Jesus 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 has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”
— Luke 10:38-42
Deviating slightly from the Blessed Mother to talk about another awesome Mary and her equally awesome sister, Martha.
As Christians, we get swept up in the question of “Are you Mary or Martha?” and sometimes it seems like the only correct response is to be a Mary- Martha obviously has a you-know-what up her you-know-what and Mary is so chill and just loving Jesus, and we should all aspire to let go of our anxiety and worry to merely rest in the presence of Jesus. I mean, He even told us that Mary had chosen the right thing- to be with Him.
And YES obviously it is very good to join with Jesus, to sit at His feet, to listen to His words. However, Martha was also doing a good thing. The Martha’s of the world are so necessary. They are the servants, they are the workers, they are the ones who get things done.
It should be our goal as Christians, and especially as women, to balance the two. We need them both. Father Henry said during mass: Prayer without action is sterile. Action without prayer is empty.
When we embrace Jesus, our prayer should inspire our actions. We are called to be servants, to do to the least of these. But we cannot unless we are praying. Yes, Martha is anxious. But her anxiety calls her to action and to service. It asks her to give of herself for the sake of Jesus, something that we should all aspire to. Yet we also need to take the time to sit at the feet of the Lord, giving of our hearts.
We are both bodies and souls- we need to serve the Church both through ministries and through our prayers. We contribute our lives, both in action and in prayer. The Church could not survive without the catechists or those who administer communion or priests or parents who raise their children in the church, etc. But none of those people could effectively serve the Church without offering those actions to the Lord and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide them.
Which way do you lean- Mary or Martha? And what can you do to balance the two?