Faith and Culture | In the Beauty of Christ
One of the great characteristics of our contemporary cultural ethos is the way in which we can easily take charge of things. In our family affairs, for instance, we know how important it is to be responsive to issues that affect the well-being of those close to us. Indeed, our ability to react quickly and with certainty is part and parcel of being responsible with and for others.
Similarly, in our work environment and social milieu, we have grown accustomed to acting decisively so that others may not mistake our hesitancy for incompetence or lack of interest. Curiously enough, our work culture seems to reward this preference for all things practical by providing us with incentives. Our work manuals and manager's tool kits are replete with strategies for building effective, efficient and productive teams.
And in our social interactions with one another, the advantages are often with those who are less timid -- as the saying goes, it is the early bird that gets the worm!
This American pragmatic approach to life that we treasure so much has served us very well. Our communities and society -- in many instances -- continue to thrive because of it. In the face of great tragedies, we have learned to be resilient and, with great human effort, continue to find our way back to success.
However, if we are honest with one another, we have to recognize that our propensity to act swiftly can also be the cause of many missed opportunities. For example, in our own families, we can quickly busy ourselves with so many things that we forget to acknowledge those special moments in the lives of our loved ones. Equally, in our professional and work lives, we can easily jump from task to task and simply lose track of what is life giving in the service we are doing.
Resembling New Testament times, we can end up like the characters in Paul's writing, acting like "busybodies," ignoring the beauty and richness of the tradition that has been handed down to us (2 Thessalonians 3: 6-11). Or like Jesus' friend, we miss out on the "better part," failing to participate in the fullness of truth, goodness and beauty (Luke 10:42).
Paul's words to the Thessalonians and Jesus' words to Martha remind us to let go of our false sense of control and allow for an experience of rest where God takes the lead. Put differently, we are invited to participate in the beauty of Christ that elevates our humanity and takes us where we need to be. Given our own personal busyness and drive, it will not be easy. Yet, we can recognize its significance.
What better place to participate in this divine respite and beauty than our Sunday Eucharistic celebrations. Each time we gather and participate in this wonderful memorial, we not only fulfill our religious obligation, but actually fill our hearts with the fullness of beauty and grace that comes to us in Jesus Christ.
In this sacramental moment in time, our well-founded human efforts give way to something greater than ourselves. The responsibilities and cross we carry are lightened by the love of Christ in our midst. The business of our human cares gives way to a new way of living, moving and manner of being. And, before this greater care and beauty of Christ, we hear the words of Jesus anew: "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" (Luke 10: 41-42).
Orozco is director of Hispanic ministry for the archdiocese.
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