1 6. Question.
What does it mean when Martha said to the Lord about Mary, “I am hard at work about many things, while she sits beside Thee”? (Luke 10:41)
What Mary might well have said to Martha, the Lord, anticipating her, replied that she had left everything to sit at the Lord’s feet, and bless God all day long. You see, her sitting was for love’s sake. But that God’s word may be made clearer, listen to this. If any one loves Jesus, and attends to Him in earnest, and not in a casual way, but in love abides by Him, God is already devising to make some return to that soul for its love, although the man does not know what he is to receive, or what portion God is about to give to the soul. When Mary loved Him, and sat at His feet, the gift that was added to her was no casual gift ; He gave her a certain hidden virtue from His own substance. The very words which God spoke in peace to Mary were so many spirits, and a power; and these words entering into her heart were made a soul to her soul and a spirit to her spirit, and a divine power was filled into her heart. Where that power shall lodge, it cannot but abide permanently, as a possession not to be taken away. For this reason the Lord, who knew what He gave her, said “Mary hath chosen the good part” (Luke 10:42) But after a time the things which Martha had done so eagerly in the way of service brought her to that gift of grace. She too received divine power in her soul.
St. Macarius the Great, Homily 12, Q. 16, p. 103