From Luke chapter 10
Now as they (Jesus and those following him) went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.’
One of the things I love about Ignatian spirituality is the encouragement to use our imagination in prayer. On a retreat at St Beuno's in Wales I was asked to read the above passage from Luke and, having read it through a few times in order to familiarise myself with the story, to then close my eyes and allow the scene to unfold in my imagination. As the story unfolds, I was to imagine myself in the scene - either as myself or as one of the people in the story.
You might like to try doing this. It is very informative - from the person you choose to be in the scene, to your interaction with Jesus (if any) and your response to Mary and/or Martha (of course, you might be one of them in your imaginative prayer).
Go on - give it a whirl - what have you to lose?
Words from Aelred of Rievaulx (who lived 1110-1167)
As long as we need to eat and drink we shall need to tame our flesh with watching, fasting and work. This is Martha's role. But in our souls there should also be Mary, that is, spiritual activity. For we should not always give ourselves to bodily efforts, but sometimes be still and see how lovely, how sweet the Lord is....You should in no wise neglect Mary for Martha; or again, Martha for Mary. For if you neglect Martha, who will feed Jesus? If we neglect Mary, what use is it for Jesus to come to your house, when you taste nothing of his sweetness?
Other interesting links along these lines:
Ways of Praying
St Beuno's on YouTube: