Domine, qui dixisti: Iugum meum suave est et onus meum leve: fac, ut istud portare sic valeam, quod consequar tuam gratiam. Amen.
O Lord, who has said – “My crossbeam is easy and my burden light” – grant that I may be so enabled to carry it as to follow after your grace. Amen.
This, of course, is from Matthew 11, 30. ζυγός, correctly translated as iugum, which is correctly translated as crossbeam.
Imagine that, gentlemen! A crossbeam, an instrument of torture and death, carried in torture to one’s death, is here called easy, a burden that is light. If we take a look at the Shroud of Turin, one might get the idea that such a crossbeam was heavy enough to mash our Lord’s face right into the pavement. So, what’s going on here?
The syntax of the prayer has it that we are enabled by our Lord’s providence to carry such an instrument of torture and death inasmuch as we follow after His grace, Himself, the indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity. How many, many times our Lord commanded us not only to take up the cross, but to follow Him!
And that makes all the difference, following Him instead of looking to ourselves, instead of looking to the cross. We were not created to carry a cross. And if we must now carry it, we are still not to look to it, appraise our strength before it, fall away in depression and despair as we recognize our weakness and the impossibility of carrying it under our own power. No.
We are, instead, to notice the cross, that is, our weakness in every way, then take up that cross, shouldering it just barely within range of periferal vision, never, ever looking over to it, casting a glance at it, but, knowing it is there, and knowing our ineptitude in carrying this weakness of ours, looking instead to our Lord and His grace, following Him. It’s a matter not of our determination, nor even a matter of our own weak love for Him, but rather a matter of His grace, His love having us look to Him, having us follow Him
It is He who is important, not us, not our weakness. When we see by that cross just how weak we are, we are to notice, immediately, just how good our Lord was to shoulder vicariously our cross, so that we rejoice immediately in His goodness and kindness, and never dwell on ourselves. Any weakness of our own only points out His goodness and kindness in coming among us. He has the right in justice to have mercy on us.
So, yes, that crossbeam of His is easy, and His burden is light. It’s the love He provides, the grace He provides, the friendship, our solidarity with Him in this way while He sacrifices Himself for us that is our joy. This is the joy of the Holy Spirit. Our weakness, our cross, now only magnifies the glory of His love.
The chasuble, the grace of our Lord, is able to shine out from even the otherwise most unworthy, most inept, most horrific sinners such as yours truly. It’s our Lord’s goodness and kindness which does that, making us worthy to act in the Person of Christ, to pronounce His words of spousal love for the Church, His words of sacrificial love: This is my Body given for you in sacrifice… The Chalice of my Blood shed for you in sacrifice…
Is this a most worthwhile prayer preparing us for the Holy Sacrifice? I think it is.