Come to me, all you who labour and are burdened. . . .
A woman in a wheel chair in the geriatric psychiatric unit of a major city hospital was suffering from numerous physical and mental ailments. She often exhibited a bad temper and was verbally abusive to staff. The only family member remaining was her husband who was too ill to visit her.
A chaplain intern, an ordinand on assignment for the summer, was walking by her on his way to a scheduled visit when she barked a vitriolic remark referring to his clerical garb.
The intern calmly began to engage her in conversation and listened as she enumerated her many troubles. Finally, kneeling beside the wheel chair, he asked if she would like to hear part of the day's Gospel reading. She agreed and listened silently and intently to the words of Jesus, spoken slowly and gently:
"Come to me all you who labour and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light."
(Matthew 11:28, 30)
A profusion of tears began to flow. The woman had accepted Jesus' invitation to come to Him, to give Him her burden, to find rest.
The chaplain intern realized that he had just witnessed Jesus touching this woman's heart and soul. The intern also knew that he himself had very little to do with it.
"Any other burden weighs down, but Christ's gives you wings."
(St. Augustine, Sermons, 126, 12)
Father Ed Bakker,
Anglican Catholic Church/ Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne