Sg 8:6-7; Ps 148:1,2,11,13,14; Lk10:38-42
Saint Scholastica and Saint Benedict were twins. They came from wealth and gave all they had away to God and to the needy, and they lived a life of simplicity and contemplation. Early monks and nuns often murmured wisdom because they were memorizing the psalms and other scripture passages in what has been called lectio divina. The Rule of Saint Benedict prohibits murmuring when such speech contains only complaining and cynicism. However, the sisters under the guidance of Saint Scholastica murmured wisdom. The Word of God was the constant preoccupation for the nuns and monks. It permeated their days and their conversations. Since the Law of the LORD was in their hearts, their footsteps did not falter. They found refuge in time of distress. In her own distress, Saint Scholastica pleaded with her twin brother for him to stay with her in conversation about the Wisdom of God all night long. He refused. The LORD did not refuse Saint Scholastica; a violent storm kept Saint Benedict with his twin till the dawn of day. Only three days later the reluctant brother saw his sister’s soul ascend into heaven in the form of a dove. Saint Benedict learned about compassion from his twin. The necessity of obedience to the Rule is always mitigated by charity. Although a good monk may never stay away the whole night, Saint Scholastica wanted her twin to share his vision of heavenly glory with her just one more time before her death. In three days her request was vindicated, and upon her death Saint Benedict had her buried in the tomb he had prepared for himself. As they were united in living the monastic life, they were united in the same grave. This unity is complete in the fullness of the kingdom of heaven where the twins join all the hosts on high to praise the LORD! This brother and sister exalted the Name of the LORD. It is the LORD himself who lifts high the horn of his people; to the glory of all the faithful, of the New Israel, the people near to their God. The unity of the soul with Christ is the promise made to all who commit their lives to the LORD and trust in him.
When we fall in love it’s an unbearable to not be near the beloved. We are constantly preoccupied with the memories of the beloved. It is difficult to pay attention to anything or anyone else. The beloved becomes a seal on our hearts. We keep the beloved close to the center of our being, to the place deep within whence come our commitment and our dreams. Indeed, we cannot think about anything whatever without including a thought of the beloved. The beloved is a seal on our hearts. The beloved is also a seal on our arms. It is with all our strength that we love; we can move mountains for the beloved. Indeed, nothing will get in the way of our reunion with the beloved. Such devotion is as stern as death, as relentless as the nether world; a blazing fire is its flames. Nothing is more intense than love not dying, not hell, not even hellfire. Even the waters of a flood cannot sweep love down the stream of life. No deluge can wash away the wonder and awe that overflows the riverbanks in due season. The last thing Saint Scholastic or her brother could imagine is for someone to try and purchase love. No one could buy tenderness and affection, and anyone who tries is severely ridiculed. Such is the love that binds the hearts and arms of those who have given themselves completely to “The One who first loved them.” Beyond all words, this love. It cannot ever be sung, such love. That which binds the lover and the beloved is stronger than the connection between twins from the womb to the tomb.
The Master and his disciples find refuge among friends. Martha who meets them at the door welcomes them. Martha is the active and outgoing sister; Mary, by temperament is just the opposite. Mary knows that every guest is hungry for attention even more than he is hungry for food. In this roadside rest stop Martha shares the burden she feels at the lack of assistance she is receiving from her sister, Mary. In this inappropriate revelation of the family struggles the Lord Jesus reveals Martha’s failures. She is too anxious and worried about many things. There is one thing necessary, and that is what Mary has chosen. It will not be taken from her. Nor will the Lord Jesus demand that Martha’s part be taken from her. After all, they do want to share a feast. If no one was attentive to the details of hospitality, no one would eat. Saint Scholastic was attentive to her approaching death, and she wanted to give her brother this opportunity to share the good things of heaven before she died. Brother and sister both are looking forward to the eternal banquet, but before they arrive at their heavenly home they share in the food that wisdom supplies us on the journey. Saint Scholastic has an urgency to share with her brother. Saint Benedict has an urgency to be faithful to his rule. Both need to learn that the Lord’s ways are not our ways. In this Eucharist we too need to taste and see that the Lord is good, good beyond our wildest expectations all along the journey and even at our destination.