One thing is necessary
In the story of Mary and Martha, Jesus told Martha 'one thing is necessary';
but he never tells us what that 'one thing' is until a scribe asked him which
was the first commandment... 'Love God with all your heart mind soul and strength...
and your neighbor as yourself' In this story, Martha is cumbered about much
serving, *doing* stuff for the Lord's approval, and Mary is just loving him..
Things that *you* do cannot get you closer to God. Prayer and meditation will
not get you closer to God. They are things *you* do. But prayer and meditation
can help you still your mind and focus your attention on Him. Here's two time
honored ways to quiet your mind and put yourself in the way.
is a discipline that helps you focus your attention on the
Lord. It gives your mind enough to do and allows you to seek the face of the
Lord in your heart. The centering prayer people recommend you pray twice a
day for 20 minutes, I'd recommend you find a schedule that suits you. Here's
how it works.
* Choose a word or phrase from scripture as the symbol of your consent to
God's presence and action within you.
* Sit comfortably, and with your eyes closed, focus on your word or phrase.
* If you become aware of any other thoughts, gently refocus on your word.
* At the end of the prayer period, remain in silence with your eyes closed
for a few minutes.
is a fancy word for praying the scripture back to God. Its
really the same thing as centering prayer except it uses more words. It keeps
your mind busy, and allows your heart to be drawn closer to the Lord by His
Love. I think Lectio Divina was formed in monasteries because not everyone
knew how to read. During mealtime, they used to sit a monk on a stool in the
corner of the room and he would read the scripture aloud. Here are the traditional
steps to Lectio Divina:
* Reading. Take a passage of scripture or other devotional work, and read
a few verses aloud.
* Meditation. Allow yourself to be drawn by a word or phrase, and ponder it.
* Prayer. Apply the word to your present situation; allow the word to penetrate
your heart and pray it back to the Lord.
* Contemplation. Allow the Spirit of the Lord to open your understanding and
These methods can help you - or not - depending on your nature. For myself,
I've decided that if the Lord can dwell in my heart when I'm sitting quietly,
He can dwell in my heart while I'm walking around. So I do walking around
meditation. But I'm also an opportunist, and I take advantage of times I'm
stuck somewhere - like in a doctor's waiting room, and I take advantage of
quiet times during the day to be still before Him. If you practice practice
practice until it becomes a habit, you'll find that your prayer will blend
into wordless contemplation and you will enter into 'be still and know that
I am God'. Please don't get hung up on the method. The only thing that will
get you closer to the Lord, is your desire for Him. Alone. Apart from any
of His Gifts. But in the end, the Lord decides when to reveal Himself. Not
Disengage your rational mind. Get into the mind of your heart. Locate His
presence. Rest in His Love. Stay there. If any thoughts distract you, look
over their shoulder and relocate His presence. If you journal, write it down.
Luke 10:38-42 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him,
and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone?
bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her,
Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing
is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken
away from her.
Mark 12:29-31 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is,
Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy
God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with
all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely
this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment
greater than these.