S e n t i r e C u m E c c l e s i a

"To keep ourselves right in all things, we ought to hold fast to this principle: What seems to me to be white, I will believe to be black if the hierarchical Church thus determines it. For we believe that between Christ our Lord, the Bridegroom, and the Church, His Spouse, there is the one same Spirit who governs and guides us for the salvation of our souls..." - Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius [365]

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Contemplatives in Action

Today's Gospel passage from the Evangelist Luke speaks of the two sisters who are quite close to the heart of Jesus. These sisters, together with their brother Lazarus, served our Lord and His needs during His public ministry years. And here we heard of the variety and distinctness of Mary's and Martha's acceptance of Jesus. Martha was very busy with the details of hospitality -- preparing the house, setting the table, cooking the dishes, etc... As if she is part of the Housekeeping and Food & Beverage Sections of a hotel. Mary on the other hand was busy entertaining our Lord with her company, much like a guest relations officer or a guest assistant of a hotel.

We heard Jesus telling Martha that she was too preoccupied with many details and that Mary has chosen the better part. I think Jesus is not saying here that what Martha did was wrong. I think that Jesus was just putting focus or direction, or perhaps a deeper reason of what Martha is doing which is best expressed in Mary. The Jesuits have a term for this, "Active Contemplation."

Dear friends, Jesus is once again reminding us that we should not only focus on the details of our task (mission) to the point that we make our mission a "career" by perfecting it (for selfish and ego-satisfying reasons). More importantly, He wants us to be sure of the reason behind our doing those tasks. Why am I serving in my parish? Why do I want the church choir that I'm directing to sing perfectly? In the end, Jesus must be the reason of our meticulous following of the details of the task. Perfection must only be viewed in the light of Jesus. Let us pray then that we may sanctify our work (action) by our love for Jesus (contemplation). Amen.


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