Would We Prefer the Better Part or Not?

As they continued their journey he entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary [who] sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.’ The Lord said to her in reply, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.’ (Luke 10: 38-42)

I am sure that there are many of us, who could identify with Martha, the Martha and Maryultimate hostess. She has invited an up and coming rabbi, and his followers, to her home. She has invited her friends and neighbors to come and come and hear Jesus speak and teach. And, of course, she must make sure everyone has had their dusty feet washed; that they have a beverage to drink, and something to eat. And she is beginning to feel stretched, and resentment towards her “do-nothing” sister begins to grow. Finally, she demands that Jesus tell Mary to get off her butt and start working. Jesus makes the point that Mary prefers to listen to the Good News, and this moment will not be taken away. Mary is being present to the Lord, fully present to the Word; open to the Word, letting the Word she hears change her. Martha is allowing too many tasks preventing her from being fully present to Jesus, she is not hearing the Good News, she is not allowing it to transform her. One can imagine that as Jesus tells Martha; “…you are anxious and worried about many things, it is with a tinge of sadness. Martha is missing something wonderful.

Many of us also lead very, very busy lives, what with family issues, work issues, and social media issues. There is so much on our plates, so much, that maybe we too are missing something wonderful. Jesus, through Luke’s Gospel; is asking us to stop, be still, and open ourselves to His Spirit. He is asking us to find peace and rest in His Presence; refreshment for our souls.

And I am not saying this would be easy, to still our minds, hearts, and just listen. It takes practice; it takes discipline. And there are many different practices that can help us grow; centering prayer, lectio divina, and the Jesus Prayer, are techniques that can help us be more still, just sitting in the presence of Jesus Christ. And every experience we have, as our discipline grows more stronger, will lead us to prefer this quiet moments alone with God, more than anything else.
Prefer

Enthusiasm for Blogging – Where did it go?

I have recently looked at the WordPress Insight page for this blog.  It shows the number of times I have posted this past year.  Looking at it has been very depressing.  There have been months with very few posts, some months where I did not post at all!

I began blogging some years ago, first using Blogspot, then moving over to WordPress.  My wish, my hope, was to be able to share my views on the world of the Catholic Church, locally, nationally and internationally.  I wanted to share what was happening in my own spiritual life, and spiritual insights about the greater world. And I set the goal of trying to post at least a few times a week.  And for the most part I was able to keep to that schedule.  Even, when I was laid off, I tried to keep on posting.

Now, I am employed again, but the commute to my new job is two hours to; and two hours back.  I am usually not home until 8:30 PM, if I am lucky.  And sitting at the computer sometimes is the last thing I want to do.  And now, I have the WordPress app on my smartphone, and I have actually posted using it.  But is uses a lot of data!  And my plan does not have that much.

Of course, the main reason I have not blogged much this year, is that I no longer have the same enthusiasm for it.  It is rare for me to be inspired to sit in front of this cranky laptop, that has a cursor with a mind of it’s own; and produce something that people would be interested in reading.  And I still like reading others people’s blogposts, for the insights they offer, or just the joy of reading good writing.

Maybe I will rediscover that old enthusiasm again, some day.  What I need to do is to open to those moments, when a spark of inspiration ignites within me, and gets to to sit down and write.
Enthusiasm

State of My Year!

“Answer when I call, my saving God.2015 calendar

In my troubles, you cleared a way;

Show me favor, hear my prayer.

Know that the Lord works wonders for the faithful;

the Lord hears when I call out.

Tremble and do not sin;

upon your beds ponder in silence.

Offer fitting sacrifice

And trust in the Lord.

Many say, ‘May we see better times!

Lord, show us the light of your face!’

But you have given my heart more joy

than they have when grain and wine abound.

In peace I shall both lie down and sleep

For you alone, Lord, make me secure.”

(Psalm 4: 2, 4-9)

WordPress.com has a blog that offers a “Daily Prompt,” to help bloggers come up with ideas for a post.  The one for May 19th, 2015, was “State of Your Year.”  I am responding to it today.

What is the “State of My Year?”  One could say it has been a mixed year so far, full of ups and downs.  In January, I was laid off from my job.  And I have found that the world of job searching, has changed a lot since I was last laid off from a position, over twenty years ago.  Before, it was printing up a stack of resumes, getting a pile of envelopes, rolls of stamps, and mailing those resumes to potential employers, with a well crafted cover letter.  Now, everything is online, job boards, recruiting agencies, even the company’s human resource department, it is all online.  You are either uploading your resume to an application website, or e-mailing it as an attachment.  There is rarely a telephone number, let alone the name of a person you can call to follow-up with.  I applied online dozens of times over the past four and a half months.  No takers yet; a least a few companies sent response e-mails.  Now my previous employer provided me with a very generous severance package, but that will soon be coming to an end.  Things may be getting a little tight soon.  Am I worried?  Yes, I am.  Am I in despair?  No, I am not!

The reason why is reflected in the above Pslam, I trust in the love of my God, and His care for me, and my loved ones.  It does not mean that I expect some miracle (though that would be very nice.)  But I know that in my experience of the Father’s presence in my life, I am not alone.  I know that whatever the burden I may be carrying, Jesus is helping me the load.  That no matter how dark or stormy it may get, the Holy Spirit is within me, bringing light, bringing hope, and bringing peace.  And I know that through others, God is helping through this difficult time.

One of the highlights of this year came at the Easter Vigil, where I assisted as one of the Deacons.  The church was almost pitch black, when the Pastor lit the fire, and lighted the Easter Candle.  As my fellow Deacon and I process down the main aisle, the flame was shared with the congregation, each person lighting their candle.  The church had hundreds points of light, which dispelled the darkness.  I was given the role of chanting a great Easter hymn, “The Exsultet!”  I had practiced singing this hymn, with varying degrees of success.  But now, in that pulpit, as looked out into the church, I began to chant: “Exult, let them exult, the host of heaven…Be glad, let earth be glad as glory floods her, ablaze with light from her eternal King,…knowing an end to gloom and darkness.”

The Easter story, the Easter season speaks of hope, speaks of the love of God, which dispels all anxiety, all fear, and all darkness.  Soon Christians will celebrate Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came in tongues of flame, into the hearts of the disciples in Jerusalem, and into our hearts today.

I do not know what the rest of this year will bring, but I know we will get through it okay.

State of Your Year