TUESDAY, TWENTY SEVENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Memorial of St Faustina Kowalska
Jon 3: 1-10; Ps 130: 1-4, 7-8; Lk 10: 38-42
LED BY A CONTEMPLATIVE SPIRIT
In Bethany, Jesus was welcomed into the home of Lazarus, Martha and Mary. While Martha was preoccupied with serving, Mary gave her full attention to the divine guest. Her quiet devotion displayed greater reverence for Jesus than Martha’s anxious toil. According to St Gregory the Great, mystically, the two women signify two dimensions of the spiritual life. Martha signifies the active life as she busily labours to honour Christ through her work, and Mary exemplifies the contemplative life as she sits attentively to listen, and to learn from Christ. While both activities are essential to Christian living, the latter is greater than the former.
We need to make a sincere examination of these two dimensions in our daily living. Being busy with too many activities can divert our attention from God’s presence and hinder our contemplative growth. Mary learnt to be a contemplative in action. When her sister Martha complained about her, she might have felt hurt and embarrassed at being perceived as ungenerous and uncharitable, but her contemplative spirit kept her still at the Lord’s feet.
We find these two dimensions integrated into the life of St Maria Faustina Kowalska (the apostle of Divine Mercy), whom the Church remembers today. As she grew in her spiritual life, she had to endure misunderstandings, sufferings, trials, ill health, and neglect. Her contemplative heart triumphed through them all. Physically ravaged, but fully mature spiritually, she died in the aura of sanctity at the age of 33 on October 5, 1938.
But a greater model for this integrated spiritual life is our mother in heaven, Mary, who stood firm in faith at the foot of the cross, amid the throng who harassed, insulted and persecuted her son. Let us ask her to help us reach this integrity of contemplation and action in our spiritual life.
Response: If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand?
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