Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Being before Doing

"Martha had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at His feet listening to Him speak." Luke 10: 39

 It seems to me that everyone I know is too busy. And they all admit it. For young people, being stressed and busy is almost a badge of honor and I have even overheard teens comparing their schedules and activities like two veterans comparing war injuries or a couple five-year-olds comparing scars. The busier we are, the more sympathy we can elicit from people or hold over someones head, or use as an excuse for our shortcomings. School, work, friends, sports, clubs, homework, boyfriends or girlfriends, parents, teachers and siblings all vying for our attention and time. Is all this healthy?

But what if we are busy doing "the Lord's work"? What if we are always at every youth group event, serve at every other Mass, go on mission trips, etc. Can we be too busy if we are doing "good things" for God?

The answer is yes. And the only way to make sure we are doing "God's work" is to make sure that first and foremost we are being "God's". The reality is that anyone can "do" things, even Christian things, but even if we do lots of good things, it doesn't mean we are "being" a disciple. If we put our primary energy into being in relationship with Christ, then He will direct us to the things we are truly to be doing. And we will learn to say "no" sometimes. Even Pope John Paul II warned us about this in his apostolic letter Novo Millennio Ineunte (At the Beginning of the New Millennium) when he wrote: "Ours is a time of continual movement which often leads to restlessness, with the risk of 'doing for the sake of doing'. We must resist this temptation by trying 'to be' before trying 'to do'". Only then can we be sure that we are doing God's work. And this "being" comes primarily from prayer and reading Scripture daily. As Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta was fond of saying, "If you are too busy to pray, then you're just too busy."

Let's try to take a step back today, at the threshold of a new school year for many, and examine our lives to see if we are "doing with out being".

Dear Jesus, help me to be in an authentic, passionate relationship with You. Help me to know You and to love You. Then direct me how to best love others and serve You and my neighbor. Amen.


  1. Thank you Scott. I really needed this reminder- to pray in such a way that I am acknowledging this is my most important "work" of my day: building my relationship with Jesus and learning to rely on Him throughout the day. A priest told me once that at the end of the day I should not measure it based on how much I got done, but on how much I loved.