Last time I told you about the first part of my desert day at Jay Cooke State Park. After the insight on the rock in the middle of the river, I drove downriver to a different area of the park to get an alternate view of the St. Louis River. I was not disappointed. This viewpoint was from the top of a cliff and the river looked quite majestic. I decided to sit at a picnic table from where I could gaze at the river in order to pray and journal.
After a while, I became aware of a lone ant carrying a huge burden – apparently a large dead insect of some sort, perhaps another ant. Its burden was much larger than the carrier, and there were no other ants around to help out. To make matters worse, the poor ant did not seem to know how to get off the picnic table. So it just kept walking across, over the edge, across underneath, back on top, across, over the edge, and so on. Every so often it appeared to stop – in confusion or exhaustion – I couldn’t quite tell.
I was tempted to help it down to the ground somehow but I didn’t. Instead I started to think. How often do I walk around in circles like that? Worse yet, how often do I walk in circles carrying an unnecessary burden on my shoulders? And why do I insist on carrying it alone?
Jesus said: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) The way I see it, if someone offers to carry my burden I’d be a fool not to accept. If that person is Jesus, I’d be a full blown imbecile. After all, he does it so well, and I do it so poorly! The challenge is in learning to ask Jesus for help and in accepting the help that is offered.
What unnecessary burdens are you carrying that you could turn over to Christ?
“Many are the torments of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the Lord.” (Psalm 32:10)
Sister Paule Pierre Barbeau
Sister Paule Pierre Barbeau is a Benedictine Sister at Saint Scholastica Monastery in Duluth, Minnesota. Originally from Quebec, Canada, she lived in the Southeastern United States for 16 years before coming to Duluth. She did research in the field of exercise physiology for over years, and more recently completed a graduate degree in theology, while volunteering in parishes, giving workshops and retreats.