Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Phil 4:6-7

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Martha, Martha

Christ in the House of Martha and Mary, by Johannes Vermeer

I think I've said this before, and I'm certain I'll say it again; today's Gospel is one of my favorites (I don't believe there is a limit on favorites). I've blogged on Martha and Mary before, as I am, like many other moms, torn between being Martha or Mary. I think mothers in particular have a hard time not being Martha. We are responsible for so many "of this world" things -- the cooking and cleaning and corralling the "stuff."

Today at Mass, Fr. Lonzo, one of our fine parish priests, gave me new insight as to why it's better to be Mary, but not always bad to be Martha. He began his homily by saying if he "had it to do over again" he would do many things different. Now, Fr. Lonzo is like 10 years old (just kidding, but he's a baby to me), so, if he has things he'd do over, I'll be in purgatory for several lifetimes doing it over. His reasoning was, if he had things to over he would have prayed more. He said, as Catholic Christians we are called to do good deeds, but if they are not tied to Our Lord Jesus, they cannot save us.

I know several people, even family members, who live virtuous lives. They do good deeds, they live fairly straight and narrow, but they say they don't believe in God. Most, I believe, feel that you don't have to actually have to verbalize your belief in God, but that if you love your neighbor, you have nothing to worry about. Now, I don't know for certain that these folks believe in heaven or hell, but I have an inkling that they are living a virtuous life for a reason. I've always had a problem with this life philosophy, but couldn't actually put my finger on the problem. If they are living virtuously, who am I to say they won't be saved?

Father Lonzo put his finger on the problem today – the link between good deeds and God. If our good deeds are not linked to God, in thought and in prayer, then they are deeds of this world and not of His. It's not a bad thing to be a Martha, as long as you spend most of your time being Mary -- a sort of 60/40 arrangement (or better yet, 70/30). It's hard for us mothers to forget the laundry or dishes to sit and pray the rosary. But, I for one am going to give it a go. Father asked that we give the Lord "a few more minutes" every day. I think I can do that. I may need to set a timer on the computer to do that, but, I'll put on my Mary hat for those few minutes.


  1. Hi again, we're back! I love this gospel, too. One of our church's mom's group meetings referred to the book A Mary Heart in a Martha World. It had some great words of wisdom in it.


  2. This is one of my favorites as well. Eric had to shoot me a look as soon as the Gospel started, particularly because at confirmation in April, I picked Martha as my confirmation name.


I appreciate your comments -- sometimes I feel like I'm talking to myself!