Mary sat at the feet of Jesus…to listen to Him speak. Luke 11: 38 – 42
This passage was what I found in my daily mediation book on Monday and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. The story of Mary and Martha is often the Gospel used for the Feast of St. Scholastica. I’ve realized it is a powerful model for discernment.
If you recall, Martha is busy taking care of Jesus, a guest in her home, while Mary, Martha complains, just sits in front of Jesus. Jesus smiles at Martha and indicates that Mary has chosen the better part. I am not really comfortable saying one style of being with Jesus is better than another. Hospitality is both parts, or so it seems to me. Sometimes hospitality is doing for and sometimes hospitality is just being with another.
However, for discernment, I do believe Mary has the ‘better part.’ She is totally attentive to Jesus and, I suspect, hanging on every word. The trick, during discernment, is to put away our ‘Martha’ urges and embrace a quiet presence with Jesus.
Prayer is about nourishing that quiet, listening stance. I am talking about making time to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen. Sometimes we have to intentionally quit doing and know it all will be waiting for us after we finish prayer.
As regular readers know, I enjoy images in my prayer. I love this image of Mary and Martha and can picture Jesus smiling at the two of them. I imagine Jesus smiling at each of us as we work hard to determine what exactly we are being nudged towards. In the end Jesus, I imagine, would say we need to sit and listen a bit more.
What is it that you do that could wait while you devote time to be with Jesus? Benedict opens his Rule with the pharase Listen with the ear of your heart. What prevents your listening?