Blog di FORMAZIONE PERMANENTE MISSIONARIA – Uno sguardo missionario sulla Vita, il Mondo e la Chiesa MISSIONARY ONGOING FORMATION – A missionary look on the life of the world and the church
It is hard not to be over-busy and consumed by work, particularly during our generative years when the duties of raising children, paying mortgages, and running our churches and civic organizations falls more squarely on our shoulders.
And so, we give ourselves over to our work. It begins in good will and innocence, but it invariably transmutes into something else. Initially we give ourselves over to all these demands because this is what is asked of us, but as more and more time goes by that commitment becomes less and less altruistic and more self-serving.
Our work soon becomes an escape. We remain busy and preoccupied enough that we have an inbuilt excuse and rationalization so as not to have to deal with relationships be that within our own families, our churches, or with God. Being weighed-down constantly with work and duty is a burden but it is also the ultimate protection. We do not get to smell the flowers, but we do not have to deal either with the deeper things that lurk under the surface of our lives. We can avoid the unresolved issues in our relationships and our psyches. We have the perfect excuse! We are too busy.
Classical spiritual writers are unanimous in warning about the danger of overwork and of becoming over-preoccupied with our work. This is in fact what Jesus warns Martha about in the famous passage in scripture where she, consumed with the very necessary work of preparing a meal, complains to Jesus that her sister, Mary, is not carrying her share of the load.
In a rather surprising response, Jesus, instead of chastising Mary for her idleness and praising Martha for her dedication, tells Martha that Mary has chosen the better part, that, at this moment and in this circumstance, Mary’s idleness trumps Martha’s busyness. Why? Because sometimes there are more important things in life than work, even the noble and necessary work of tending to hospitality and preparing a meal for others.
Idleness may well be the devil’s workshop, but busyness is not always a virtue.
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