Mary Moments in a Martha World

Remember Mary and Martha, the two sisters of Lazarus (the man Jesus raised from the dead)? Martha was busy – always busy; the image imbedded in my brain is Martha Stewart on steroids! Making her home warm and cozy; ensuring her guests had a memorable time while under her roof; whereas Mary was one who followed her heart – and her heart lead her to sit at the feet of Jesus; to anoint him with costly perfume; to run to him when her heart was broken.

Most of the time I identify with Martha: my days are a whirlwind juggling-act of tasks that (mostly) keep all my balls-in-the air. But simultaneously, my heart longs to be Mary: to linger over my coffee with my Bible, study materials, and a notebook before me. Reading, listening with my spirit, while recording thoughts that ‘may someday’ find their way into an article, a talk, or just be shared in conversation with someone who’s hurting; someone who needs a shoulder and listening ear.

I suspect I’m not alone in this dichotomy: wanting the one, while emulating the other. But does it have to be a matter of either/or? Can it be both/and? Is there a balance point? Although I have yet to find it – I have to believe that somewhere, balance is possible. On the craziest of days, my heart longs to simply sit at the feet of Jesus. Yet, when I pull aside for an extended quiet time with my Lord, my thoughts race–strategizing how to catch up with my ever-lengthening Do List.

Can you relate? Is this your struggle, also? How do YOU cope?

Until I find that elusive balance point, all I can do is make moments within my Martha World to slip away and be like Mary. For me, that means spending time in the Adoration Chapel – or taking a drive up to Ignatius House or over to the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, and walking the grounds in silence and solitude. The contemplative life draws my heart – yet my calling is to serve those who serve others.

My Mary Moments are precious – and I suspect, yours are, also. In fact, Mary moments are the very oxygen that enables us to live out our calling within our Martha World. Mary Moments allow us to breathe life into the lives of those who depend on us! I believe it is our Mary Moments that keep us from burning out. Whether our lives are disciplined enough to have extended Mary Moments every day, or we have to carve them into our crazy schedules, Mary Moments are a must if we are to survive in today’s society.

So I challenge you: look at your schedule for the upcoming week; see what you can push back, put off, or eliminate completely, in favor of taking at least one opportunity to just be Mary, sitting at the feet of Our Lord, learning from Him. Then write that moment into your calendar; circle it in red; make it the highest priority on your appointment list – and KEEP IT. If you will accept the challenge, I promise you won’t be disappointed. Jesus always keeps His appointments with those who schedule Mary Moments.

PS – Mary Moments are NOT for women only!


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