Martha versus Mary? The idea of Martha versus Mary turns this Gospel story into an either/or situation. We can be either or contemplative, but not both. But, in reality seeking to be both increases our spiritual life and does not detract from it. Here is what a few spiritual masters have said.
Aelred of Rievaulx a Cisterian Father in one of his sermons said: "By no means should you neglect Mary for the sake of Martha, nor again Martha for the sake of Mary. For, if you neglect Martha, who will feed Jesus? If you neglect Mary, what benefit will it be to you that Jesus entered our house since you will have tasted nothing of his sweetness? Realize, sisters and brothers, that never in this life should these two women be separated." (The Liturgical Seasons").
Teresa of Avila says something similar in her spiritual masterpiece, The Interior Castle: "Both Martha and Mary must entertain our Lord and keep Him as their Guest, nor must they be so inhospitable as to offer Him no food. How can Mary do this while she sits at His feet, if her sister does not help her?" Service and prayer go together. Not only do they go together, but they are reciprocal feeding one another.
Saint Ignatius of Loyola,the founder of the Society of Jesus is referred to as being a "contemplative in action," and this was his vision for who the Jesuits are to be. (Ignatius of Loyola: The Spiritual Exercises and Selected Works)
Not either/or, but both/and, Let's hear the words of these spiritual masters and take them to heart. Instead of having a dichotomy that leaves us interiorly separated, we can be both active and contemplative if we let these both flow into one another.