Martha, Martha, when will you find peace?

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Luke 10:41-42 NRSV “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”

It should be obvious we’re meant to emulate the attentive, peaceful, and adoring Mary, more so than her harried and jealous sister Martha. Who wouldn’t rather sit with the Messiah, instead of doing the dishes and paying the bills?

Unfortunately, the dishes still need to be washed. The bills need to be paid. And, a thousand other demands clamor for our attention. Before long, we’re rushing around with Martha, scorning anyone not rushing with us.

We assume that in order for things to work out as they should – according to our plan – we have to give each task its due amount of worry and stress. But, that was not Mary’s choice, and Christ is telling us it shouldn’t be ours either.

Yes, the chores and work must be done. And it’s likely Mary did her fair share of work before Christ walked into her home that day. But, she understood at that moment, when Christ was talking, wasn’t the moment to think about anything else. It was time to be at peace, and to listen with her whole heart. Mary chose to be totally present in that moment with Christ, and with her spiritual self.

There will be a thousand points of would-be stress in our lives today. Christ tells us we have need of only one thing: to surrender all worry, to rest in quiet presence, listening with open hearts for the will of God.

All of the other details – the what-ifs, the worries, stress – are but noise that blocks out the voice of Christ within us. When we achieve silence, when we sit with peaceful adoration at Christ’s feet, the answers to all these other “problems” fall into place. All becomes as it should, because when we are in sync with the Spirit, it can be no other way. The answers to our questions, the direction of all our moral, mental and physical energy – all will be provided in the peace at Christ’s feet.

Lord, give us the peace of faith in you today. Grant us the strength to quiet all of the worries and distractions, to let go of yesterday and tomorrow, and to be totally present in each step of today’s journey with you. Amen.

Mary-Martha-Lazarus

5 thoughts on “Martha, Martha, when will you find peace?

  1. Loved the piece on Martha. As an Oblate in the Ordinariate, she’s my patron saint. Funny, other than the fairly common practice of [Catholic] men taking Mary as part of their religious name, the bro’s at the Monastery said they’d never had a dude take a woman’s name. Gender hadn’t actually occurred to me. 🙂

    I took her name, initially, as a joke on me—I don’t listen to Jesus either. But it was her profession of faith in Jn 11:27 that sealed the deal (plus, shorter than the Creed :>).

    And I loved the icon: if I’d ever seen it before, I didn’t recall it. I observe something that had never occurred to me, in seeing it: Martha is nearby–working, of course–but near enough to eavesdrop, and watch the Lord intently. All this while her hands are at work. Yeah, I took the right patron saint. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a great story! Thanks for sharing it and bless you and your vocation. Since writing this I have entered seminary and am discerning for the Franciscan Tertiary. God takes us on some amazing journeys!

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      • Outstanding! God bless your journey too. I hope you’ll post about how that shakes out. The Ordinariate Oblates are attached to St John’s Abbey, Collegeville, MN, but we’re dispersed around No. America. Fortunately, I’m also married to one, so at least that geography is not an enormous challenge. Will you be attached in a similar way?

        Been ruminating on that icon, and *just* what Martha’s up to in it, all afternoon…

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