Quick, hide everything, company is coming…and why I love St. Martha!

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Y’all, I have had many St. Martha moments. I remember a incident many years ago when a family was coming over to visit us for the first time. These were amazing folks and I wanted to put our best foot forward. The entire week before I was planning the menu, shopping for the food, purchasing fresh flowers, planning activities, etc. You would have thought I was organizing a state dinner. I remember the big day came and I was frantically trying to get everyone and everything perfect before our guests arrived that evening. After lunch, I basically made the table in our kitchen off-limits and I set it with a gorgeous tablecloth, lovely china, matching napkins, painted wine glasses, and fresh flowers. I then had my family help me pack away basically anything that we use every day. If someone had been taping us you would have thought we had gone mad. The vacuum was going and there was a flurry of activity, my kids were shouting over the vacuum,”Mom, where should I put this? Where does this go?” I gave up trying to figure out appropriate spots and just had them throw everything in the closet or my bedroom. We dusted and dusted again because I don’t know about you, but it seems that the when company is coming, the dust comes back an hour after you did it. Suddenly, everywhere I looked were imperfections, a lamp that is flickering, crud on the floor, and when did that huge scratch happen on the hardwood, and what is that strange smell- did someone use the bathroom???, and why do I keep finding socks in the strangest places. This is a disaster. It is one hour before they are coming and I am dripping in sweat and hope and pray they will call me any second and say they, unfortunately, have to cancel because they found out we are crazy people. Well, they finally come and I shift into major acting mode because my true self is ready to hide under my bed and never come out.  My house looks amazing, in fact, it looks like a showcase home that no one lives in. The family comes in and the kids go downstairs. The couple comes into the kitchen and sees the table already perfectly done, appetizers out on the counter, flowers everywhere, and lovely music playing in the background. The wife says, “Wow, how did you get everything all in place already? I smiled and said chuckling, “Oh, we have had this set up for days. We have been living in the basement.” At which point, we all had a great laugh and I secretly planned when I could have my nervous breakdown. Fortunately, for everyone involved, I have ditched that mind frame for a much more relaxed process. 🙂 

Jesus at the house of Mary and Martha. (Harold Copping Artist.)

St. Martha could probably relate to some of my story. She was very busy getting everything ready and continued to be when Jesus arrived.          

“She had a sister called Mary, who sat down at the Lord’s feet and listened to him speaking. Now Martha who was distracted with all the serving said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister is leaving me to do the serving all by myself? Please tell her to help me.’ But the Lord answered: ‘Martha, Martha,’ he said, ‘you worry and fret about so many things, and yet few are needed, indeed only one. It is Mary who has chosen the better part; it is not to be taken from her.’ Luke 10:38-4

I think we all sympathize with St. Martha at one time or another. We get wrapped up in all the details and lose focus on the primary goal which is to know, love, and serve the Lord and to care for all God places in our path. I think Jesus was disappointed with Martha for the following reasons:  She was prideful and tried to boast of her accomplishments and disparage/judge her sister’s lack of service. Theodore Roosevelt stated, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”  St. Martha shifted her focus on what someone else was doing, or in this case not doing instead of keeping it between her and God.  She did not prepare her home and heart early so that she could relax and be truly present to her guest, the Lord. How many times do we do these things or have done these things, my friends?  I know I am guilty of committing the sin of pride, comparison, not preparing my heart for the Lord in the way I should, and not being truly present to our Lord and to those He places in front of me.

St. Martha reminds us to watch for these vices that can so quietly slither into our lives without us noticing at times until we start to experience some irritation and discord. A very virtuous friend once told me that as soon as she feels something is wrong or “off” in her soul, she runs to Adoration. I think that is great advice. If you are unable to get to Adoration, you can go online, or you can just be quiet and be with the Lord and ask the Holy Spirit to show you what is causing your discord. We often think it is external, but more often than not it is our unjust reaction, quick judgments, or negative behavior to what is going on around us. 

In these difficult and unusual times when we cannot open our homes to others as we would like, let us ask the Lord how we can share God’s love in unique ways.

St. Martha, pray for us! You are in my prayers, dear friends! God bless you and hold you close. Thank you so very much for all your kind comments and support! So grateful to God for all of you!

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