Catholic Exchange: Learning Balance Alongside St. Martha

A good many of us live busy lives. This busyness can become burdensome as we pack our days with activities, work requirements, family engagements, and especially during periods of illness or suffering. Our service to our families and our neighbors can become a source of resentment, exhaustion, and spiritual malaise. This is precisely why Our Lord lovingly rebukes St. Martha when she allows herself to become so overburdened that she cannot stop in Christ’s presence.

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.”

Luke 10:38-42

Through St. Martha’s example, Our Lord is telling us that we must find balance between service and prayer. If we do not take time to sit quietly with Our Lord in adoration, then resentment, anger, envy, exhaustion, and spiritual dryness can take hold. We can become trapped in sinful cycles that can only be broken through time with Christ and renewal through the Sacrament of Confession.

Read the rest over at Catholic Exchange.

Just Say “No” to Busy

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I have not written much on this website lately.  I was taking a break to focus on my family and faith journey.  I had gotten myself into a rut where I was doing too much and accomplishing very little.  I was leading or helping out in five ministries while trying to balance being a wife, mother, and Lay Dominican.  Needless to say, it was not working out very well.  So, I took a step back and gave up two ministries in my parish for at least a year and I also am taking a break from writing for CatholicMom.com.

There is a major tendency in our culture to think of any woman who is staying home i.e. not working outside of the home and who is focused on her family, is lazy and worthless.  Only a woman who has a career or is involved in fifteen volunteer activities is worthy anything.  This is because our culture glorifies busyness, rather than authentic, quality service.  The most important job that we moms have, is just that:  being a mom and a wife.  Our families are relying on us to keep things together and then stumble along leading our family towards Heaven.  I got caught up in this thinking when I left the workforce four years ago and became pregnant with my daughter.

I always imagined myself teaching at a university after completing a PhD program.  God had other things in mind.  After I was accepted into a Master’s program in theology, I found out that I was pregnant with my daughter.  It became clear very quickly, that my schooling would have to be put on hold.  I am glad that I made that decision, because I had some health issues throughout that time period that would have made it difficult to focus on a newborn and theological studies.  I did struggle for a while, though.  I had sacrificed my dream of an education and everything our culture has to say to me would point to my being a failure.  

The fact is that society’s thoughts on my life do not matter.  What God has called me to is what matters.  For reasons that I do not entirely understand, God has called me out of professional life for now and into our home.  Being home with my daughter is a tremendous blessing and I would not change a thing.  It is a struggle for me some days because I am an intellectual woman.  Singing Old McDonald does not challenge me intellectually, but it is precisely where God has asked me to serve right now.  And that is the point of this life: service in love.  I am choosing the greater good for my family. Love comes with great sacrifice.  It means opening wide and giving everything we have, even though we do not want to do it.  It means that people may judge our actions as futile or wrong.  I always point to the fact that I will be held accountable for how I raise my daughter.  I will stand before Our Lord and give an account for my choices and whether or not I listened to Him.  I could not care less about the account some neo-feminists think that I owe them.  I am tired of feeling guilty for doing the right thing.

This means that I will no longer try to fill my calendar full to the brim.  It means that I will say “no” at times because it is what is best.  Yes, playing with my daughter is more important work than me leading every ministry possible because no one else will do it.  If I abandon her, then I will fail at the vocation Christ has called me to.  By the way, spending time in prayer is also more important than most of our activities.  Are there areas of your life where you just need to cut back?  Have you told yourself that saying “no” is okay?  Do you glorify busy?  Do activities take away from your family or your prayer life?