The passage from the Gospel of Jesus, according to Luke 10:38-42, tells us that a certain woman named Martha had the immense privilege of opening her home to Jesus, the Ecumenical Christ. How many people longed for and found comfort in the chance of being able to listen to the Heavenly Friend, to gaze into His eyes, and learn His sublime teachings? This was indeed a unique moment, an honor, and a demonstration of how deserving the family of Martha was to welcome Jesus as their guest! Her heart, however, was uneasy, and she was worried about the number of things she had to do but that distracted her away from that unique occasion.
Today, whether we live in bustling cities or in the most peaceful country retreats it seems that time is moving at a faster pace. This feeling has led us to seek strategies for spending our time more efficiently, because our commitments are not reduced. Adults, young people, and children are all experiencing a very wide variety of demands. This lack of balance in our agendas, as in the case of Martha, generates anguish and suffering even in situations that should be pleasurable, but that unsettles individuals and harms the peace of the family.
Balancing the responsibilities of being a mother, of looking after the home, of being a professional, a student, and a citizen is a daily challenge. Even if we can rely on the support of our husband and of other family members, let us go to sleep and wake up asking God and our Guardian Angel to help us fulfill the extensive list of tasks we have. Even if we establish priorities and take into consideration what is urgent, now and again we get lost among so many items. This feeling that there is a lot left to do and bills to pay can often let us upset, and once again we end up acting like Martha.
Getting back to the Biblical passage, Martha appealed to Jesus that He should ask Mary, her sister, to help her with the domestic chores. The young woman had chosen to sit at the feet of the Divine Master to listen to His Sacred Lessons. Mary’s courage is admirable. She had a lot of things to do at home, but before the Divine Friend she had no doubts: she knew how to distinguish and clearly perceive what was urgent and at the same time important. She lost no opportunity to make the best and most intelligent choice she could. Without perceiving the value of her sister’s gesture, Martha begged, “Lord Jesus, tell her to help me.”
In our lives these tasks may become reasons for great strife and may separate parents from children, or a couple, or the whole family instead of uniting them. All goals and commitments are important, but they may cost more than the investment in time and sweat is worth; their cost may be that we become distanced from someone we love, or experience a lack of dialogue or time to be a family.
Learning how to choose the best for you
This is a crucial question: how do we use the verb to balance wisely? Being a father or a mother is also developing the science of balancing agendas and prioritizing essential meetings, like meals with the family, moments of dialogue and leisure and the essential exercise of prayer at home, when everybody gathers together to feed the Soul, as the Religion of God, of the Christ, and of the Holy Spirit encourages us to do, by providing the Ecumenical Meeting of the New Commandment of Jesus at Home. These meetings, in particular, represent quality time—over quantity—and which seems to be lacking in most families. This is time that requires learning how to leave to one side other concerns in order to live that instant of Fraternal Love, Respect, and a strengthening of the family ties.
When a lot of service disturbs our heart or compromises the harmony of our family, let us remember to choose “the best for us,” those moments that will remain forever, as in the case of the sisters Martha and Mary, in which the Divine Teacher observed: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Gospel according to Luke 10:41 and 42).
As parents we cannot forget this: the teachings and investment that will remain for Eternity with our children. The best for us is supplying our heart and our Eternal Spirit. We can always find this in the examples of Jesus. The Divine Master always gives examples of Friendship and the right attitudes of Goodness, reminding us that dialogue and affection are precious gifts we can offer to each other in sacred family life.
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Angélica Beck — An Ecumenical Preacher of the Religion of God, of the Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, a mother, a wife, and a journalist. She has a Master’s degree in Philosophy.