"When Our Lord corrected Saint Martha, He said, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and upset about many things..." [Lk 10:41] Note that she would not have been troubled if she had been merely diligent, but she was overly concerned and uneasy; she was hurrying about and all stirred up. Rivers that flow gently through the plains carry along large boats and rich merchandise. Rains that fall gently on open fields make them fruitful in grass and grain, while violent storms devastate fields and pastures. A job done too eagerly and hurriedly is never done well. "He who is in a hurry should go slowly,: says the proverb. We perform actions quickly enough when we do them well. Drones make more noise and work more eagerly than worker bees, but they make only wax and not honey. So also, people who hurry about with tormented anxiety and solicitude never accomplish much, nor do they do anything well." (St. Francis DeSales)
Many of us who read these words from St. Francis De Sales can find some relation to the hurried and anxious St. Martha. It seems that much of our society has been victim to a fast paced lifestyle and mentality for quite some time. We seem to lack the very thing we need in order to truly live as God has called us to. In saying this, it is important to note that many of us have also fallen away from the notion of God as creator and true architect of our lives. We often run ourselves to the point of exhaustion to accomplish our goals, meet deadlines and complete assignments. Yet, one must consider asking themselves in response to this sharing from St. Francis De Sales “What would happen if I just slowed down?"
For many this idea of slowing down may appear as laziness, lack of ambition, or a deflation of their work ethic. However, if I may suggest, in slowing down one can better understand and complete their goals with clarity of mind and peace of heart that will ultimately carry them further..and not leave them utterly exhausted. It is also in this slowing down and freeing ourselves from the constant obsession to be in motion that one may also reconnect with our Lord. As I have shared many times before it is through silence and stillness that we encounter God and can truly hear His voice.
Choosing to slow down and live free of "hurry" despite what is going on around us is a very challenging task. Many come to this decision when faced with no choice at all. It is often sadly after the death of a loved one, a health matter, or technological failure that may lead us to realize our need to just stop, breathe, feel, and think.
Naturally the pressures of life may cause us to react as St. Martha did. Just as our Lord corrected her then, He is now speaking to each one of us saying “You are anxious and upset about many things there is need of only one thing." (Luke 10:40-42) The one thing Jesus refers to is the very thing that will enable us to be like the gentle falling rain which gives life and fruit to the dry open fields. It is through slowing down that we are able to accomplish great tasks. Let us learn from St. Martha's hurriedness and not forget that as we hurry our Lord is calling us away from our distractions and anxieties to sit and listen to Him.
Lord, Today I pray that during these summer months those who are burdened by work, worry, and unrest may find the time to slow down. Let us not fear the stillness- but rather embrace it with openness. Lord provide us with the clarity to see that we can not accomplish great tasks without great surrender to You. Provide us with the strength, awareness, and courage to overcome the human emotions which often lead us astray. Help us Lord to prioritize our lives and our daily agendas in ways that acknowledge our need for You. And Lord, when we are distracted and overcome, help us to see You. Thank you Lord for Your many blessings and gifts. Teach us to sit and listen. (Amen) C.C.