truth carries Love.
9) Look again at the pictures- stay with Jesus, Listen to Jesus
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, I love you. Grant me the grace to remember that I am a beloved child of the Father, precious to Him. His arms are wide open beckoning me to come close. Jesus I love you, teach me about the Love in the Father's heart for me. Amen