“There is only need for one thing.  Mary (of Bethany) has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”

Lk 10:42

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In this quote Jesus is speaking to Mary’s sister Martha who complained to Jesus that her sister Mary sat listening to Jesus while Martha was busy with household tasks.

What was Jesus saying in this?  It seems, on first blush, to be a harsh response, perhaps even egotistical … but alas it speaks a truth.

It speaks this truth: we cannot do without reflection, without contemplation, without God and the wisdom and peace He alone brings the human person.

It tells us we are, by design, contemplative.  We do not live by task alone, by work, being busy, habitually in motion, surrounded by noise and activity.

Yes, we cannot work ourselves into peace, nor pursue pleasures to secure tranquility and contentment.

We are made for a deeper satisfaction, an eternal assurance, an everlasting certainty realized here among the conflicts, disappointments, worries and distractions – yes, among the evil and its foolishness, frustrations, injuries and hostility.

There is in all of us a monastic disposition – a need for silence, solitude, simplicity for we are not human beings but rather spiritual beings in search of the Divine and the peace God brings, a peace and contentment that surpasses mortal existence and all its calamities.

In the modern world, our contemplative nature is shunned, discounted, ignored. ‘Tis a big mistake and the source of our pain and suffering.  You see there is no truth in mortal existence.  In mortal life there is man and his imperfect being, his exclusive and self-serving longings, his ego, his “belief” in self, and the fear and violence it produces.

This is the point that Jesus is making in his response to Martha – yes, “Mary has chosen the better part”  – made the wiser, more healthy choice.  How about you?

Christian monastic life has existed since the 4th century when it flourished in Egypt, Syria, and Asia Minor – the exact places where radical Islamists are executing and exiling Christians and destroying Christian artifacts, burial sites of Saints, churches, museums and shrines while neither political party, nor the President or Congress do anything. Shameful isn’t it – we trifle , yet, over the “concerns” of transsexuals.

There are two axis for peace for you: you and your culture.  When you find sickness, violence, disorder in your culture, you see godlessness.  When you feel deflated, angry, lost, depressed do as Mary of Bethany did – listen in silence, contemplate – let God be known to you, in you and in the world and beyond mortal existence.  Block out all the other noise, foolishness and distractions – they mean nothing and cause you to lose your precious way.

Shalom.

Prayer Request – Please pray for the repose of the soul of Carl Rowland who died of cancer last night and for his wife Jodie, his and her extended family, and for friends who will miss him.  He was a very good man – and Jodie was heroic in all she did for him in a time of great suffering and pain.

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