At the beginning of mass today Fr. Joe Freedy invited us to lay down our burdens on the altar – to give them to Jesus for Him to take on. To free ourselves of suffering, guilt – whatever the burden may be.
And I wanted to lay down my burden. I wanted to just say “Here God. Take this from me. Help me with this.” But I was also sitting in a church near other people and didn’t want to bawl my eyes out in front of them. So instead I tried to not feel.
It was sad to know all I had to do was ask God to take the burden from me, but just not be able to do it because there were others around. And these were other people who I assume would understand (because they were at a Noon mass on a non-Sunday) — and as a community it shouldn’t be embarrassing to kneel and cry with others around while you are in prayer. But yet I just let my social self rule my spiritual self and I kept my burden in.
I also know that if it was just me – alone in the church with God I would enter into that deep prayer and freely give up my burden and let myself cry as much as I needed to cry. (I know this because I’ve done it before.) But instead I thought about having just one tissue in my pocket and not wanting to be so emotional around others.
Is my relationship with God as close as I think it is? I can see that it is not. I let myself and others get in the way of letting myself get close to God. And this wasn’t even people actively trying to stop me from being close to God – it was just their presence that scared me away.
Despite the invitation from Fr. Joe to lay down my burden I kept it held tight. Until I could be alone, away from others, out of sight except for being seen by God. This is not how He wants me to live for Him! He knew my burden, sent Fr. Joe to give me the message to turn it over to Him, and in my selfishness I clung to the burden as though keeping it in would be the better option.
Every moment God invites us to give Him whatever burdens we are carrying. He wants us to let go. The only burden He wants for us is for us to follow Him (and that burden is light, the yoke easy!) Now matter where we are or who we are with we just need to trust Him and give it to Him and not hold on to it. With God’s love and His strength we can see our burdens lifted off of us. The beautiful invitation is always open to us. We just have to be strong enough to let go.