Sunday, July 18, 2010

Our Hearts As Bethany

James Tissot's: Jesus at Bethany

I would like to look at today's Gospel (Luke 10:38~42) from a slightly different perspective. It is one related to an experience I had about a month ago while listening to and reflecting on a meditation I had heard on this very reading.
Martha, Mary and their brother Lazarus were friends of Jesus. The house in Bethany was a place Our Lord often visited during His earthly life. Scripture tells us that: "foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the Son of man has no where to lay his head." (Luke 9:58) But Jesus knew that He would be welcomed at this home of His friends at any time.
In today's reading we hear how the two sisters related very differently to Our Lord. Martha was always busy with the details of showing hospitality to their Divine Guest, while Mary, as always, was content to sit at His feet and hang on His every word. I sometimes imagine Lazarus in this scene in the background just rolling his eyes at the two of them. Our Lord gently but firmly rebukes Martha in her complaints about her sister's refusal to help; He tells her that Mary has chosen the better part. We never find out Martha's reaction to Jesus' rebuke.
During the evening of reflection in which I heard the meditation on this reading, we were given some quiet time for personal prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. It was during this time that the thought occurred to me that our hearts should be Bethany for Our Lord. He desires each of us to welcome Him, give Him a place to rest, and simply sit at His feet.
I don't think Jesus was all that upset with Martha; he realized that the preparations she was making were necessary, but He also desired her company.
He desires ours as well. Our hearts being a Bethany for Jesus is a thought that has remained with me since that prayerful evening. It helped me to realize that preparing my heart for Jesus in Holy Communion is important, but once I have done that, He simply desires my loving attention to His Presence. The same holds true for my visits with Him during my holy hours. I don't have to spend every one of those hours in formal prayer; sometimes it is just enough to sit quietly and prayerfully gazing at Him in the sanctuary (Psalm 63:2).

Prayer
My Dear Lord Jesus,
Come Divine Guest and find my heart a place of welcome rest. May You always find my heart and soul ready to receive You. May I never again neglect Your Presence within me because my head is too busy with the details of my day. You always felt welcomed at the home of Your friends in Bethany; may my heart be like Bethany, always ready to receive and welcome You.
May I prepare it as Martha did, then choose the better part, and sit at Your feet as Mary did.
Help me to be content in gazing upon You in prayerful adoration as You gaze lovingly upon me.
Thank You for desiring to be with me always.
Amen.

12 comments:

Anne said...

What a lovely prayer! The thought that Mary resides in our hearts, always ready to sit and be still with the Lord, listening to His every word is beautiful!

Michael said...

Wonderful perspective.

You know, when I heard this passage at mass this weekend, I, too, wondered what Martha's reaction was.

Of course, I also shook my head "at" her. How could she possibly not spend every second with the Lord while He was in her home!

Then, as always, I looked in the proverbial mirror and realized I was shaking my head at myself!

God Bless!

Karinann said...

Thanks Anne and Michael.
Yes Michael, I am often a little too much Martha- sometimes even when I am sitting at His feet!

Colleen said...

Beautiful prayer and reflection. God bless and hugs.

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

Hi Karinann, I don't know if you read Fr. Austin's hlog, but if you did, he had a very interesting interpretation of this story. Your comment that you don't think Jesus was all that upset with Martha parallels what he said. If you don't follow Fr. Austin, you can reach his blog through my blogroll.

I should also let you know that Blest Atheis went down, and I replaced it with 100th Lamb -- same content. I explain why there. I am also moving the old BA posts there, including the Blest Guest posts. It will just take some time to get that all done because there are 200 posts to move.

Have a blessed Sunday.

Karinann said...

Thanks Elizabeth.
I will check out Fr. Austin's blog. Good luck with your blog move!

wheat4paradise said...

Making our hearts a Bethany for Jesus -- what a wonderful thought! We can play the roles of each of Jesus' special friends: Lazarus (thankful for our resurrection in the Lord), Martha (serving Him in our daily work), and Mary (resting in His presence).

Thank you for posting this delightful meditation.

God bless,
David

Karinann said...

Thanks for your thoughts on this, David and for bringing to mind each of the roles the family at Bethany plays- all important for our spiritual lives.
God Bless!

Gabrielle said...

This is really a beautiful reflection, Karinann. I too want to better cultivate this "loving attention" to Jesus, all throughout the day. The image of Jesus having a place to rest His head in our hearts is something that I can use to call myself back to His presence when I feel myself slipping too much into the 'busyness' of life. Thank you...

madyjojjef said...

so good to see such kind of prayer its really beautiful with real emotion.. That post have creativity keep it up.

Karinann said...

Thank you Gabrielle and Madyjojjef for your kind comments.

madyjojjef said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Closing Prayer

Psalm 45: Canticle of Love to the King

My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.

Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One,
In Your splendor and Your majesty!
And in Your majesty ride on victoriously,
For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
Let Your right hand teach You awesome things.
Your arrows are sharp;
The peoples fall under You;
Your arrows are in the heart of the King’s enemies.

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.
All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.
Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.