While journeying to His Passion in Jerusalem, Christ passes through Bethany where Mary and Martha lived. Martha has come to be a symbol of the active Christian life, while Mary represents the contemplative life. Most Christians are called to sanctify ourselves amidst the things of this world, so action and contemplation should not be seen as mutually exclusive ways of practising our faith. An activist life which is forgetful of union with God is spiritually barren. An apparently intense life of prayer which shows no concern for a Christian apostolate or the sanctification of ordinary things is unlikely to please the Lord.
If we do not seek the presence of Christ in our ordinary everyday life, we shall rarely find Him anywhere. We need to be able to turn everything to the service of God, so that our daily lives become the opportunity for a continuous union with Him Who is the unseen guest at every moment. Whether at work or at leisure, the fact remains that Jesus is Lord. We may be actively working for Him, or we may be sitting at His feet in contemplation and adoration; it is always the same Lord and the same purpose.
It is good to go to Mass during the week as well as on Sundays and holydays, but Holy Mass is not the only way to practice our religion. Personal prayer, rosary in common, the Church’s public prayer (the Divine Office), Benediction, and other devotions – all these are also valuable and bring their own particular graces.
Nor is it compulsory to receive Holy Communion each and every time that we go to Mass. Some faithful Catholics find that their Eucharistic devotion is nourished and even increased by occasionally abstaining from sacramental communion. Such restraint is of course not to be practised out of scrupulosity or superstition, or any lack of confidence in God’s mercy, but simply out of devotion.
May heaven preserve us from trivializing the Lord’s Eucharist by casual over-familiarity or spiritual gluttony. Receiving the Master in the Blessed Sacrament is the most wonderful thing we ever do. It is not to be done lightly or casually. To receive Holy Communion as a matter of careless routine is a sure way of weakening our faith, and an easy path towards the tragedy of love grown cold.