A woman named Martha welcomed Jesus into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.’ (Luke 10:38-42)
We live in a binary world, and not just because of the pervasive influence of the panoply of digital devices. Binary, also, in terms of ‘good’ and ‘bad’; ‘winners’ and ‘losers’. One reading of this story is that Mary has got it ‘right’ and Martha has it ‘wrong’. I suggest that Mary and Martha can be seen as two sides of the same coin i.e. of the necessity of contemplation and action. If we do not come to understand the need of contemplation and action by ourselves, life is likely to teach us.
Another facet of the world in which we live is its fast-paced nature. Young people imbibe this, frequently busy with many activities or just soaking up the information of our data-laden world. Thus we have a role to guide young people toward the balance of action with contemplation. Then their doing will flow from their being and will have more meaning.
Have a great week!
Nice, Patrick. You remind me of Meister Eckhart’s reading of the Martha and Mary story.