“I’m Always Mary”

When the Gospel one day was about Mary and Martha, a friend asked me who I was, Mary or Martha. And I answered readily, “I’m always Mary.” Then speaking Jesus’ part, she answered, “You chose the better part. And it will never be taken away from you.”

In my faith relationship with Jesus, I’m always Mary, choosing always to sit at the feet of Jesus to listen to His words, to ponder at the mysterious ways of God, and to relish His mercy and compassion in my life and for the rest of the world. There are times when I’m so loquacious, droning over and over to Jesus about my daily experiences in life, most of the time grumbling away all my pains. But there comes a point when the pain and weariness become so unbearable that you merely stay in silence at the feet of Jesus, crying, just feeling His presence with you, just knowing that He is there and you are not alone. It is like gazing at the face of Love and Truth, and just being merely with Him gives you comfort.

Being Mary at the feet of Jesus, I felt I wanted to be a Tertiary Carmelite contemplative, following the examples of my Patron Saint, St. Therese of Lisieux, and my Spiritual Mother, St. Teresa of Avila. I started as an Observer in November 2012. I was attending the second Sunday formation together with the aspirants, novices and other fully professed Carmelites. Midway, I was rethinking my intention of being a Carmelite, questioning my presence there. After several months as an observer, I stopped going to the Sunday monthly formations. I wanted some actions in my life, like Martha, always restless, always planning ahead of time and of herself. I said to myself, I would rather concentrate on my work, improve my service to the public through my profession, and just do my own readings of the works of St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and St. Therese of Lisieux. I said all these things to myself, despite my earlier promise to God and to St. Teresa and St. Therese that I would become a Carmelite.

It seems that God, and my insistent Spiritual Mother, St. Teresa, do not take a promise lightly. A promise is a promise which is a very serious matter with them. Slowly but surely, I just felt that they wanted me back at the Carmel House, no if’s and but’s, no long winding arguments and explanations, no sagacious interlocutions, they just wanted me there. God seemed to be missing me just sitting there at His feet, and I missed just being there gazing at the Face of Love and Truth. I wasted no time after that realization and in August 2013, I was back at Carmel, together with my Carmelite brothers and sisters. I did not only miss being at the feet of Jesus. I missed my brothers and sisters there.

St. Teresa said we cannot be priests but what we can do is pray for these ministers of Christ and for the conversion of the world. How blessed our calling is!

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