Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
The first ministry I was assigned to as a Jesuit novice was hospital chaplaincy. I had anxiety going into the experience. Eventually, I had an experience of hearing today’s Gospel: “you are anxious and worried about many things.” The focus had become about myself, rather than the person and Jesus already working in their lives.
One of the prayer cards we could give to patients included St. Francis of Assisi’s “Canticle of the Sun.” At the end, God is praised through “sister Death” as familiar to us as “brother Sun,” and “sister Moon.” We all experience some form of death, transitions, heavy workloads, the illness or passing of a loved one. God is working all around us, moving us to Him, even in dying. While not easy, stillness helps us notice.
In prayer, imagine sitting at Jesus’ feet, asking him how his love has been active in your life.
Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and you give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.
Praise be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon
and the stars, in heaven you formed them
clear and precious and beautiful.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind,
and through the air, cloudy and serene,
and every kind of weather through which
You give sustenance to Your creatures.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water,
which is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom you light the night and he is beautiful
and playful and robust and strong.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Mother Earth,
who sustains us and governs us and who produces
varied fruits with colored flowers and herbs.
Praised be You, my Lord,
through those who give pardon for Your love,
and bear infirmity and tribulation.
Blessed are those who endure in peace
for by You, Most High, they shall be crowned.
Praised be You, my Lord,
through our Sister Bodily Death,
from whom no living man can escape.
Praise and bless my Lord,
and give Him thanks
and serve Him with great humility. Amen.
—St. Francis of Assisi, Canticle of the Sun