Living in Nazareth

by Theresa Marsey

It’s been a year since I came to our house in Winslow, where my assignment was to spend time in silence and prayer in the morning and to go visiting in the afternoon. This time has been a gift and a blessing for me, and never has a year passed so quickly.

Many ask me, “What do you do?’’ I laugh because I understand the question. In our society with its constant noise, activity and busyness, too often we are valued and measured by what we do rather than by who we are—our being, our personhood, what we have become. So it is hard for people to understand my spending time in silence.

I have been given this time to look into my heart. What predominates in my heart de­termines the kind of person I become. Who or what has dominion over me? This is a soul-searching question.

Yes, it is in order to look into my heart that I have been given time to be alone and silent with God in a humble, simple, ordinary way.

Think of Nazareth—of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus living in a tiny house along a dirt road doing what had to be done to make a loving home.

Love is primary. So I try to do everything with love—love for God and love for others—while seeking a deep oneness with him. I am trying to be before him, to carry an aware­ness of his presence within me, and to do what needs to be done to make a fitting dwelling for him in my heart and home. I am trying to live Nazareth.

Most of the time, my day goes like this: get up, make my bed, say quick morning prayers, dress, and go off to Mass to receive Our Lord and lift up the world to him.

Home again, carry in wood, and make a fire in the stove. Breakfast and then time for prayers—lauds, Scripture, and prayer following from Scripture, Catherine’s writings for meditation and inspiration, and then intercessory prayer for those who are sick, suffering, and in need. Before I know it, it is noon, and I have lunch and prepare for visiting.

Visiting is inspiring. So many are very ill and alone—some using oxygen or on dialysis or in pain. Some are grieving the loss of a child or husband, and many are battling cancer. Yet a peaceful acceptance, a surrender in faith, love, and trust in God are so often evident.

An afternoon of visiting re­inforces in me the need for prayer, for only God can bring his peace, love, and healing to broken bodies and hearts.

After visiting, I go to the MH chapel for adoration or a rosary. Then supper with the rest of the staff, who are young and joyful and have a playful way of moving. We share a bit of our day with one another, and this connects me with the active apostolate of the house.

After dishes I usually return to “the pink house” where I am staying to be alone once again with the Lord as I complete tasks and receive phone calls.

Having time to reread Catherine’s writings after trying to live them for forty years has given me a deeper understanding and appreciation of her love of God which she lived so totally.

How unstintingly she poured herself out to share with us the glorious revela­tions the Lord had given her to form our MH spirituality and way of life!

We have been blessed beyond our wildest dreams, for we have been shown a way to live in the kingdom of God.

And this incarnation of the Gospel is not just for us who live in Madonna House. It can be lived by anybody!

From Restoration March 2001