The Comfortable Words

Our Lenten liturgy contains a section called “The Comfortable Words.”  After confession and the Kyrie, the priest utters these words: “Hear the words of comfort our Savior Christ says to all who truly turn to him: Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest…”

The liturgy continues, but I usually find myself meditating on the first sentence.  You see, I have a terrible habit of becoming heavy laden.  No doubt there are many contributing factors, but the fact remains that I regularly take on my burdens and the burdens of others and try to bear them on my own.  Sometimes I manage it semi-successfully; I have years of practice and have built up pretty good burden-bearing muscles.  Sometimes I’m like Boxer, the horse in Animal Farm, who thinks that the answer is always “I will work harder.”  But other times (especially during Lent, when coping mechanisms are stripped away), I fall flat on my face.

In those times, the Comfortable Words are comfort indeed.  I’m not supposed to bear burdens on my own and the solution is not always to work harder.  “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden,” Jesus says, “and I will give you rest.”