Martha and Mary


Let Martha have her active ministry, very praiseworthy indeed, yet not without solicitude and agitation: nevertheless, let her bear with her sister, as she follows in the steps of Christ, in stillness knows that he is God, purifies her spirit, prays in the depths of her soul, seeks to hear what God may speak within her; and thus, tastes and sees — in the slender measure possible, though but faintly in a dark mirror — how good the Lord is; and also pours forth prayer both for Martha herself and for all who, like her, labor actively in the service of the Lord. In this Mary has not only a most just judge but also a very faithful advocate — the Lord himself — who deigned not alone to defend but even to praise her way of life, saying, "Mary has chosen the best part, which shall not be taken from her;" with these words he excused her from involving herself in the solicitude and agitation of Martha, however pious and excellent they might be. (St 3.9 and Guigo's Customs, Cap. XX)


Over the brothers of the House, the Prior is to appoint one of the solemn professed as a diligent Procurator - for so we wish him to be called. Who like Martha - whose office he assumes - will be occupied and troubled about many things; nevertheless, he is not to abandon completely or shrink from the peace and silence of his cell. On the contrary, he should be ever ready - in the measure that the affairs of the House permit - to return to his cell as to a very secure and tranquil haven where, through reading, prayer and meditation, he will be able both to calm the turbulent emotions of his soul which arise from the planning and care of external things, and also to store up within himself some helpful thought which he might gently and prudently impart to the brothers entrusted to him. (St 26.1)


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