Semidouble (1955 Calendar): July 29
Today is the Memorial of St. Martha, virgin. She was the sister of Mary of Bethany (Mary Magdalene) and Lazarus. Jesus stayed in the house of Marthra, Mary and, Lazarus, his friends at Bethany when he was in Judea. Their house was 2 miles from Jerusalem. We read of three visits in Luke 10:38-42, John 11:1-53, and John 12:1-9.
St. Martha is remembered for the kindness and hospitality she showed to Jesus Christ when He visited her. In Luke 10:23-42, Jesus reminds Martha that the most important thing is to listen to Him! She is busy serving Our Lord while Mary is contemplating. Jesus says, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her” (Luke 10:38-42). Through Martha's example, we learn how importantlistening to God is. Serving God is extremely important, but it shouldn't take away from praying and contemplating. Prayer must be first!
St. John writes one thing of Martha when Jesus came there later to share a meal with the three: "Martha served." Remember that Jesus said the least will be the greatest. We should seek not to be in charge and control; but rather, we should seek to serve others. For through serving others, we serve Jesus Christ Himself.
According to a legend, After Our Lord's Ascension into Heaven, Martha, her brother and sister, Marcella her handmaid, and Maximin, one of the seventy two disciples of our Lord, and other Christians were placed on a boat without sails or oars. They were left for dead but God guided the boat to Marseilles. It was their preaching and the miracle that converted many of the people of Marseilles and Aix to believe in Jesus. Lazarus was made Bishop of Marseilles and Maximin of Aix.
St. Martha withdrew from the group along with several women. They lived in a remote area without men in a spirit of purity. St. Martha foretold her death years in c. 80 AD before it ever occurred. Her body lies at Tarascon, and it is still venerated today.
Source: Catholic Culture
Hear us, O God, our Savior: and as we rejoice in the feast of blessed Martha, Thy Virgin, so we may learn a filial devotion to Thee. Through our Lord.
Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
"St. Martha, I resort to thy protection and aid and as a proof of my affection and faith I offer this light which I shall burn every Tuesday. Comfort me in all my difficulties and through the great favor thou didst enjoy when the Savior was lodged in thy house,. Intercede for my family that we may always hold God in our hearts, and that we may be provided for in all our necessities, I ask, St. Martha, to overcome all difficulties as thou didst overcome the dragon at thy feet."
As a Novena, this may be said for nine Tuesdays with the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be.