The Stop Drop and Pray Network
Marybeth works behind the scenes extending invitations, moving people around and constantly inviting new people to get involved. If you have an idea for something you would like to do simply talk to Marybeth and she will do whatever it takes to make it happen.
Recently Marybeth has served as a bridge between the school and the church. This bridge draws parishioners of all ages into full participation. Marybeth is a real gift of the Holy Spirit.
Martha Martha You are Anxious About Many Things
I felt the tears well up inside of me for no apparent reason. I was cooking dinner and tending to the needs of my family at a busy hour. Well actually there was a reason. Just a day before, the beloved Mat Matsumoto had passed away. The vivid memories I had of him sitting at the feet of Jesus and then being the face of Jesus to all of us that knew him at the daily table of the Lord was almost overwhelming. The gospel that day was the beloved story of Mary and Martha; you know the one where it reveals probably the only situation in scripture where someone orders God what to do. How often I am Martha masking my prayer requests as actually really just telling God what to do.
The onions began sizzling on the stove as the tears flowed down my face. I calmly felt HIS presence and intercession of our beloved Mat. ”Jesus wept” it says in Luke’s gospel. I would stay in the moment and let the writing of St Luke about the death of Martha’s Brother Lazarus fill me. I grabbed my bible and sat down for a moment recollecting the gathering from this morning with others of our faith community (monthly core team gathering) and our parish priest (Fr Kevin). We spoke about the gospel. We spoke about Mat. As I opened the pages and located the story, I immediately noticed that I had highlighted from a previous prayer time…
“Martha, Martha you are anxious and worried about many things, one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.” LK 10:41
Our priest had mentioned how parables have many meanings and layers to them. This story was ready to give me at the moment something new -something significant for my life. Mat was leading me. As I stared at those words I noticed the very next line and the seemingly coincidental position of the episode of when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. Jesus preceded to teach his followers the Our Father. I quickly recalled this passage as representation of the little booklet STOP DROP AND PRAY (SDP) in which the author describes that Jesus taught her that he wanted her to pray with others for healing using this prayer. This simple little teaching and message of the book has transformed our entire community. It has transformed my life.
I knew there was no coincidence of Luke’s placement. I knew there was no coincidence of the work God has me involved in with spreading the message of SDP. I took the lines apart. First,
“Martha , Martha you are anxious and worried about many things”.
This represents anything and everything we do in which we allow the power of the enemy to gain a foothold in our life. It represents our meddling and fretting over things or people that have frustrated us. These episodes and traps cause us to conjure up thoughts in our interior that lead us away from God. The Holy Spirit convicted me of moments in which I was doing that. Then came the antidote. The direction Jesus gives Martha. The direction he gives us.
“Mary has chosen the good portion…”
What does Mary represent here? What does “sitting at the Lord’s feet” mean? I quickly knew it was bigger than I had imagined. It was bigger than a simple explanation of a life of two sisters where one typically involves service contrasting the other with contemplative prayer. For me they merged together with a proper order in which the first serves the last… prayer fuels the work we do. Prayer fuels bringing Jesus to every situation, to every encounter. To seek and be at the feet of Jesus represents Philippians 4:8. I found it in my bible and noticed that this line too I had highlighted at some point.
“Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Mat spent a lot of time “at the feet of Jesus”. His car would be in the parking lot of our parish every morning no less than two hours before the bells of daily mass at 8am would ring. But it wasn’t just that time in front of Jesus that made a difference to all of us. It was what he did when he left that pew. The simple yet powerful words he would speak on the sidewalk; in our narthex. It was the encounter with Mat. His presence was true, just, pure, lovely and gracious. He reflected the light of Jesus because he sat in front of Jesus.
The onions continued to sizzle. It was time to add the meat. A text came over my phone. A prayer request was needed by a friend. I noticed a bag left in the kitchen that my daughter needed. As I checked my emails, our youth minister related she needed donation items for an upcoming event. Another situation occurred about meals for a single mother of three who had cancer. All that in 5 minutes. Whatever time I had previously been engaged in worry and anxiety I now felt a new direction.
Mother Teresa once said there is more poverty in our country than in her native India. Very profound words from a big saint who was only 4’9. Mat may never be canonized but we all know. He led a saintly life. He gave us an authentic witness of which our culture desperately needs. So today, if you hear our Lord whisper…
“Martha Martha you are anxious and worried about many things”.
STOP and turn towards Jesus. Seek what is good true and beautiful and God will reveal an infinite amount of ways to do something good. Live in the present moment. Don’t give the enemy a foothold and instead put the power on God’s gifts of the Holy Spirit and we too can become “saints”. We may not see Mat’s car in our parking lot any more but our hope is in his final destination.
“Eternal rest grant unto thee and may the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.”
The Present Moment
Some say seconds
Have different worth
From the Hail Mary Pass
To the second of our birth
From the words “I do”
Or the second a plane lands
Can seem more important
Than the moment at hand
But God gives each moment
An amount kept secret
From when we breathed our “first”
So how will you spend
Each second today
Will you hear Christ’s voice
In words someone might say
Or the eyes filled with tears
That should walk right past
Or the bedside of the person
Breathing their last
From the neighbor next door
Who interrupts our plan
Or that unknown person
Who comes up to our van
Will we be just too busy?
Will we be too immersed?
Will we put our needs second?
Will we put this moment first?
Will we recognize the value
Of each second of each day?
And not be fooled
By what the world might say
For God gives us each moment
To be used and be treasured
To not be fooled
That they are of unequal measure
For the grace of the present moment
Is all part of God’s plan
Each second each moment
Breathes The great “I AM”
So here is the “take home’
The final “One, two”
The providential moment
Has the power to change you
So make it a great moment
For there are 86,400 of them today!
Praise him and trust him
In all you do and you say.
(Amen Lord, Jesus I trust in You)