We are in the middle of the summer. We are in the midst of a time that we call “rest.” It’s something we wait for the whole year because we feel overwhelmed by work commitments and the different tensions of family life. Usually, it is as if we look at summertime as a light at the end of a tunnel, the time in which we will get away from the hustle of everyday life and finally find tranquility and relaxation. Unfortunately, for some of us this is not always true.
We might physically get away from the frenzy of our daily lives by going to the house on the beach or that beautiful resort, but often times the frenzy remains in our heart. Yes, the heart. We are, in fact, not just body and mind, like the modern anthropology of this current society wants us to believe. Our bodies can lie down on a very comfortable beach lounger with our minds free from all the tensions we usually deal with at home, and yet we can still be totally restless. Divine anthropology has shown us that there is a deeper dimension in us, even deeper than our mind or psyche. This deeper dimension in the Scriptures which we call “heart,” is not the center of our feelings and emotions as we usually think of it. The heart, in the language of God, is that dimension in us, which is invisible, not immediately accessible. It is what we usually refer to as the spirit, the soul.
For many years of his life, St. Augustine, a man who desperately looked for happiness and peace everywhere and, in any ways, ended up saying: “My heart is restless until it rests in You.” How come? What did he mean?
An answer to this existential dilemma is given by Christ in the Gospel of Luke when he says, “Be careful that the light within you is not darkness.” (Luke 11:35) In other words, Jesus is saying to be watchful because if within you, meaning if within your heart, there is darkness, then everything (even what is outside of you) will be dark. This means that even if you are on the most beautiful beach or the most luxurious resort in the world, but in your heart, there is a dark thought or a distorted reading of the events of your life, you will still find yourself restless. These places will not be enough for you to overcome the darkness.
We see this reality that we constantly experience at the beginning of the Scriptures. Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, in Paradise. Yet, in the moment, they allowed the lie of the serpent to penetrate within their hearts and they experienced the darkness of fear. It seems absurd! They were in Paradise, and they were living in fear!? Yes! This is the tragedy of the human condition. This is the wound we carry within us; it is the wound of our human nature.
This wound, though, can stop bleeding! In his nature, Jesus Christ assumed it and cured it when, from the cross he said, “Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit.” (Luke 23:46) Being nailed to a cross Jesus Christ commended his heart to his Father and he found rest. His Spirit, his heart, the deepest dimension of his being, became one with the source of Life: God, the Father.
Like Jesus, we, too, can find rest. Our true rest is to abandon our life into the hands of God. The truth is that we are always tired, even during vacation, because we constantly fight against life, against our reality. We are sick and we would like to be healthy…we have a spouse and children, but we would like them to be a certain way and they are not…. We are always fighting an interior fight and it is hard to let go. That is why we never find rest.
This summer, wherever you may be, let us commend our spirits and everything that makes us suffer into the hands of God. We will experience that any act of trust in the Lord will open our eyes to the Providence of God and we will be able to repeat the words of St. Paul in his letter to the Romans (8:28) when he said: “Everything contributes to the good of those elected by God,” even your spouse and your children.
My name is Andrea Povero. I was born in a town called Ivrea, close to Turin, Italy.
I am almost 35 years old and I am the last one of 4 children.
When I decided to enter the seminary, I chose to enter into a “missionary seminary.” I went to a retreat close to Rome and there, together with 300 young men, I put my name into a basket. In another basket were the names of the all the missionary seminaries around the world. When my name was pulled from one basket, it was matched with the name “Boston” from the other basket.
I was sent to Boston in November 2007. I became a priest by the grace of God on May 19, 2018.
For the past three years I have been the Parochial Vicar of three parishes: St. Thomas Aquinas and Our Lady of Lourdes in Jamaica Plain and Saint Mary of the Angels in Roxbury.