The image of Martha’s sister, Mary, sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to his words inspires us to draw near to the Lord in silence and let His grace fill our hearts.
Tag Archives: Stillness
Study: Consider an experience where you were able to be still, pause and reflect. How can you make that pattern happen this Advent?
Pray: Carve out a few minutes this season for quiet prayer. Reflect on your life and invite the Lord to dwell in your heart.
Serve: There are many opportunities this time of year to help others. Look around for an activity that speaks to your soul.
Advent is one of those seasons that has the power to surprise us. Just like the relationship between Lent and Easter, Advent offers us a time to prepare our hearts for the great feast of Christmas. In this short season we discover the themes of Preparation, Waiting, Expectation, Repentance, and Stillness.
The thing is…if we aren’t ready for Advent then the whirlwind rush of December can sweep us up into the frenzy of the commercial side of the holiday. Many people are so busy – concerts, parties, family events, purchasing gifts and partaking of the “forced fun” of consumerism’s attempt at a Hallmark Christmas…
Whew! Instead, we can take a deep breath, pray, and reflect on where the Lord is leading us at this moment in our lives. Consider the readings this Sunday:
- 1st Reading – Isaiah acknowledges that the people are far from God
- Psalm – “Lord make us turn to you; show us your face and we shall be saved.”
- 2nd Reading – St. Paul encourages the people of Corinth to be faithful to the end.
- Gospel – The Lord exhorts us to be watchful and alert.
So in these short days of preparation here are a few questions to ponder:
- Where I can find a little stillness and quiet in my life?
- How is the Lord calling me to pray?
- Is there anything or anyone that requires special attention?
- Where is the Lord leading me right now?
- What do I need to do as I prepare for Christmas?
- How can I help someone in this quiet season of Advent?
You get the idea. Step back, pause, and consider in the busy pace that many of us call normal how the Lord is directing your heart. Advent has a beauty and power; our task is to enter into this season and allow God to speak to our souls.
Study: Where do you find stillness in your life? Where is a calm spot where you can slow down and listen?
Pray: Consider making a commitment to praying in a peaceful place for a few days. How does your prayer change when you can be still and listen to Christ?
Serve: Can your service help another find peace and stillness? Can you help others in such a way that they have an opportunity to listen to the Lord?
One of the great gifts of summertime is the potential for quiet moments in nature:
* Watching a campfire
* Time in the garden
* The beauty of a sunrise or sunset
* The stillness of the water
* The quiet before (or after) a storm
Moments like these are filled with chances to listen – to our hearts, our bodies, our family and friends, and the world around us. In these quiet moments we slow down to experience the beauty and truth that God showers upon us.
What’s important to note is that these times are not filled with activity, but stillness. It is in these moments when we are quiet that we actually listen and see God at work in our life. These insights happen when we stop and pay attention to the wonder around us.
This is what we find in the Gospel today. Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to his words with complete and utter concentration. When Martha (who was preparing the food and getting the house ready to welcome the Lord) complained that Mary was not helping, Jesus rebukes her – not because the work was unimportant, but because in life there is also a time and place to listen!
The need to listen is crucial, not only in life but in our life of faith. We know that we cannot work around the clock; we need time to rest and renew our hearts. We know that we cannot always be in constant motion (in action or in speech); indeed, there are times when we need to draw strength from the wisdom and beauty of others.
We find these moments in practical ways that are both accessible and powerful:
* Daily prayer (alone or with others)
* Reading the Scriptures
* Quiet moments (inside or outside)
* Experiencing nature (see above!)
These are moments when we, like Mary, slow down and allow the Lord to teach and strengthen us. Today we can pause and allow the Lord to love us; right now we have the chance to listen – hearing the faith, hope, and love we share as we sit at the feet of Jesus.