Now it came to pass as they went, that he entered into a certain town: and a certain woman named Martha, received him into her house.And she had a sister called Mary, who sitting also at the Lord's feet, heard his word.But Martha was busy about much serving. Who stood and said: Lord, hast thou no care that my sister hath left me alone to serve? Speak to her therefore, that she help me. And the Lord answering, said to her: 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. (St. Luke 10:38-42)
As I think about the upcoming Lenten season, this is the scripture that comes to mind. What choices would be good, better, or even best? And how do you make time for God when there is so much to do? I mean, somebody's got to serve ; )
For so many years of my life, Lent was a time to give up chocolate, attend Stations of the Cross on Friday nights, and enjoy the Knights of Columbus fish fry afterwards.
During my teaching years, discussion in the teacher's lounge centered around Slim Fast diets undertaken for Lent. It was all about an opportunity for weight loss. Or so it seemed.
After my reversion in grad school I was finally in a parish that taught the three pillars of Lent: prayer, fasting, and alms giving.
Fast forward seventeen years. This week I am thinking about my own attachments, contemplating how to detach from them, and how to implement the three pillars.
Deleting the FB and Bloglovin apps from my phone would be good, but re-purposing the time I usually spend reading them to with prayer or spiritual reading would be better. Giving up sugary treats and eating simple foods would be good, but feeling some hunger pangs to offer up in reparation for past gluttony would be better. Giving up jeans would be good, but offering up the mortification for conversions (did you see the skirting-up Lenten challenge?) and letting the exterior wearing of skirts work on my interior disposition would be better. Giving up the 10pm news is good, but rising early enough to pray or get to church early would be better. Making the time and effort to attend extra choir practices (when every pound of my selfish flesh wants to stay home by the fire) for the Triduum is good, but offering that sacrifice to the Lord would be better. Resolving not to buy any new books or clothing during Lent would be good, but using the money saved to give to Church or charity would be better.
So I am encouraging myself and my children to think through to this next step. Giving up something is good, but freeing yourself up to spend time at the Lord's feet is better. Working and serving the the Lord is good, but sitting at the Lord's feet to hear His word is better. Jesus said that Mary chose the best part, and that it would not be taken away from her.
I would like to think, if I were Martha, that with advanced notice of Jesus' visit, I would have worked really hard to prepare ahead of time so I could sit at the Lord's feet. Or better, I would have hired help ; )