• Sarah Raad


To please God we must live our vocation – whatever it may be – to the best of our ability, without worrying!

Christ in the House of Martha and Mary (Vermeer)

The other day I was speaking with a dear friend of mine who told me that she was sad and that God must be upset with her because she does not pray enough.

The poor poor girl to have worries such as these!

She is a new wife, a new mum, newly returned to her full health after a protracted illness, and very very young…

And here she is worrying about God being upset with her!

These days I am lucky enough to attend Mass regularly. Through prayers for my beautiful baby niece who had been so sick last year, I sort of fell into the habit of regular – often daily – Mass at the same time as I fell into love with God.

And yet there is a selfishness here for me.

I do not attend Mass more frequently because I feel myself obliged or to offer a sacrifice to God. The sacrifice of the Mass is Christ’s and Christ’s alone – I bear no part in that other than to give Him honour.

Rather, I attend Mass because it gives me rest!

Sadly, I am so weak, that MY prayers are for MY comfort – not God’s! Even in this practice of adoration, I derive more value than I provide to my Beloved – despite all my love for Him. How lucky am I to receive this as His gift to me – for love of me – His weakest and most unworthy child!

At the time of my conversion last year as I call it – for want of a better word – I suddenly thought to myself “Oh No, why didn’t I become a Carmelite nun, cloistered and devoting my Earthly life to prayers for my Beloved?”

Yet, almost immediately as the thought occurred to me, I realised the nonsense of this idea!

I am no Mary. I am Martha!

“‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’” (Luke 10:42-43).

And yet, upon reflecting on these words of Christ, I do not lose hope in salvation – rather I find my hopes restored!

I am a wife and a mother… I missed my chance for the vocation of Holy Orders – I was unworthy of such a calling.

And yet, still I have hope…

“Mary has chosen what is better”… BETTER – not GOOD!

How lucky for me that these were the words of Christ!

Christ did not tell Martha that she had chosen BADLY or WRONGLY or UNPLEASINGLY. He told her “Mary has chosen what is BETTER” and “you are WORRIED and UPSET about many things…”

That right there. Those words of Christ to Martha. That is the directive for my vocation.

Possibly – if you have also not chosen “what is better” because you too have not taken Holy Orders – then that is a directive for your vocation too!

Christ loved Martha and He was gentle with her. He did not ridicule her or berate her. He was not angry, annoyed or upset with her. He was kind and patient. And He told her the truth.

The truth is exactly as He said it in His exact words. Though Mary chose “what is better” the problem with Martha was not her choice – she did not chose badly – it was her execution.

The problem with Martha was that she was “worried and upset about many things…”

Christ told Martha what to do – and so too, He tells us!

“…But few things are needed—or indeed only one…”

Him. God. Salvation.

Worry less! Trust more!

If we follow this directive in the works of our own lives, then we too – as parents and partners and workers and friends and siblings – in worrying less and trying more, can please God!

And really, that is the “only one” thing Christ told us to worry about anyway!

For prayers – in thought, word and deed – we stand on Holy Ground. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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