Ivonne J. Hernandez reflects on the healing that awaits us in the Sacrament of Confession.
We held Elisheba House’s Eucharistic Healing Retreat a few weeks ago in Trinity, Florida. The weeks leading up to the retreat were busy with tasks, phone calls, and meetings, as anyone who has ever planned an event can probably imagine. I am grateful that my monthly spiritual direction and confession appointment was set amid all the busy-ness just a few days before the retreat. I was feeling burdened and tired, yet God had already prepared this time for me to give him my burdens before the retreat.
One of the things still on my to-do list was preparing for the talk I was scheduled to present. I do not know if it was because I was juggling many tasks in my brain, but I had only the topic for my talk, not the details or the words. As a planner, this was uncomfortable. I wanted to have at least an outline, yet every time I sat to pray and write, I would end up staring at the same blank page. When I shared this with my spiritual director, he said this was a very good thing. I was empty; I was ready to receive. My task now was to allow myself to be filled with God, so that I would have something to give.
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
This was the Scripture verse we had chosen for the retreat, so it was not surprising that as part of my preparation, God would speak those exact words to me. All the labor was good, but it was meant to be laid at His feet. If I was going to have anything to give to those attending the retreat, I had to make room first to receive.
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”
We all experience a need to unburden ourselves, yet, what happens when we do it in the wrong places is that we hurt ourselves and each other; we sin. Jesus is waiting to carry our burdens in the confessional. He is the peace we seek. We lay down our burdens when we say, “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.”
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.”
Our works are often a mixed bag. Good intentions mixed with bad habits. The Divine working with fallen humans … the wheat growing with the weeds. Our works are good, yet they often need to be purified. In the laying down and surrendering of our work, we make room for God to do His.
“You will find rest for yourselves.”
We speak our sins to the priest in the person of Christ. We name the sins that have held us captive, the heavy yoke we willingly chose instead of His. We reject the works of the devil and ask Jesus for His yoke, His commands, His rules, in other words, His Love. When we bring our work and give it all to Him, we make room for His Love; He gives us His Peace.
“For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
And what is His yoke but the daily transformation of our hearts to become more like Him?
If we receive the Eucharist worthily, we become what we receive. (St. Augustine)
The following quote was shared during our retreat’s Holy Hour, and it really spoke to me:
Following the example Jesus gave us, we can also learn to say to our brothers and sisters, “Take, eat; this is my body. Take my time, my abilities, my attention. Take also my blood, that is, my sufferings, all that humbles me, that mortifies me, that limits my strength, my own physical death. I want my whole life to be like that of Christ, broken bread and wine poured out for others. I want to make all of my life a Eucharist.” (Fr. Cantalamessa)
When we bring our work and surrender it to Jesus, we make room for His love; He gives us His peace. Let us then bring the reality of our sins and limitations to Jesus in Confession and ask Him to heal us and transform our wounds into places that will glorify Him. The works of our hands then become our offering for others to receive Him.
Copyright 2023 Ivonne J. Hernandez
This article was first published in the Elisheba Blog. It is published here with permission.
About the Author
Ivonne J. Hernandez is a Catholic wife, mother, writer, and speaker. She pursued a career in Computer Engineering before becoming a stay-at-home homeschooling mom to her three boys. She is a Lay Associate of the Blessed Sacrament, president of Elisheba House (non-profit Catholic media apostolate), and author of The Rosary: Eucharistic Meditations. For more information visit ElishebaHouse.com. Follow Ivonne on Facebook and Instagram.