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Monday, July 19, 2010

Few are needed

‘Martha, Martha,’ he said ‘you worry and fret about so many things, and yet few are needed, indeed only one. ..’

While I don't want to give the Enemy too much credit, I have occasionally mused on how easy his job can be sometimes. Assuming that it happens to be to cause us harm (and in effect, to cause pain to our Heavenly Father), it seems to me that he can do a lot of damage simply by distracting us.

This reminds me of the junk-carrying lady in the movie Labyrinth, whose heroine was close to defeat .. by distraction. She was on her way to the heart of the Labyrinth in order to save her brother, but there was a deadline. Bad enough that she must weave her way through a labyrinth, then her search is interrupted by the junk lady, loading her up with trinkets, toys and baubles, objects that held some value to her from childhood. Soon enough, with her arms and back beginning to overflow, she oddly starts resembling the junk lady herself! In the meantime, dwelling on sentimentality as she hugs old toys and other little treasures, her time begins to run out.

A recent podcast from Catholic Answers Live, with guest Jeff Cavins, drove home this point for me when I heard it a few days ago. In God Has a Plan for You, host Patrick Coffin and his guest talked briefly about the distractions that are now truly pervasive in this century. So many online distractions: Facebook, Twitter, email, etc. Many things in our lives are not of themselves bad. Even toys serve good purposes .. when we were kids. Social networking and online utilities serve communication purposes, which can be a good thing.. but it can also become a bad thing. Do we really need to know if someone just made a ham sandwich? In the meantime, while we stay connected online, what are we missing out on?

Is it true that if we found ourselves with one free hour of peace and quiet, no scheduled activity, just by ourselves, then we would not know what to do? Do we really need to entertain ourselves in every waking hour? Always plugged into the iPod? Always checking our email?

Jeff Cavins asked a few penetrating questions in that CAL episode: (paraphrased) will we continue on this path at break-neck speed, never pausing to consider what exactly it is that we should be doing? Will we ask that question when we've only four years left to live? Are we simply entertaining ourselves continuously as if we're simply holding on until this is all over?

Is this it?

‘Martha, Martha,’ he said ‘you worry and fret about so many things, and yet few are needed, indeed only one. ..’
-- from today's Gospel reading in Luke 10:38-42

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