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Memorial of St. Martha

July 29, 2009
Saint Martha
Saint Martha

Saint Martha is the sister of Mary of Bethany and of Lazarus.  We read about her and her sister in the Gospel of Luke. Here is the Gospel Reading of today: (courtesy of the USCCB website)

Luke 10:38-42 (New American Bible Translation)

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.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

During meditation and as we remembered St. Martha in the Liturgy this morning I was reflecting on what it means to be a “Martha” and a “Mary” in the context of my vocation to an active religious community within the Church.  While it is true that the active aspect of our apostolate is important, and one in which we devote a great deal of time to, it is not the only aspect of our religious life. We are called first to be another “Mary”. This time spent in meditation and spiritual reading is so important to our lives as active religious that for most Sisters, the early morning is the time they set aside to be with Jesus.  As religious, we are called to bring others to Christ, and to bring Christ to others.  In Pope John Paul II’s “Vita Consecrata” he states, “In every age consecrated men and women must continue to be images of Christ the Lord, fostering through prayer a profound communion of mind with him (cf. Phil. 2:5-11), so that their whole lives may be penetrated by an apostolic spirit and their apostolic work with contemplation.[18]”  In short, we must ask ourselves, if we do not know Christ, how can we bring Him to others? We must first get to know Him through study of the Sacred Scriptures, spiritual reading, and meditation so that we can share His love with the world. Religious life is first and foremost a being, then in our active apostolate we minister to His children by doing those corporeal works of mercy.

Here is an excerpt from our Constitutions:
Our apostolic life flows from our life of prayer.  It is one that changes work into prayer, and prayer becomes the very heartbeat of our life.  Conscious that our apostolate bears fruit only to the degree that we are united to Christ, we permeate our entire apostolic activity with a religious spirit and fill our religious life with apostolic love.  Only when our life is rooted in faith, hope, and charity, can we bring Christ to others. (Paragraph 110)

Sister M. Veronica, OSF

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