Martha was the keeper of the house, who made sure that the home was harmonious and nurturing for Jesus. Mary was the feminine intelligence who conversed and engaged with the incarnated Christ. Martha managed. Mary engaged. They both cared.
From esoteric knowledge, Jesus was the Son of Man born as a babe in a stable. Christ is the Son of God entering the corporeality of Jesus at the Baptism.
Martha was the caregiver of the Son of Man meeting his earthly needs. She fed the body, washed the garments, swept the floors and was gifted in growing food, plucking feathers from chickens, kneading bread, maintaining the fires to meet every need for the well-being of the earthly body. Imagine her heating the water for His bathing.
Mary was the caregiver of the soul bearing the Christ. She asked the surprising questions, deepened the teachings with her brilliance. She made Him laugh and she made Him cry. Mary knew how to bring His wisdom down to earth. Mary massaged his feet with grounding oils. (It is Mary’s spiritual intimacy with the Christ that empowers her to see Him resurrected following the death of the earthly body.)
Martha brought warmth to the material life of Jesus. Mary brought warmth to the spiritual presence of Christ. Both are essential. Each of us must warm up spirit and matter with equal devotion and enthusiasm.
When there is inner conflict, when the soul struggles between the weight of our earthly duties and the lightness of our spiritual inspirations, it is the balance between Mary and Martha dwelling in our heart that offers gratitude for the burdens of earthly needs surrounding and supporting our conversations with the Spirit.
Celebrate your inner Martha. Do the dishes, make your bed, sweep the floor even when you are suffering loneliness, so that your inner Mary can converse with the Divine and shine in the Light.
And if you are more like Mary, remember to ground yourself in matter and be joyful while you do the dishes not just oil the feet of your Beloved.
Do these thoughts create a transformation in your personal relationship to caring for the earthly needs of the spirit? Christ incarnated into the experience of earthly needs and limitation. He welcomed the feminine caring from both Martha and Mary.
New Theological Research on Mary
There is a new theological study revealing that the earliest papyri of the John Gospel speak only of one sister, Mary. In this study it becomes clear that Christ proclaims Mary the Tower of the Future, just like Peter is proclaimed the Rock of the Future. Given that the John Gospel reveals the most spiritual and esoteric narratives of the Christ and leaves the Jesus narratives and earthly teachings to the other gospels, this makes sense. Mary Magdalene is the feminine spirit and the one who cares for and confesses (John 11)the Christ Incarnation.
But we must also bring reverence to the role of Martha in the life of Jesus and the practical needs of all those who bring forth the Inner Christ in their soul. Our earthly body needs food, clean clothes, a home that offers shelter and so much more that only the Inner Martha can provide.
At the Last Supper
It just occurred to me that Mary may have sat at the table for the Last Supper, but it was Martha that baked the bread that became His Body and poured the wine that became His Blood.
Mary understands and values the Mysteries. Martha understands and values of the needs and realities.
If you are naturally a Martha, spend some time on today and every day enlivening your Inner Mary. If you are naturally a Mary, sweep the floor that the oiled Feet will walk on.
A few of questions to inspire your thoughts:
1. How does the distinction between Martha and Mary as caregivers of the Son of Man and the Son of God challenge and awaken your understanding of the roles of spirituality and practicality in our lives?
2. Reflecting on the text, how can we find a balance between grounding ourselves in the material world like Martha and nurturing our spiritual intimacy like Mary?
3. What are the potential conflicts between our earthly duties and spiritual inspirations, and how can we navigate them?