“GOD-BEARING” FATHERS

Saturday, February 17, 2018

All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am meek and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Mt 11: 27-30)

 

The reading quoted above is for this Saturday preceding Lent, the Saturday of All the “God-Bearing” (θεο-φόροι, бого-носные) Fathers, i.e., the great ascetics who came to “bear” or to carry God within themselves, dedicating their lives entirely to God-focused fasting and prayer. They left the ranks of “all who labor and are heavy laden” with merely-human concerns, and chose instead to take on the “light burden” of God and His crucified-and-resurrected Son. 

 

As I transition to Lent, the great season of God-focused fasting and prayer, let me leave the ranks of “all who labor and are heavy laden” with merely-human concerns, like resentments and self-centered fears, and embrace God as my primary focus. The wonderful thing about “carrying” or “bearing” God, which makes His burden “light,” is that His Son carries it with me, on the cross-carrying journey that He has shared with me. So let me surrender to Him the burdens of self-isolation and self-reliance, letting His burden be mine, and mine His. As I prepare for Forgiveness Sunday tomorrow, I hand over to Him any resentments I’ve been schlepping around, either toward others or myself, and open my heart to His grace. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me,” the Lord says to me today, “for I am meek and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

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