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Friday, July 29, 2011

St Martha

Today the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of St Martha of Mary and Martha fame. She is the patron saint of chefs, cooks, homemakers, housewives, housekeepers, butlers .. domestic workers.

 The bible tells us that Martha was gently chastised by our Lord for being more concerned with the hospitality side of things and reminded her that she also needed to take care of  her spiritual life. Perhaps He was also reminding her that there is more to entertaining guests than the actual preparations.

What a valuable lesson for us women to learn. We get so caught up in the practicalities of cleaning our homes, providing meals and doing laundry that we need to always remember to set aside time for the Lord and time for our families.

 From this interaction between our Lord and Mary and Martha, we learn that  the mundane tasks are necessary, but that the most important thing is that all we do must also lead us to the Lord.This means that our chores and duties must not take us away from living out our vocations as mothers, wives, sisters, friends, community members.

I believe that St Martha must have been a very gracious hostess.. concerned with the well-being of her guests.   I do wonder, however, if in seeing to their needs, she absented herself and was not sociable enough.

In my early years as a wife and mother, I was very much like St Martha. I remained in the kitchen, making sure everything was perfect and popped out occasionally, leaving my husband to do most of the entertaining.
As my girls grew older, I have been able to rely on them to fetch drinks and serve which leaves me more time to sit with guests and chat.

I guess the lesson I take from Our Lord's discussion with St Martha is that it is not necessary to have perfection in order to be a gracious hostess, it is not necessary to focus on details to convey warmth and friendship.. in fact these things are obstacles.

Of greatest importance to me  is that to sit at the feet of our Lord is the best place to be.. what a blessing it is to be a homemaker and have all these hours of service that can be offered to Him!

I remember once hearing a homily by a dear old priest in which he said that our homes are our altars, everything we do is a prayer.. when done in the right spirit of service and love. In serving our families, our guests, we also serve our Lord.   And that, my dear friends, is the best service of all.

May our Lord teach us to be gracious and to serve with hearts full of love.. and may we all shine brightly for Jesus!

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