Being Both Martha and Mary

martha and mary, balance

Life in today’s world rushes through the days like a whirlwind. In a word, we are busy – all the time. Additionally, the frenzied winds of change in moral conviction create a raging assault on our peace of mind. Not only are we physically active, but the rush to moral relativism also attacks things we hold to be true in our faith life. These are the very things taught to us by Jesus through the Church He established. As a result, many immortal souls are in peril.

The Contrasting Roles of Martha and Mary

The Gospel reading about Martha and Mary gives helpful insight into our current predicament. There is something more, something deeper, found in the contrasting approach taken by each sister. Yet, it is not that one of the sisters is right and the other is wrong. Earthly responsibilities call us to care for loved ones and homes by providing for their needs. A certain amount of busyness is required. Job, household, children – they all make just demands on our time and focus. In this way, we are with Martha, who keeps up the household responsibilities in care for their Divine Guest.

Martha, Martha, thou art careful, and art troubled about many things: But one thing is necessary. Mary hath chosen the best part, which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10:40-41

Prayer Finds Balance

Prayerful petitions and sincere soul searching, however, provide us with the necessary insight to achieve the proper balance. When Mary and Martha entertained Jesus, both chose a socially appropriate approach. Yet for that moment in time – Mary’s reaction of being in the presence of Jesus is the more fitting. Although someone is always tasked with menial responsibilities, there is also an essential need to stop and drink in the spiritual. There is a vital necessity to redirect our senses, to take in the finer details and absorb them into our very souls.

On this occasion, the meticulous care taken to have the house in order and meal prepared, cost Martha a very precious gift – communing with Jesus and the opportunity to drink in what He had to share.

Martha or Mary: Both Roles Have Value

Nonetheless, in our own lives, we see that each woman’s task is a necessity. Like the story of Martha and Mary, we find that there is no wrong or right – there is simply a difference of approach. Therefore, we see that there is much more to Luke’s Gospel than at first glance. Both Martha and Mary are a necessary part of the equation – they bring their special gifts to procure the accomplishment of the whole.

Finding the Proper Balance

There is tremendous value in realizing the proper season, the right mission, and the fitting goal at any given time. For, “there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens”. It is ours to obey the whispering call as scripture and the Holy Spirit give us what we need – just at the right time. There is a necessity of continued learning and perusal of Gospels, the Word of God, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church in order that we might arm ourselves with the proper tools for the proper time.

As the cycles of our lives change so do our responsibilities.  What we take away from reading, prayer, and inspiration also has its seasons. Yet it is imperative that we learn to often ‘choose the better part’ and allow our souls to be nourished by the sacred.

Let us all do our part, for our particular season of life, with love of the Word of God. As a very wise priest once told me, “sometimes the result of inspiration is not known until years later”. In the spirit of Martha and Mary, let us continue to function as worthy members of the Body of Christ – each doing his own part.

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2 thoughts on “Being Both Martha and Mary”

  1. Gregory Martha Herr, Obl.S.B.

    Nice to have Martha included. I initially chose her as my patron as a joke: I don’t listen to Jesus either. But it was her profession of faith that sealed the deal (Jn 11:27).

    Gregory Martha Herr, Obl.S.B.

  2. Pingback: SVNDAY EDITION – Big Pulpit

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