By: Sr Mary Clare, O.C.D.
I love the person of Martha presented to us in the Scriptures (Luke 10:38-42) … hustling and bustling about trying to prepare a decent meal for Jesus and his disciples, who, in my imagination, probably stopped by unannounced. As for me, I am right there with her … in her scatteredness, in her annoyance with Mary’s lack of initiative, in her desire to please. It is this last part, the idea of desire, which makes the story all come together for me. Why wouldn’t our Lord reprimand Mary for not getting up to help? Even more perplexing, why would He commend her for her apparent obliviousness?
Perhaps the answer lies in His desire, in what really pleases the Lord at the moment. You see, Martha, acting out of a genuine sense of duty and desire to provide hospitality, failed to ascertain why the Lord had stopped by her house. He didn’t come by for a good meal or fresh baked bread. His intent was to spend time with some of the people He loved most on this earth. He wanted to spend time with her. This is what Mary understood correctly and for what our Lord praises her. This is the “part” He invites all of us Martha’s to choose.
How much time do I set aside to pray, to listen at the feet of our Lord? Is my soul disposed and attentive to welcome His unexpected visit in calm, gratitude and readiness to be in His presence?
As we enter these weeks of ordinary time, let us make sure that we are setting aside quality and uninterrupted time to pray each day. Even 15 minutes is a start, as long as we are trying to be quietly present to the Lord. Take up the Scriptures or a brief reflection to focus your mind and heart, then surrender yourself to Him and let His Spirit bring you to the place of Mary at His feet where you can hear His gentle voice … “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – indeed, only one.”