What are you anxious and worried about today? Are you anxious and worried about your job or children's education? How about your bills or the stock market? Are you anxious and worried about your transportation or the election? What else are you anxious and worried about today? Which of those things have you brought to Jesus in prayer today?
I have a hard time believing that Mary was lazy or aloof in regard to the world around her. Rather, she put first things first. The food could wait one more minute. The preparations wouldn't be ruined if they were neglected for five more minutes as she spent time with Jesus. In fact, the work she does after may be even better. Her heart will be at peace, not anxious. She may do a better job because she will no longer have worries troubling her heart but will instead have love, Jesus, in her heart. Mary put relationships first, most especially her relationship with the Lord.
We live in an anxious and worried world. We live in a world that sees more value in production than relationships. Our culture encourages efficiency over beauty and construction over conversation. That is why we text rather than call but never say, "I miss her now that she's gone, I wish I could just get one more text from Grandma." No, we miss the person, the smile, the conversation, the touch. Martha lived in a similar culture and needed to be gently reminded that people are more important than production.
How could your life change if you (and I) were more like Mary and less like Martha? Would you find more peace if you spent a few more minutes sitting at His feet and listening to Him speak? Would your daily routine benefit if it began with a few minutes invested in your relationship with Jesus? Would your work find more meaning if you first spent time talking to the Lord about the work ahead of you? Would your family be less anxious and worried about the world around them if listening to Jesus was a daily event, a daily conversation? Would our relationships with others improve if our relationship with Him improved?
Jesus helps Martha, and us, to see that He must come first in our lives. He must be a priority each day, every day, even in the most menial events. He wants to be in our lives. He wants us to listen to Him and He wants to listen to us. He wants a relationship. That is the better part and we should not allow anyone to take it from us nor rob ourselves of it. That is the better part of our day and our life.
Today we celebrate the Feast or Memorial of St. Francis of Assisi. St. Francis learned the lesson of Martha and Mary well. Through his conversion and throughout his life, preaching, and evangelization he focused and taught others to focus on the better part. He was anxious and worried about nothing. He sat at Jesus' feet not only daily but each moment of his life listening to Him speak and he taught others to do the same.
St. Francis, St. Mary, and even St. Martha, pray for us and help us to chose the better part.
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If you are looking for help in developing a daily routine of prayer and conversation with the Lord I'd like to recommend my book 4 Simple Steps to Better Meditations. This short but powerful book will help you develop great habits and great conversations with the Lord. Be sure to download the free companion daily worksheet as well. It's what I use each day.
My all time favorite book about St. Francis is The Perfect Joy of St. Francis by Felix Timmerman. I first read this book when I was coming back into the Church after a 10 year hiatus. It's easy to read and beautifully written and in my opinion the best book about St. Francis available.
Another great book on St. Francis is by my all-time favorite author Louis de Wohl. De Wohl is a master at creating historical novels based on the lives of the saints. All of them are great and his book The Joyful Beggar is also a great book about St. Francis.