ONLY ONE THING IS NECESSARY. We have read and heard it again and again
and still our life is filled with multiple tasks, chores, responsibilities of homes, family,
children, school, work, that cannot be avoided. Anyone who has been involved in
preparing a celebration or giving a party knows that there are a million details that
go into it. Women especially have this extra sense of being able to do amazing things
during these family celebrations or events that require multitasking at a very high
level. And we all know that if these women do not get some extra help it will be almost
an impossible task to do and to do it well alone. I know that our DOMINICAN
GALAS in May would be impossible to bring to great fruition without the wonderful
and generous work of the women who take care of a million details which go into
these celebrations. And everyone has to do 100% of the different facets of the responsibilities
assigned otherwise the organism does not function. That is why we (and the
women of the church especially) are able to understand Martha's plea in the narrative
of the Gospel from St. Luke for this Sunday (10: 38-42). Jesus was taking advantage
of his good friends Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, who lived just outside of Jerusalem.
I am sure their home for Jesus was a respite from the tiring and indefatigable
ministry of preaching and healing through the dusty roads of Galilee. In his friends'
home he could rest, wash, and relax from the work of the day. Naturally, Jesus is not
only a friend. He is also a teacher filled with God's wisdom and the opportunity is not
lost on Mary, who by the feet of Jesus sits in awe, inquires, learns, and takes in what
comes from the mouth of Jesus.
The plea of her sister Martha, busy at work with the details of hospitality, resonates
with us well: "Master, are you not concerned that my sister has left me to do the house
tasks alone? Tell her to help me" (v. 40). The Lord's reply is a touch of attention to her
and to all of us: "Martha, Martha, You are anxious and upset about many things, ONLY
ONE THING IS NECESSARY" (v. 41). The response cuts to the very essence of who we
are and what we do. Most of our life revolves around a HYPERACTIVITY that never
ceases and as a result of it our very life is drained from our selves, our measure of
stress from day to day hits the roof and spiritually we find ourselves almost empty.
Have you had that feeling? I had, at least when I was more involved in the ministry
that now age and a radical surgery for cancer have limited.
Spiritual directors speak about WASTING TIME WITH GOD. In reality it is not a
WASTE in the most common sense we use. But the ability and the need to CREATE A
SPACE where one draws closer to God which ultimately is the only reality that matters
IS NECESSARY. One needs to find this space amidst the baggage that accumulates
in our life. This space is not found automatically or spontaneously. It requires
planning, structure, discipline to sort out the clutter that has invaded our minds and
soul. No wonder we are spiritually exhausted. This TIME or SPACE requires attentive
listening to the inner voice that we all have. It requires a structure that is faithful and
constant, to the extent that, at times, everything else must wait. Even children could
understand (unless they are too small) that this is Mom's time, or Dad's time when
one for five, ten, fifteen minutes a day, is able to lift the deeper longings of our soul to
this God who understands, listens, loves, guides, heals, and fills our life with meaning.
I guess that we all have our Martha moment and also our Mary moments. There
is never going to be one or the other. The wisdom is to be able to balance our life in
such a way that one will not hurt the other. Yes, to WASTE TIME WITH GOD is a
necessary goal for everyone, out of the need to have some clarity of purpose, to accept
the grace and the invitation of God of being still and silent so that amidst the cacophony
of our lives and of the world, we may be able to LISTEN to the voice of God
speaking in our hearts; TO BE PRESENT TO GOD AND ALLOW HIM TO BE PRESENT
TO US. That is Prayer after all. This naturally presupposes letting go of anger,
resentments, self interests, hedonistic attitudes, so that the terrain is made a fertile
ground for that voice of God to permeate our very being.
ONLY ONE THING IS NECESSARY. Leave behind the rest of the baggage. Be
STILL and SILENT for God.
May His Peace be with you always,