This time of year is no doubt one of if not the most tiring of all seasons. In this Diocese, the driving alone can be cause for growing weary. After a month of travel with very few breaks along the way, along with the demands that continue beyond the regular diet of celebrating Confirmations, I am glad to be home for a few days. A song of years past seems to be my mantra in prayer this morning: “Your arms may grow weary, your shoes will wear thin, come with me into the fields.” (“Come with me into the fields” by Dan Schutte)
Growing weary is a physical experience every person knows, some more regularly than others. This exhaustion can come from physical exertion or from emotional strain, or a combination of the two. For the Christian Disciple, this weariness is also a part of being a laborer for the Lord. Missionary-Disciples can count on experiencing this weariness, but need not fear such strain as long as we know the Source of our strength, and continually return there for rejuvenation.
I am mindful of several scripture passages today as I seek to be renewed in physical and emotional strength, and especially in faith and moral stamina. Today’s Gospel on this feast of the Apostle Matthias is a favorite of mine, and reminds me to remain always in Christ, never forgetting His fidelity and love. “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.” (John 15 9 ff.)
The prophet Isaiah (40: 29-31) has this to say: “He gives power to the faint, abundant strength to the weak. Though young men faint and grow weary, and youths stagger and fall, they that hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar on eagles’ wings: They will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.”
Jesus also spoke about finding our remedy for weariness in Him: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) It makes sense that the Disciple who grows weary from laboring on behalf of the Lord should find rest in the Lord.
St. Paul also gives sage advice to those who labor in the vineyard: “Let us not grow tired of doing what is good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9) Another encouraging passage from St. Paul is found in the Letter to the Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.”
So, my friends, let’s keep listening to the voice of the Good Shepherd Who calls us into the vineyard to labor for the harvest. Let us not grow weary of doing what is right. Grow weary we shall, but we will always find our strength and rest in the Lord. The Lord is faithful, and He has conquered the world. (John 16:33) Let us continually follow Him for the building up of God’s Kingdom.
At today’s General Audience in Rome, the Holy Father, Pope Francis spoke on the gift of the Fortitude, one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. May we always persevere in faith with the strength that comes from God.