Hon. Michael A. Ferguson ’92
ND Parent

This is one of my favorite gospel passages—the gentle and consoling Jesus, encouraging Martha to slow down, and Mary, sitting at Jesus’ feet, focusing her serene gaze on him. This passage challenges me to take a supernatural view of the many important things which fill my days and to explore how I might choose “the better part.”

My mother, Roberta, died 19 years ago today. She was 59 and had suffered for years from cancer. Over a thousand people turned out for her wake and funeral, and we heard countless stories about how she impacted people’s lives.

She didn’t have a prestigious resume, and her LinkedIn profile today would not have been particularly impressive. But her death prompted an outpouring of gratitude for the incalculable ways she touched people. How did that happen? She loved…and loved and loved, and then loved some more.

My dear mother reminds me of Mary from today’s gospel. Mary didn’t get caught up in the busyness of life when she had an opportunity to focus on the face of Jesus. Her to-do list didn’t dominate—she prioritized our Lord. She knew the housework needed attention, just as our to-do lists need ours, but at what cost? Christ himself says Mary chose the better part and most importantly, “it will not be taken from her.”

My mother was always the subject of good-natured kidding from our family because she was always late for everything. It’s not that she was a terrible time manager; instead, she had trouble tearing herself away from what she was doing, or more precisely, the person she was loving. She saw Christ in each person she met.

My mom embodied the Mary we read about today. She chose the better part and inspires me to do the same.