Memorial of Saint Martha
The story of Jesus admonishing Martha for helping in the kitchen instead of sitting at his feet has always bothered me. Of course we should pay attention to the words of our Lord and not be concerned about mundane details. However, people do need to eat, buildings need to be paid for, and somebody has to take the kids to school. If we want to build up the Kingdom of Christ someone is going to have to make the bricks.
Ignatius had a great respect for men and women who “made the bricks” to build the kingdom of God. He also knew that any construction project would fail if we turned the plans towards our own self-interests and personal gain and away from what is really best. For Ignatius, the direction was always God’s greater Glory and the means usually entailed lots of hard work.
Martha, in Christian iconography and witness, has always testified to the dignity of work. Ignatius dedicated the first home for victims of domestic abuse, established in Rome in 1543, to Saint Martha. He saw in this saint a woman who knew that following our Lord meant a commitment to God’s will and that commitment meant rolling up your sleeves and getting the job done, with of course the grace of that same loving God.