How many times have you longed to throw yourself in the arms of God when facing obstacles which appear to be insurmountable: Loved ones who are critically ill or dying; unemployment which threatens the wellbeing of your family; fear of the future; pain – either physical or mental or both – that makes you long to escape somewhere, anywhere.
But how do you find God so He can refresh you during these times and give you peace? That’s the subject of EWTN’s new series with Host Susan Conroy.
“Coming to Jesus” will premiere on EWTN this fall. The series is being shot this week on the shores of Maine and, as these pictures show, the “set” couldn’t be more spectacular. Below is a wonderfully refreshing Q&A with Conroy, who is best known for her series and books on the precious time she spent in Calcutta with Mother Teresa. Read this Q&A and see if you don’t agree that this series is going to be something special!
Q: How did you come up with the idea for this series?
A: I was invited to give a spiritual retreat in Ohio about a year ago, and they asked me to speak for two hours on this one sentence by Our Lord Jesus: “Come to Me, all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will give you rest.” The theme of this retreat was “Resting in His Love.” They chose this theme because many people these days are over-worked, over-tired and over-stressed, and I was asked to give them a comforting word or two about Our Lord’s wonderful invitation. I began to ponder how to come to Our Lord, so that He can refresh us and give us peace. The more I pondered it, the more I realized that this simple act of coming to Christ is vital not just for our peace, but for our very salvation. No one can come to Our Father in Heaven except through Jesus Christ His Son.
Q: Have you found life burdensome at times?
A: Oh yes! I have found life burdensome at times! Some of the various translations of Our Lord’s invitation to us in Matthew 11:28 are “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden,” or “Come to Me, all you who are tired from carrying heavy loads…” I think that all of us can identify with this feeling of being weary at times. All of us carry a cross. All of us labor. And all of us long for refreshment and rest. The older I get, the more I long for a little rest!
(The EWTN crew and I had to wake up very early this morning to run to the ocean at 4:30 a.m. to tape today’s episode as the sun was rising over the water….. I can tell you that we are all a little weary today! It’s part of life on earth. We’re not in Heaven yet. In Heaven, we will enjoy unending rest and peace and light and refreshment!)
Q: Are the tips you give for resting in Christ the fruit of your own spiritual journey?
A: The ideas I share about resting in Christ’s Love are from personal experience as well as from the experiences of my loved ones, and from the lives of the saints.
Q: Tell us more about your personal spiritual journey?
A: In recent years, I served as the primary care-giver for my Mom and then for my Dad as they were dying. Anyone caring for a loved one who is sick and dying knows that it is an around-the-clock task, and one gets to the point of sheer exhaustion, because it is a true “labor of love.” As I got up sometimes 12 times in the middle of one night to care for my beloved Dad as he was dying, I found that I had to bless myself and say a little prayer to receive the grace and strength I needed to keep going, to keep loving, to keep serving. Someone once asked Mother Teresa how she could keep caring for the destitute and dying in Calcutta without becoming depressed and without becoming “burnt out” by all the exhausting labor, and she replied so beautifully and so succinctly: “My secret is quite simple: I pray.” Our secret to endlessly loving one another all the way with inner strength and grace is: come to Christ.
Q: What will the viewer gain by watching this series? What is the main message you want to communicate?
A: The most important thing I want all of us to learn from this series is how to come to Christ! If we simply come to Him, He will do the rest. And we must come with Faith, come with Love, come with boundless Trust. It is very important that we have faith and believe in His tender, faithful love for us. I want all of us to come away from this series with an enormous trust in Our Lord’s infinite goodness. I would like our trust in Him to match His Merciful Love for us, which is limitless! Saint Therese of Lisieux believed that Our Lord alone, content with our weak efforts to come to Him, will raise us to Himself and clothe us with His own infinite merits. This is our way to Heaven: coming to Christ.
Q: Why is this series being filmed on location in Maine?
A: The natural beauty of Maine raises our minds and hearts to God! Throughout the taping of this series, we were surrounded by God’s own glorious creation! This morning, for example, while taping an episode about Adoration and Prayer, we were at the Atlantic Ocean: the sun was shining, the sea was sparkling, the birds were singing, and God was being glorified by all of that! So many things in nature remind us of God – for example, the infinite expanse and beauty of the ocean. It is like God’s Love for us. And Our Lord Himself (speaking to Saint Faustina) referred to His Love as “an Ocean of Divine Mercy!” As a backdrop to each episode, we are sharing the beautiful work of God’s own hands! God created the “set” for this series! The quiet beauty of Maine is God gently speaking to us! (The dramatic beauty of Alaska is God SHOUTING at us!) Either way, it is of God. It is a little taste of Heaven on earth. All of His natural beauty makes me love God even more, and I hope that it will do the same for our EWTN viewers.