Gospel Meditation: My Yoke Is Easy
Today’s Gospel doesn’t lend itself well to imaginative prayer, so I offer a guided Ignatian meditation on this reading. This is an invitation to let the scripture enter into your heart and mind and speak personally to you. Ignatius said that meditation specifically engages our memory, thoughts, and will. We hear the word of God, and we ponder it, noticing any words, images, or ideas that speak to our hearts. And we speak to God about all of this.
If this way of praying is new – simply relax and try to become engaged in the scene. Try not to worry about what you are “supposed to” be doing. If you find yourself distracted during your prayer, very gently bring yourself back to the scripture text.
If at any point during the guided meditation the scripture comes to life in such a way that God invites to you stay with a particular moment, follow the invitation that you sense, rather than move on to where the written meditation is going. In that case you might want to stop reading and continue on your own.
Background to the text
The Gospel readings of the last two weeks gave us excerpts of Jesus’ encouragement, exhortation, and commissioning of the twelve disciples as they went out to preach the good news. After they left, Jesus himself went to preach in the surrounding towns, and today’s Gospel is an excerpt of that preaching. In the preceding verses, he criticizes the unrepentant towns and those who do not accept his message. Today’s reading sees Jesus focused on those who do accept his message, the “little ones,” who are also the ones he invites to rest in him and share his yoke.
Quiet your body and mind
- Choose a position where you can be relaxed but alert.
- Breathe deeply several times and let your body relax
- Breathe out any worries or stressful thoughts and put them in God’s hands
- Become aware of God’s presence here with you now, looking at you with love.
Ask for a grace
- Ask God for the the grace to be among the little ones who can take rest in Jesus.
Read the scripture passage
Read the passage slowly twice, savoring the words. The first time, just listen to get a sense of it, to hear what is being said. The second time, notice any word or phrase, image, or idea that speaks to your heart or “shimmers” for you. Stay with that word, image, or idea and ponder its meaning. Notice how it makes you feel. Savor the experience.
At that time Jesus exclaimed: “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”
“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.”
Jesus praises God for God’s revelation, which comes to the little ones, who can access this revelation in their vulnerability rather than their strength or skill. How are you among the little ones – the poor in spirit, the meek, the sick, the merciful, the persecuted?
How does God meet you in your littleness or vulnerability?
Jesus invites you, in your littleness, to come to him for rest, to give over your burden. What is burdening you now?
Can you let Jesus have that burden, so that you can rest in him?
Jesus’ says his burden is light and he will share it with you. His burden is his teaching of how to be in the world, meek and humble of heart, working to further the Reign of God. How do you feel about sharing this burden with Jesus?
How might Jesus help you to attend to your “littleness” so that you can be more open to God’s revelation, Jesus’s yoke, and resting in Jesus? Ask Jesus to help.
Take a few moments to talk with Jesus about all you have reflected on, and how you are feeling right now. When you are ready, close with a favorite prayer.
Review of Prayer
St. Ignatius recommends that we review our prayer. A written review has many advantages. It enables us to look back on our prayer experience, and to notice what happened. It allows us to be fully present to our experience of prayer. We do not write while we are praying. The review of prayer enables us not to judge ourselves or look for how well we are doing. It helps us to become more sensitive to how God is speaking to us in the here and now. It is also a precious record of our journey with God, which nourishes wholeness and integration.
Some questions to assist with your review:
What happened in your prayer?
What feelings did you experience?
During the prayer period, when did you feel encouraged?
When did you feel discouraged?
Did you receive the grace you asked for?
What did you receive?