It is not surprising that God’s intervention in our lives requires us to make way. In addition to sweeping away our original plans and preferences, we also need to give up our time and will; offering our desires to make way for the expression of God’s will in our life and to allow God’s kingdom to be present on earth and in our hearts.
As Jesus Christ our Lord has taught us in “The Lord’s Prayer”, “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. Even before Jesus has introduced us to this prayer, His mother, Mary, has already fulfilled its teaching when she accepted God’s intervention and allowed God to enter into her life.
When we are building an intimate relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ, the most beautiful aspect of this process is our willingness to accept and rejoice in Jesus’ unexpected visit.
In the story of Jesus visiting Martha and Mary, it is evident that Jesus has never booked an appointment with them ahead of time. Yet, they welcome their Lord Jesus Christ with open arms, tending to Jesus’ every need, each in their own way, during His visit. Like Martha and Mary, we should seek to develop a deeper relationship with Jesus! Particularly, like Mary, who remains at Jesus’ feet to attentively listen and converse with Him. Luke’s portrayal of this event reveals that Jesus loves to spend some solitary time with us, especially as we present ourselves with a humble heart, and sit at His feet to listen and converse with Him. Such is our priority every single day. Our Lord Jesus Christ became man; this implies that He yearns to be with us always.
In the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 1 Verse 23, it says,
“‘Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel’, which means, ‘God is with us’.”
Since one of the main goals of Christ’s incarnation is to fulfil our Heavenly Father’s desire to be with us, how could we refuse to make this goal our desire as well in our life? Our solitary time with Jesus Christ everyday is the pinnacle of our everyday life!
Only if we nurture this attitude and habit that we may truly call ourselves Christians. We must let God take over and direct our heart and our dwelling place; and in our daily lives, lift high God and His Holy name and place Him above all things. During Jesus’ another visit to Bethany, while Martha serves Jesus, Mary takes a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anoints Jesus’ feet, and wipes them with her hair (ref. John 12:1-8). We can see that this event is highly significant as it is recorded in three Gospels (ref. John 12:1-8, Matthew 26:6-12, Mark 14:3-9). In all three narratives, Jesus has high praise for Mary, highlighting the importance of her action and sentiments. Particularly, in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, Jesus solemnly declared,
“wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.”
From this, we can tell what is important to Lord Jesus Christ.
Our intimacy with God often triggers the devil’s jealousy. The devil will surely endeavour to hinder and interrupt our time and opportunity of meeting God, and distract us with every trick up his sleeve. To avoid his deceit, we must guard our time and habit for prayer everyday. In order to establish a good prayer habit, we need to persevere and refuse to give up too easily.
We may find it a bit dull at the beginning; however, with the help of some prayer “tools”, such as reading and meditating on scripture, receiving sacraments, especially the Eucharist, as well as seeking spiritual companions, especially with Mary our mother in Heaven leading us; our prayer life will gradually become delightful and pleasing! Like the intimate sentiments reflected in Mary’s encounter with Jesus in Bethany, sitting by His feet and listening to Him, in a spiritual space where we encounter Christ everyday, our conversations with Christ are easy and sincere, and our relationship with Christ is above all things.
How do you prepare yourself to let go of everything without hesitation – your work and original plans – when God decides to intervene in your life? How would you welcome God’s presence and unexpected visit?
Now, I invite you to reflect on the delight and pleasure of sitting at the Lord’s feet, listening to Him. Enjoy your encounter with the Lord in this spiritual space.
Are you willing to learn from Mary, who has sacrificed a costly perfume for Jesus’ sake, to sacrifice the most precious things in your life?
Dear Lord Jesus Christ, I know You cherish me and desire to speak heart to heart with me, but I know that due to my busy-ness and excessive distractions I have often given You the cold shoulders in the past. How I have kept You waiting! From this day forward, I yearn to learn from Mary so that I may welcome You and relish the solitary time with You; listening to Your teachings and words from Your heart. Change my heart, O Lord, from a heart that only knows how to receive to one that knows how to give, and be willing to offer up to You the most precious things in my life. Let me follow the example of Mary, our Mother, so that we may relinquish all our will into Your hands. Lord Jesus, my heart belongs to You!
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.