Mary Chose the Better Part
“Mary chose the better part’, we read in the holy Gospel. There she is, drinking in the words of the Master. Apparently idle, she is praying and loving. Then she accompanies Jesus in his preaching through towns and villages. Without prayer, how difficult it is to accompany him!”
St. Josemaria Escriva
The Way, no. 89
This is a very familiar scene from Our Lord’s life (ref. Lk 10:38-42). In such a short passage we learn so much about Our Lord, his friendships, and what he wants from his friends.
Poor Martha, she was busy getting all the food ready! After all, what woman would not get anxious if Jesus was coming over for dinner? I would!
And yet, upon Martha’s complaint to Jesus that her sister Mary was not helping her, Jesus gives an almost perplexing reply: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and concerned about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her” (Lk 10:41-42).
Paraphrasing Our Lord, St. Josemaria says that “Mary chose the better part.” Apparently idle, Mary is at Our Lord’s feet praying and loving him. It is not a “waste of time” as the world may suggest to us when we try to set time aside for adoration and contemplation— time set aside just to be with Jesus, talk to him, listen to him, enjoy his company and peace. And what better place to do this than in front of the Holy Eucharist? This can be in an adoration chapel, or in front of the tabernacle at your Church, or any place where you can have a little quiet time for God and you alone.
What I have learned from St. Josemaria is that you can connect with Jesus present in the Eucharist anywhere you are. All you have to do is “fly to the tabernacle” with your imagination and tell him something lovingly, maybe something you imagine Mary could have told him, or beg him for a moment of peace in your hectic day.
As St. Josemaria also says, “Without prayer, how difficult it is to accompany him!” Do you want to be one of the few ordinary people in the middle of the world who wants to accompany Jesus? Fly with your imagination to any tabernacle that you love, where most likely Jesus feels lonely right now. Like Mary, do you want to “choose the better part”? “The better part” is compatible with taking care of your daily job whatever that entails. If you are a mom and a wife, it is likely to be making dinner for the family and dedicating time to doing that well. In this way, can’t we all understand Jesus’ message to Martha and to us?
This reflection is from our new series, “God With Us”: Loving the Eucharist with St. Josemaria Escriva, which is inspired by the writings of St. Josemaria to help the laity fall more in love with Christ, especially during this time of Eucharistic Revival in the USA.