The best for oneselfMartha is distracted, Mary is concentrated at Jesus' feet. Martha is taken from things, Mary is happily taken by Jesus' voice. Marta becomes insolent, annoying, she accuses the Lord of carelessness and blames her sister for her indifference. Mary does not reply, Jesus himself defends her. Marta is upset, Mary is sitting quietly before the Word's voice. Marta is concerned about the Lord, Mary is absorbed in the Lord. Martha serves Jesus, Mary uses Jesus to reach Him. Marta is worried for many things, Mary chooses what is necessary for herself. Marta wants to do good, Mary chooses to become good. Mary choses the better part for herself, that is the Absolute who will not be taken from her.
Martha and Mary are two complementary ways to live life, to love the Lord balancing active engagement and contemplation.
Here the choice is not between work and prayer, effort and meditation, charity and asceticism. There are not two ways to follow the Lord and to deal with life, there is just one, and one alone. One is the sure way, that certain way so that God's richness pours out upon us, a wealth and well-being which no power on earth can ever take away from us, and it is Mary's way. Mary does not choose meditation or to listen to the Word, Mary chooses the Lord, thus she chooses the best for herself. This is the secret of secrets. The secret of true wealth, the secret of true peace, health, happiness. Is there a day which does not drive to concerns, a relationship which does not drive to anxiety, a duty which does not drive to agitation, a job which does not drive to distraction because of the many things to do? Life is a constant distraction, a continuous concern and worry about problems, accidents, injuries, disappointments, expectations. It is this constant distraction that keeps humanity poor and weary, burdened and sad. The way in which we have arranged life distracts us, it distracts us from the best, from the true well-being, from what we really need, the true richness which cannot be taken away from us.
Being continuously distracted by satisfying the needs and expectations of others out of fear, perpetually busy in denying the hopes and expectations of others out of anger, we let life pass by without choosing the best for us. We are always distracted and worried, annoyingly and foolishly judging God and men, always sad and pettish, embarrassed by our own aggression.
Mary chose the best for herself, she chose the Lord, she chose to have just one distraction and concern, the voice of the Lord, His face, His hands. This does not mean that Mary is the founder of the consecrated or ascetic life as opposed to a life in the world. One can live in a convent while being perfectly distracted, one can be worried and anxious even in the shade of the cloisters, arrogant and poisonous even in a monastery in the middle of the desert. Mary is not a way, she is the way, the only way we can walk through, no matter what we are doing as a living. Choose the best part for themselves, which no one can ever take away from us is a matter of good sense towards themselves, it is a precise choice to choose Him, always, in any case.
We can worry about other people's expectations or listen quietly to God's prospects through Jesus' Word. We can be concerned for the many things to do, or we can choose the best entrusting everything to Him, totally and continuously to Him.
We can demand the others to change, or we can choose the best by starting to change ourselves without ever demanding it from others. We can spend the entire life expecting for the others to understand us, or we can choose the better part by beginning to understand and to know a little better ourselves and our Lord. We can demand attention from God, and get angry with him because he does not meet our expectations, or we can sit as gently and humbly lovers before him and be fascinated by the beauty of his face and the perfect wisdom of His Word, totally sure that he is already providing to us in a sublime and marvelous way. We can spend our lives either judging others continuously and deeply worried and afraid of other people's judgment, or working for the kingdom with dedication and joy, softly abandoning our hearts and thoughts to God. It is a choice. It is the way.
Choose the best for ourselves is what we really need, the only thing that really counts. And even if we want to help others and be effectively at their service, we need first of all to be calm, happy, wealthy and healthy. Certainly we are not helpful to anyone, neither to ourselves nor to God, when we are distracted, upset, worried, anxious, aggressive, demanding and judgmental.