The Lord Carries Our Burdens with Us

Most of us have come to know this beautiful poem called “Footprints in the Sand”:

One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.

This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You’d walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”

He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.”

 

How often do we take on the burdens of life; to figure out the concerns and challenges of each day, often thinking we are alone in all of this?  Even for those of us with strong faith when we face problems or difficulties, we can feel alone in them before we bring them totally and completely to the Lord.  When we do, we begin to see the joyful and freeing reality of today’s Gospel.  The Lord does not leave us alone.  He may not take away these troubles from us, but He is with us.  To follow Jesus in this way and to experience the truth of this Gospel, we really do need to trust Him.  We can’t believe that the Lord will lighten the burden for us unless we are forced to trust Him.

It is yet another joy of priesthood, to experience through those we minister to.  I have had a few of those burdens myself; experiencing the weight of being with my mom as she was dying, the weight of the challenges I faced while discerning and even at times the weight of certain parts of the priestly office.  These are light in comparison to others, but they were real burdens for me, and became lighter and most definitely manageable when I entrusted them to the Lord.  Even amid the sadness of losing my mom and other people in my life, I never lost my joy and sense of hope.  I carry my mom close to me as I speak about her in my homilies and reflections to this day.  I have brought the people that I care about; their cares and concerns with me to Holy Mass as I celebrate it.  I bring the things they ask for prayers for with me to my prayer time.  I ask the Lord to help me take the weight of the sins of others upon my shoulder as I hear their confessions.  As I put on the stole at Mass, at prayer time or when I am hearing confessions – that stole is a symbol and sign of the yoke I wear, the Yoke of Christ.  When I put it on, I pray for His strength, His Words, His Life.  And I trust that the Lord who loves us all will give this in abundance.

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