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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Action vs Contemplation

A Post from Rob (from Tasmania):

I got Father Dave's heads-up about this forum.

He says: "Here's a reasonably sobering statistic for you:

In the four days since I sent out my update on the Fighting Fathers Forum, more than 400 people have visited it! How many of those persons do you think have actually made a posting? The answer: two."

I say (and I think Chauncey Gardener would agree): "We like to watch."

This reminds me of the story of Martha and Mary. As you will remember, Jesus was visiting the sisters of Lazarus. Mary (sister of Lazarus) bathed Jesus' feet with oil and sat there adoring him. Meanwhile, Martha (the other sisiter) was fussing with the housework, attending to the guests, etc. Martha got annoyed with Mary and said, "Don't just sit there adoring, do something to help." And Jesus said, "Fair go, Martha, I like what Mary is doing better."

What is going on here in this story? Certain commentators have said there are three spiritual paths. The first is the way of Mary: adoration. The second is the way of Martha (and of the apostles): action. The third is the way of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane: contemplation. Is any one of these better than the other? Jesus said adoration was the preferred way, yet he was a man of action and of contemplation. So what are we to make of that?

I think the starting point is to work out which of the three paths is the one for you. Maybe, like me, you would be 80% contemplation, 20% action, 0% adoration; maybe your percentages would be different.

I like Father Dave because he makes me bump up the action percentages. Left to my own devices, I think I would drift towards 100% contemplation. How about yourself? If nothing else, put a reply on this site nominating which is your dominant tendency: adoration, action or contemplation.

Dave, I got the ball rolling with one vote for contemplation. Are you going to step up to the plate?

Rob in Tasmania


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