The story of Martha and Mary in today’s Gospel helps us take stock of our prayer life. Martha through serving the Lord is making her life a prayer; she’s busy, but she is doing it for him. The first step in any prayer life is the desire to know and to serve the Lord. Even when we’re busy we can remind ourselves that everything we do should be with Our Lord in mind. At the same time, Martha’s prayer life is a little tainted with activism: focusing on doing so much that she loses sight of why she is doing it. This is proved when she comes to Our Lord to complain and judge her sister: a lack of charity is a symptom of a lack of prayer life.
Our Lord is well aware of this, which is why he presents Martha her sister as an example of contemplative prayer: Mary just sits at the Lord’s feet, apparently “doing” nothing, but she is loving the Lord. Everyone needs this kind of prayer too: prayer no much of reciting words or doing things as simply “sitting” in the Lord’s presence and listening to whatever he has to say, or simply just being there and loving him while he loves us. This prayer can be difficult, so sometimes we need material for our conversation with him, such as a passage from Sacred Scripture, but that is the food for our conversation with him.
Try taking ten minutes today from your schedule to just sit down in a quiet place (at home, in a church, etc.) and simply recollect yourself and speak with Our Lord heart to heart. He will speak if you listen. It will help you more like Martha and like Mary in a good way.
Readings: Jonah 3:1–10; Psalm 130:1b–4b, 7–8; Luke 10:38–42.