Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Choosing "the better part..."

It was late, Pope Gregory the Great tells us. Benedict and his twin sister, Scholastica, had spent the day together. It was their one day - an annual visit at a meeting place between their respective monasteries. Benedict took note of the hour and prepared to leave. Scholastica asked him to stay. She wanted more time with her brother - she wanted to talk about the goodness of GOD all through the night. Benedict didn't get it. He didn't understand - couldn't place her need above The Rule. He made the choice he thought was best for both of them. It was time to say goodbye. Benedict's "no" meant trying a new strategy. Scholastica began to weep and lay her head on the table to pray. Suddenly, the skies opened up and a thunderstorm erupted overhead. Benedict looked at his sister and said, "Woman, what have you done?" We are told that GOD said "yes" to her prayer because her love was greater. Benedict remained with his sister that night and shortly after he returned home, word came of Scholastica's death.

I love this story. Most Benedictine women do. It is read every year on this day - the Feast of Saint Scholastica. The gospel proclaimed for this feast is the story of Martha and Mary - two very different sisters. Martha's complaint against Mary is well known to us. She wanted help in the kitchen. The Lord said to her in reply, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her."

Saint Benedict wasn't "wrong." Martha wasn't just whining. But Scholastica and Mary made different choices - better choices. And those choices defined their searching. I've made some poor choices in my search for GOD. I am learning that it's never too late to make better choices - to set my heart on the higher things, to choose the Love that will set me free. It's the work of my lifetime. When I die I hope some of my better choices will shine and move GOD's heart - like Scholastica's tears. That hope - this desire - gives me joy today.

Happy feast...and love to you all,

- Sister Vicki