All day Martha heard things said to her
The briefest moment after they were said.
She smiled a little after she answered -
Not with her words. And her eyes were very grave
While her lips made upward curves. Now it was dark
Evening in Palestine - smooth silver gray
Cupping the summer fields and all their hum.
Out into the night she went and pressed her cheek
Against the bark of an olive tree to think.
"'Mary hath chosen the better part' - Chosen,
Yes, there's the pain," she said. As if one chose
To scour bowls until they shone like bright
New-burnished suns; as if one chose to spread
Linen beneath a summer sun to bleach;
As if one chose to sweep the crumbs from off
A hearth and mold wheat-cakes for hungry mouths
To eat." She watched the first star come and said,
"As if one chose to be a star perhaps -
Or if a star might choose to be a sun.
Why I remember Mary when she was
A little thing of four. Even then
Someone had lit a lamp inside her soul.
When kinfolk came to us they saw her first
And turned to me only lest I might guess
The thing about myself I knew so well.
And then I learned that with my hands I might
Do little things to please. They would not light
A lamp inside of me, but they were all
My range of choice allowed - my highest reach.
Choice does not signify unless it be
The more or less of that which one can do.
And yet He said..."
The first star saw
Her lashes tremble on her cheek. And then
She rested still against the great kind tree.
The summer noises in the grass came up
And pressed about her - silences
Made audible in little piping notes.
A million stars pricked out a new design
Upon the sky. She saw it through bright tears.
"Light Thou my lamp, Guest of today," she said,
"Lest all my life be this futility:
To tap - with all my little reasonings -
A blind man's stick, a blind man's stick."
— S. Mariella, OSB
Our love, or our lack of it...
will in the end
be an expression of ourselves:
of who we think we are,
of what we want to be,
of what we think we are here for.
~ Thomas Merton