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whole world will end by being in the tortures of merciless hatred and sterile constitutions.
By giving Martha a familiar lesson on this very humble subject, Jesus teaches all inankind, and makes known the absolutely essential and first principle of every social science: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His justice, and all the rest shall be added unto you" - on condition, that is, of making use of common sense and personal labor.
After this mild rebuke to Martha, Jesus continues to instruct Mary, who “has chosen the better part.”—But, Lord, what merit can she claim for it? Hast not rather Thou chosen her for the contemplation of thy mysteries?
To be sure, Jesus calls first; and one's vocation is nothing else but the divine call by the hidden but strong voice which reverberates within the soul — our conscience; yet, when here the Saviour praises Mary for her choice, He does so, because she was free to refuse or accept the call. Such is also our merit when grace moves us.
Mary had answered fully the advances of the Master; instead of distracting or absorbing herself in material objects, that subdue the soul by captivating the senses, she had concentrated her whole self in God. The more we hear of the Word of God, the more we long to hear still more of it, and the more we contemplate it, the more He will show us His adorable love and light, that will enlighten and inflame us. Perfect union with God requires silence.
By His visit to Mary and Martha Jesus elevates woman to this eminent state and this perfect love. To be attentive to God in order to unite with Him in heart and spirit, is an act of supreine perfection.
Humble, silent, with that intense look that is more expressive than words, in that quiet contemplation that surpasses all action, Mary remains at the feet of Jesus in adoration; her body is immovable, impregnated with celestial light, and her soul soars towards the Saviour. Lo, they are united! Behold her enraptured by truth and love, drinking in eagerly the happiness of Heaven!
Nevertheless, human life cannot be spent in celestial contemplation, even by those who have chosen the better part." Material activity must necessarily interrupt the hours of high flight and of heart-to-heart communion with God.
Those most elevated by the grace of Heaven have to busy themselves, at times, with the lowly things of earth. Mary cannot get along without the labor of Martha, as little as Martha can dispense herself from close recollection in God, like Mary.
Thus, considering them together, in the union of their activities, Martha and Mary represent the vocation of all men, even of the most perfect. The union of these activities constitutes the spiritual life that each of us should feel bound to lead, after the example of Jesus Christ. Spiritual life is not the exclusive endowment of the cloister; in varying degrees, according to the designs of divine Providence, it must be that of all Christians without exception. Nor is perfection incompatible with outside labor. If all men are not in possession of the “better part" in the absolute sense of the word, all may have a beautiful part, for all are visited by Jesus, who becomes their guest in Holy Communion.
Let us women take care not to forget that to one of us the Saviour gave the most important of His teachings! He did it that we might practice it and that others might learn it by our example. By the will of God, woman, at the domestic hearth, is to teach Christian recollection and continuously preach “the one thing necessary'', that of the better part."
THE WOMAN UNDER A SPIRIT
JESUS STRAIGHTENS HER.
HEN one Sabbath day Jesus was
teaching in the synagogue, “behold there was a
woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years; and she was bowed together, neither could she look upwards at all."'*)
Especially on Sabbath and holidays Jesus used to teach in the synagogue. Sick and healthy people flocked thither to obtain favors from Him.
But was it lawful to heal on the Sabbath
*) Luke, XIII. 11 seq.