Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Choosing one's penance

In case you are waiting until this morning to decide on what you will do for Lent, consider the Gospel from Luke 10: 38-42:

"Now it came to pass as they went, that he entered into a certain town: and a certain woman named Martha, received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sitting also at the Lord's feet, heard his word. But Martha was busy about much serving. Who stood and said: Lord, hast thou no care that my sister hath left me alone to serve? speak to her therefore, that she help me. And the Lord answering, said to her: Martha, Martha, thou art careful, and art troubled about many things: But one thing is necessary. Mary hath chosen the best part, which shall not be taken away from her."

The desire to do many things out of Charity for God is right and just, but be careful to place the emphasis on the amount of things you can do. Mary had left her worldlyness behind her, even to the point of pouring out her expensive perfume on Christs feet, offering what she had to Christ. Her response was simple and ordered toward perfect Charity, her one desire, her singular work was now to follow Christ even to the Cross where she would once again reside at his feet.

When Christ was asked by the young man what else he must do to have eternal life, he told him to sell all he had and follow him (for Christ is the Pearl of great price), yet it was the repentant and simple Mary, and not the young man, who put behind her the world to focus on Christ.

A joyous Ash Wednesday to you

Photo: Carl Spitzweg's "Ash Wednesday"

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