Second Friday of Lent/March 6/Prayers of Examen

Luke 10:38-42 (NIV)


“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’ ‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’ ”

I can relate to Martha. I love to cook and try out new and interesting dishes on people, but I’m not good at multitasking. It’s an effort for me to follow a new recipe while juggling conversation with guests in the kitchen. I know what Jesus would say. “What matters most are the people in front of you. Just come and sit with me.” He invites me to come to the table. Desire brings me there. So does heartache and feeling overwhelmed. Discipline helps me decide what to eat. I want to give my undivided attention to God and to the people he brings to my table, literally and figuratively. For that to happen I have to put first things first, as Mary so humbly did in sitting at Jesus’ feet. Humility – which Mary models here — is the foundation of all the virtues and all the disciplines. Makes total sense. I can’t love if I’m not humble. I can’t maintain joy or peace alongside self-pity, entitlement or resentment. When my critical spirit puts people in boxes, I block the flow of God’s love. I cannot both judge and love. Thank you God, for revealing this.

If I were Martha, sitting in examen at the end of the day, what I would be most grateful for are my gifts of creativity and hospitality in serving. All gifts of God are to be celebrated. And I would be grateful for the Lord’s presence and grace to me. I would be least grateful that I let my perfectionism and resentments spill out onto Mary and my Lord. I would ask forgiveness for that, of God and of Mary, and pray over how God could channel my gifts in ways that would allow me to be fully present to him and to others while I’m serving. This could change everything.

Today’s prayer practice: Prayer of Examen

What are you trusting in for your self-worth besides God? What activities or things do you use to fill your cup and your ego? Reread the passage above, asking God to show you what you need. Then go into examen, looking for where you find Life and where you’ve missed out. Ask for help.  “The Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.” Psalm 146:8 (NRSV)

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