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I Will Give You Rest

“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.”

From Sunday’s Gospel from Matthew 11:25-30

Did you know that although she did not complete advanced studies in theology, St. Therese of Liseaux, the cloistered Carmelite sister commonly known as the “Little Flower” who died at the young age of 24, is one of the Doctors of the Church? She’s in good company alongside St. Augustine, St. Jerome, St. Thomas Aquinas and other learned saints. The Gospel verse above truly applies to her since it was not through ardurous study, although she knew and reflected upon holy scriptures in depth, but more from spiritual revelation received through prayer and contemplation that she was filled with wisdom from above. Her spirituality, sometimes called the “little way” embraced doing ordinary things in an extraordinary way, full of care, attention and love.

Jesus’ reference to the wise and learned not understanding his message may be a reference to the Scribes and Pharisees who were well versed in theology but not open to Jesus’ message. Sacra Pagina’s commentary on The Gospel of Matthew describes the little ones, or in the direct Greek translation is nepioi or “infant”, as “Jesus’ disciples who hear him and perceive his significance. The term is similar to “little ones” as a way of referring to Jesus’ followers. Despite their lack of social standing and expertise in religious matters (the domain of the wise and understanding) the “infants” perceive and understand.” [Sacra Pagina: The Gospel of Matthew pg 167]. The passage continues as Jesus calls those who are burdened to carry his yoke, as opposed to that of the Pharisees, which is lighter because he simplified the obligations of the old law and replaced them with a new covenant. We pray we may be open to receiving the wisdom that comes from above and that we may invoke Jesus’ assistance in helping us carry whatever burdens weigh us down. As verse 30 states: “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

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