An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Learning to be Mary in a Martha World

I love the fall; it is by far my very favorite season. With its arrival comes cool, crisp weather, savory stews with crusty bread, colorful scarves over bulky sweaters, and good books before a roaring fire. I associate everything that is warm and cozy with this season.

During this time of year I have an evening chore that involves walking around the house turning on lamps. Every room in our house contains a small corner lamp so nobody ever walks into a completely dark room. I also turn on the porch light, the garage lights, and a small spotlight illuminating our fall display.

When my husband and boys come home just as its getting dark, I want our home to be one giant hug when they walk in the door.

I love doing this simple task as it provides me with a few stolen moments of peace and quiet. But the other night, as I was walking from room to room turning on lamps, I was reminded that I was so busy being like Martha that I had forgotten that Jesus wants me to also be like Mary.

As a mother and wife, and as a woman, nurturing and caring for my family comes naturally. I completely understand Martha and her hospitality and her need to care for others.

But I also understand that, like Mary, I need to know when to let everything go and simply sit at the feet of Jesus -- listening to Him, learning from Him, surrendering to Him.

"To Keep a lamp burning," says Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, "we have to keep putting oil in it."

So, while my evening ritual is something Martha would do, it now also serves as a gentle reminder to do something Mary would do, for without spiritual nourishment I can't fully give of myself.

No, I can't give what I don't have, but God offers exactly what I need . . . all I have to do is ask Him.

And it is when I take the time to be like Mary, that the Martha within me truly shines.

*reposted from October 2008


Darla said...

Nice analogy! I too love light everywhere..especially really warm lighting. It sounds delightful to have a corner lamp in every cozy! You have a beautiful home too (from what I've seen in pics) so I can see how it would be nice to light all that up! :)

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

The Mary/Martha lesson really resonates with me as a homeschooler. So many of us rush around trying to do this and that with our kids, rather than allowing ourselves to sit quietly together as a family and see what unfolds.

Kim H. said...

Beutiful post Bia - it's always good to be reminded how we can be both Martha and Mary and have a need to be both.


Aimee said...

Perfect post, Bia. Thank you :)

Laura said...

I'm such a Martha I could slap myself.
Good post.

Jenni Jiggety said...

I think it is funny that you walk around turning on lights and I am forever shutting them off while I channeling my dad,

"What do you think this is? Electricty isn't free you know...."

Kellan said...

This was a beatiful post, Bia - and so true of me also! I love your tradition of turning on the lamps in your home - creating a hug for your family - it's a wonderful tradition.

Take care and have a good week - Kellan

Cheryl Lage said...

Bia this is so lovely...I'm going to take this page from your book...and the Good Book! ;)

E said...

Lovely Bia. I do the lamp thing too. I always think of lighting the lamps when i am leaving, as if I am leaving a little piece of myself behind in the rooms with them.
And I think like Mary you are shining a sweet puddle of lamplight and love on your family all the time. The lighting of those lamps has a sweet meditative quality.
You are surely like Mary to me...

Holly said...

I have a large picture of Mary and Martha on the wall in my kitchen, because that is where I spend most of my time! I keep it in there to remind me that I need to be both.

Great post Bia!

Kathryn said...

You are lovely, thanksf or this Mary reminder!

Lisa said...

Lovely, lovely post, Bia, and such a wonderful reminder. I have a most wonderful image of you now, lighting the lamps in your home ~ and I bet His shadow shows up on the walls...

GrandmaK said...

Ir is not easy being Mary. It's easier being Martha. If we are Martha we have tangible things to do. In the case of Mary, I have to sit and be quiet...not an easy task for ME. Thank you and sorry I'm so late in getting to your post. Still have the sore throat but it's getting better I think...Cathy

Elizabeth said...

How Beautiful.
I've always liked the comment that everyone was probably pretty happy that Martha stayed busy when dinner was ready!
Good Meditation, though!

Thankfully, our church has a 24/7 Adoration Chapel, the munchkins and I go at least one hour/week...I used to go from
1-2am, now THAT was some alone time with the Lord!

Pax Christi, E

Cathy Adamkiewicz said...

Such a beautiful post!

I am a Martha, and I find myself resenting Marys rather than trying to emulate them. Shouldn't she just be doing SOMETHING?!?!

I've fallen into that nasty trap again and again. Prayer is the best kind of doing.

My one saving grace is that our church offers Eucharistic Adoration. The quiet pews of my parish church are the only place in the world (so far) where I've been able to "be still, and know" that He is God.

Thanks for a lovely blog!