"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.'" (Lk. 10:38-42)
Our vocations are given to us as God's chosen path for us to sanctity. But, what does it mean to be saints? A saint is someone who enjoys eternal happiness while beholding the face of God forever in Heaven. Wanting us to desire this reality, He sets before us the path in life where we can best see Him in others and so learn to love and yearn for Him here on earth. Yet, what if we are too busy to take notice? Perhaps, we have become too attached to the things of this world to appreciate the beauty that gives us a foretaste of the next?
In his book, Mother Teresa of Calcutta: A Personal Portrait, Father Leo Maasburg noted one of the quiet ways Bl. Mother Teresa practiced charity:
"When she turned to speak to someone, she concentrated on them completely. It was as if she and that person with their questions and concerns, were the only people there."What a wonderful challenge this presents! The "gift of self" often referenced by St. John Paul II is not simply a general term applied in an overall vocational sense. No, it is a phrase that is meant to be lived daily, moment by moment, with each person we encounter.
How frequently does one fail to make the effort to put aside mental or material distractions for the- often short- time they are in a loved one's presence. What does this say to the other? Distractions take on different forms but can easily be justified by one reason or another. Yet simply because technology or our mental faculties allow us to multi-task does not mean we always should.
To turn one's whole heart and mind to another expresses the value we place on their importance in our life and the love and respect we have for them. Blessed Mother Teresa once said:
"Speak tenderly to them. Let there be kindness in your face, in your eyes, in your smile, in the warmth of your greeting. Always have a cheerful smile. Don't only give your care, but give your heart as well."In a culture where soundbites rule and moments are captured on phones, it certainly goes against the grain to take in the whole of a moment, and not be satisfied with a piecemeal approach. Yet, what joy there is when one learns to patiently and lovingly attend to the other! What great peace comes, when we refuse to be rushed, and can fully enjoy the other without the voices of restlessness and anxiety that perpetually tell us we are wasting time and must busy ourselves with something else. Like Mary, who constantly "pondered these things and kept them in her heart," let us too learn to patiently ponder the hidden beauty that lies waiting to be discovered in those closest to us; a beauty that foretells of the infinite beauty that is awaiting us in Eternity.