Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Sitting at the Feet of Jesus

“Martha, Martha!  You’re anxious and upset over many things, but one thing is necessary.  Mary has chosen the better part which will not be taken from her.”  (Luke 10:41-42)

The story of Martha and her sister, Mary, is a familiar one.  Jesus was invited to their home.  Martha was the perfect hostess but was distracted by all of the work that needed to be done and worried about the problems of the day.  We too can find ourselves anxious and upset like Martha -- our never-ending “to do” lists, news hitting us 24/7, political dissension, threats of terrorism,  protests, demonstrations, airplane brawls, etc.  

Mary probably had the same worries as Martha and was also busy, but she chose the better part – sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to him. When Jesus was speaking to Martha of Bethany that day, He was speaking to all of us.  

Most of us can relate to both Martha and Mary.  We need to attend to the daily necessities of life like Martha but also desire to sit at the feet of Jesus like Mary.  How do we balance living a full family, social and spiritual life with the additional distractions of cell phones ringing, texts buzzing, tweets and emails constantly popping up?

I don’t have the answer, but I do believe that a good prayer life will help to keep us in balance.  Some thoughts:

Excellent advice from St. Paul, but we can’t always be on our knees in prayer.  We can, however, keep an awareness that God is always with us. My favorite place to “sit at the feet of the Lord” is during my early morning prayer time.  As an empty nester, I am fortunate to have a spare bedroom that I now use as my prayer room – my private little chapel. I begin with a hot cup of coffee, the Scripture verses from the liturgy of the day, my journal and a lit candle in front of the statue of MaryQueen of Apostles.  Reading and meditating on Scripture helps to quiet my mind. Journaling my thoughts from a passage that I can apply to my daily life helps to keep me focused and less distracted.  Many times throughout the day, especially in a stressful situation, I will recall the verse and remember that God is with me.

Brother Lawrence, a seventeenth-century French monk, is a good role model.  He learned to practice the presence of God at all times – even among the pots and pans, making meals and washing the dishes!

The Rosary - After making my consecration to the Blessed Mother last year, I was drawn to praying the Rosary daily.  I have found it to be a calming and uncomplicated prayer for anytime of the day.  Praying the Rosary is like holding the hand of Jesus and walking with Him through His life.

A favorite variation is the Queen of Apostles Rosary prayed by our Pauline Family.  This Rosary is a meditation on the first Joyful Mystery, the fifth Sorrowful Mystery and the third, fourth and fifth Glorious Mysteries.

Today we might meditate on the 2nd Joyful Mystery as we celebrate the feast of the Visitation – what a beautiful way to end this month of May dedicated to our Blessed Mother.  We don’t know the conversations that took place between our Blessed Mother and Elizabeth, but they probably shared their feelings of joy and anxiety and prayed while helping each other with their daily chores.  Sounds like a mix of Martha and Mary!  

Don’t we all yearn for a quieter, simpler and peaceful lifeIn a busy world full of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc., we can easily get overwhelmed.  Although great, modern tools of technology, if not kept in balance, they can distract us from prayer and being really present to others. I need to often remind myself to be still and reduce a lot of the outside noise – limit Facebook time and spend less time checking texts and emails.

EUCHARISTIC ADORATION -- one of the best ways to pray and silence the noise in our lives. The Pauline Family was born from the tabernacle. Our founder, Blessed James Alberione, chose to make Eucharistic Adoration the soul and strength of the Family.  He refers to the Eucharistic hour as a “visit” with Jesus – something we would make to a dear person, our mother or best friend.  What better way to be still than to sit in quiet adoration?  It is the closest thing to sitting at the feet of Jesus.

How do you sit at the feet of Jesus in your daily life? Are you a Martha or a Mary or a little of each?  Part of evangelization is sharing our stories and experiences.  Please share!


Maryann Toth has been a Pauline Cooperator for eight years. Semi-retired as a credit/AR manager in NJ, she is a wife, a mother of two daughters, and a grandmother of four. She serves as a Eucharistic minister and belongs to a Divine Mercy Cenacle group. Maryann assists at Pauline book fairs and J-Club events, schedules meetings and prayer times for local Cooperators and friends of the Pauline Family, and accompanied a candidate in the Cooperator formation program. She participated in a Pauline Cooperator pilgrimage to Italy in 2010. 

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