Well, the Christmas season is at an end. The decorations are slowly being put up or already packed. The leftover food is getting to the point that it really needs to be eaten or thrown out. You’ve made – or think you need to make – your New Year’s resolutions, but this ritual usually brings a feeling of insecurity because of all of the resolutions in the past that you never kept.
But, the reality is your greatest need is rest.
During orientation for visitors at the Abbey of Gethsemani, home of the famous 20th century monk Thomas Merton, the monks speak of all the prayer times, meal times in silence, and the like. But, there is a small speech or laid-back homily that goes something like this from the guestmaster monk:
“We have found over the years of opening up our monastery to visitors that most of our guests that live beyond our home are so very busy. Most people come here seeking to be closer to God, but they treat their time here as an extension of their normal lives. So, they attend every single hour of worship at 3:15 a.m., 5:45 a.m., 6:15 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 12:15 p.m., 2:15 p.m., 5:30 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. You can imagine how this schedule would be grueling for those who have not created this rhythm in their lives. So we have found most guests need to simply sleep and rest for a good two days, before they are able to commune most effectively with God.”
When we think about the year ahead, and as we watch videos reviewing the past year on the Internet and TV, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Give yourself the greatest blessing you can:
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)