WE HAVE TO KNOW what true rest is and how we can have it. There are now many ideas about what and how it should be, all of them giving us some truth about rest, but there can only be one real definition of rest and one proper way of having it. We should know the real truth about rest.

Christ said it clearly. “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.” (Mt 11,28-30)

These words from the very pattern of our humanity tell us that we can find true rest only in Christ, and that rest can come to us if we do and bear the yoke and burden of Christ which, according to him, are easy and light.

In other words, if we would just do our own things, we cannot really have the true rest offered to us by Christ. We may have some sensation of rest, according to some worldly standards, but it would not be the real one. It can even be a sweet poison as it can lead us to some dangers in an attractive way.

If we do and bear the yoke and burden of Christ, rest is assured, even if along the way we can encounter pain and suffering. That Christ suffered and died and then resurrected should give us the assurance that our real rest is assured as long as we do everything together with him and for him.

This Christ-given rest can only come to us if we, first of all, have a living faith in the things of God. Without that faith, there is no way we can manage to do the things of God and get its assured rest and reward.

We have to understand then that we can have our real rest only in and with God. It’s a rest that goes beyond the merely physical, mental, emotional aspects of rest. It goes beyond simply having some social peace in the world.

It is a rest that is mainly spiritual and supernatural, an effect of grace rather than just worldly and natural elements. It is a rest that can be had in all situations, conditions and circumstances in life. It’s an all-weather kind of rest.

Christ offers us the due rest for our soul that can be harassed by the problems of this world and the requirements of our lifelong pursuit for holiness and apostolate. (cfr. Mt 11,29) This is the real rest that is indeed meant for us. Short of this, our rest would be at best only apparent, and cannot cope with the over-all demands and pressures of our life.

For this he advises us to learn from him, particularly in his meekness and humility. I imagine that these virtues were highlighted because they are the ones that would open the gates of our soul to receive God’s grace, to be guided by faith rather than simply by our senses and emotions and even by our intellectual powers. We have to see to it that our search for rest should not get stuck in the level of our physical, emotional and intellectual conditions alone. By Fr. Roy Cimagala (EV Mail July 10-16, 2023 issue)