"Come to me, all you who are weary and heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart; you will find rest for your souls. My yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30
The simple fact of the matter is that Jesus absolutely said that following him would be easy. He said that in him, we would find rest. He said that the burden he would impose would be merely light, not heavy.
|actual photo of me as a christian|
Yes, he told us to take up our crosses. Yes, he assured us that we would suffer for his name. Yes, he insisted that only those who persevered to the end would be saved. He said all these and more. He never said it would be easy to follow him.
Except he did.
What are we to make of this? I honestly don't know. I just don't. I'm sorry, I can't help you with that one. I don't know everything. I don't need to pretend to know everything. And I don't need the constant mantra of tired cliches and platitudes clouding my walk with Christ. Perhaps we lack what made Christ's cross bearable: "the joy set before him." Or perhaps we lack the virtue of hope, or even true charity, in our hearts and in our minds. But shouldn't grasping those things be easy? Didn't Jesus say this would all be easy?
It isn't easy to be chaste. It isn't easy to believe half, if not more, of the people we love are living in mortal sin. It's hard to be anti-abortion. It's hard to believe marriage was ordained by God to be between one man and one woman. It's hard to believe souls go to hell. It's hard. It's hard to give up our pride and our flesh and our desires and our temptations and our friendships and our hearts and our lives. It's hard.
And he said it would be easy.
I don't have any Joel Osteen style sermon to offer. I thoroughly do not believe that being a Christian is easy. I believe that Catholicism is true. I believe that Christ died for sinners and rose to give us new life. I believe that to be united to Christ is to be united to him in his death. This doesn't feel easy. I'm tempted to offer yet another mindless teaspoon of empty comfort, something along the lines of "feeling easy and being easy are two different things," but that isn't true, is it? To be easy, something has to feel easy. And Christianity isn't easy.
But he said it would be easy.
I don't know. I have no other choice but to believe in the words of Jesus Christ. After all, to quote my patron, "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." He alone. I love him. I trust him. But it's not easy.
"You have faith in God. Have faith also in me," he echoes through the tender pages of the blessed book of John. Okay. We will. But you said it would be easy. And it isn't. And people are leaving you for it. So what are you going to do about it?