March 28, 2014

Emmaus Walk / Debra Tomaselli

What is the sum of our efforts? A divine exchange

Debra TomaselliShivering, I zipped my jacket and tugged the collar up around my neck. Turning the key in the ignition, I wondered why I didn’t just stay home under the cozy bedcovers this morning. Flipping on the headlights and windshield wipers, I knew I’d made the decision: I was going to Mass.

The windshield wipers thumped, swiping the drizzle with a monotonous tone. As I neared the church, a lone car passed by and its headlights created a luminous array of dazzling raindrops. Still wishing I was wrapped in bedcovers, I found myself wondering why it took such an effort to get to Mass. It was cold and rainy. Why bother?

Suddenly these words popped into my head. I don’t know where they came from or why, but they repeated themselves over and over, as if trying to deliver a message.

“Come to me,” I heard. “Come to me.”

The emphasis was on the word “come.” If we are being beckoned to Mass, we are being beckoned to come to Mass. It involves initiation by us. It involves effort. A relationship with Christ isn’t passive, it’s active. It’s work. It requires something from us.

There are many ways to come to Christ. We can attend Mass, study Scripture, listen to holy music, and prayerfully discern his still small voice. But we must initiate something. It does require effort from us.

And in that effort, a divine exchange takes place. Often, I’ve come to Mass with anxieties, and caught myself humming as I was leaving. Or prayed … “thy will be done” … and been released of my fears. We give our problems, and we receive peace.

Come to me.

I went to work after Mass and didn’t think much more of the message until later that morning, when I asked a co-worker how she was doing. In light of her cheerful attitude, her answer surprised me.

“I’m stressed,” she confided.

She explained that her husband’s business was suffering financially. Although a client owed them a large sum of money, it was uncertain when or if it would arrive. She and her husband needed it immediately to keep afloat.

Knowing they were prayerful people, I shared the message I’d received on the way to Mass that morning, “Come to me.”

My co-worker nodded.

“I know, I know,” she said. “We have been praying.”

I knew that she and her husband pray together for guidance and direction daily. They come to the Lord in a very close and personal way.

Throughout the day, I was moved by my co-worker’s selfless attitude. I watched as she willingly accepted a rush project, shared a few laughs, and offered assistance to an overwhelmed team member. Nobody could tell anything was bothering her.

Then I pondered the words I’d received earlier, “Come to me.” Suddenly, the rest of the message surfaced. It’s the reason we make the effort to go to Mass and make time to pray. It’s the mathematics of a divine exchange.

“Come to me all you who are burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28).

(Debra Tomaselli writes from Altamonte Springs, Florida. She can be reached at

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