Before morning prayer, my husband says,"We should go to Mass today."
We try to go to morning Mass the days he has off, but today all I could think about was how much housework I needed to get done.
"No, I can't. I have so much to do. I have to [insert everything imaginable household chore]."
"Ok, Martha," he said snickering.
I'm thinking: Martha Stewart? What a compliment! He thinks I run a super organized house. Oh wait, he's calling me that woman who had no time for Jesus because all she could think about was all the work that needed to be done. How dare he!!
I gave him a "I am not amused" look and the silent treatment as I opened up the Magnificat prayer book for our morning prayers.
"Oh, common. It was just a joke!" He says.
He continues to apologize as I open up the prayers for today and see right under today's date whose feast day it is. Martha. It's Martha's feast day! We couldn't believe it! After a good laugh, he said, "Ok now we have to go to Mass!" Any one of the other 364 other days out of the year, this Martha thing wouldn't have worked, but today, there was no getting around it. I had to stop everything and go to Jesus.
The wonderful thing about Saint Martha is, that in the end, she got it all figured out. She confessed that Jesus was the son of God and that he can do anything, even raise her dead brother, Lazarus from the dead. She grew in great faith and love; and she became a saint! Do I think she became a saint because she found a way to get out of all her housework? NO. I think she became a saint because she learned how put Christ in her work and make her work a prayer. She also learned when to stop and be still and let God be the only thing in her life.
As we read though the psalm for the day, it became clear that all those chores can become my idol when I put them first and put God last. When I give all my time, my attention and even my obedience to my work (or anything or anyone for that matter), I've made that my golden calf.
Pagan idols are silver and gold,
the work of human hands.
They have mouths but cannot speak;
they have eyes but cannot see
They have ears but cannot hear;
there is never a breath on their lips
Their makers will come to be like them
and so will all who trust in them!
You who fear the Lord, bless the Lord!
By contrast, when my work becomes a service to God and done of out love for God and my family, it can lead me to heaven. Sometimes I think, when I get all this stuff done with this, then I can pray to God. I tend to think holiness is something that can only be achieved when one is spending copious amounts of time in prayer and solitude. I've even had the passing thought that once my children are grown, I'll have time for real holiness! After all, who do you see at daily Mass: old people who have LOTS of time on their hands. Now I can see the error in my ways.
Give her a reward for her labors,/ and let her works praise her at the city gates. (Prv 31: 31)
Now is the time for real holiness; when I have the face of Christ x4 in front of me every day and many opportunities to offer up little sacrifices throughout the day.
So, I'm praying today:
O Lord our God, by the intersession of Saint Martha, renew my zeal for the tasks you have given me, that I may serve my family and the world around me by the works of faith and love. Amen.