Future Priests of the Third Millennium

A little insight into the life of seminarians from various dioceses preparing for ministry as Roman Catholic priests, including daily activities, personal interests, special events, the spiritual life, news from the seminary, and almost whatever comes to our minds!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Martha, Martha, Martha!

Yesterday we celebrated the memorial of St. Martha, sister to Mary and Lazarus, and worker bee extraordinaire. Throughout the day, I followed two lines of reflection.

Firstly, Martha, as compared to her sister, was the doer. She was busily keeping house while her sister chitchatted with Our Lord. It was only after a gentle rebuke from Jesus that she realized that what she really needed to do was sit down and be attentive to the one who had come to spend time with her. I find that I am often like Martha, and though I have gotten better at it, my prayer used to be very much like Martha's behavior. I would go to pray, to be with the Lord, and I find that I wanted to do something. Prayer, I was convinced, was a very active sort of affair, and I struggled tremendously trying to do all the right things, read the right books, recite the correct prayers, and do, do, do. The Lord, on the other hand, was inviting me to sit and relax in his presence. He didn't want me to do so much as he wanted me be with him. I didn't need to say anything. I didn't need to be anything. I just needed to sit there and bask in his presence. Now, I still struggle with this at times, but I have gotten better, and I find that Mary did choose the better part.

A second line of reflection took me in this direction:

Martha, I learned some years ago, is the patroness of single women. I had never really thought about that fact much until today as I was reflecting on her busy-ness. As I did so, I recalled a section from Fr. Benedict Groeschel's book, The Courage to be Chaste, in which he describes the role that a single person can play in his or her family. In many ways, the single person in an extended family becomes the doer. He/she has more time, more freedom, often more financial resources. Thus, the single person lives a life of generosity by giving more of their time than could be expected from a mother and father. Imagine a family dinner that includes all the aunts and uncles and children. It lasts well into the evening. When it ends, who is better able to stay and help clean up? Mom and Dad whose kids are sleepy and cranky, or the unmarried sister? Likewise, who has the car that can most easily fit a helium tank for the birthday party, the SUV with three carseats in it, or the unmarried sibling with the economical Honda Civic? In a way, the single person plays the role of "doer" for his/her family. In this sense, Martha's doing was positive. Even so, the two need to find a balance. The doing and the being need to find a correspondence between one another to strengthen the single person in his/her giving and doing lest he/she begin to feel put-upon and abused.

So, take heart all you Marthas. We appreciate your doing. Don't forget to spend some time at the Lord's feet, though.


J. Thorp said...

Balance is hard. I find I oscillate wildly between the two ...

Jinglebob said...

You've made me think with this posting. Hmmmm....

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