Mary teaches us that sitting is better than bustling—listening better than muttering. In church history, the contemplative tradition focuses on turning a loving gaze towards Jesus.
Meditation is another valuable practice when we focus our mind on analysis and understanding of God’s truth. But contemplation is less about what you are thinking and more about a place in your heart before God.
From the Latin word contemplatio comes the meaning of a cleared space before an altar.
Mary is an example of contemplation. The better thing in our lives for God is being with God. Martha chose doing work for God over being still with God.
There are things that can be taken away from us. Our work, our home, our titles… but nothing can separate us from the love of God found in Jesus.
God is in the house. Come out of the workroom and sit with Him.
St. Teresa said:
'Contemplative prayer in my opinion is nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us.' Contemplative prayer seeks him 'whom my soul loves'. It is Jesus, and in him, the Father. We seek him, because to desire him is always the beginning of love, and we seek him in that pure faith which causes us to be born of him and to live in him. In this inner prayer we can still meditate, but our attention is fixed on the Lord himself."[i]