Thursday, July 29, 2010

Memorial of St Martha

"Martha was the daughter of noble and wealthy parents, but is best known as having been the hostess of the Lord Christ.  After that he was ascended into heaven, Martha, along with her brother Lazarus, her sister Mary Magdalene, her waiting-woman Marcella, Maximin, who was one of the seventy-two disciples of the Lord Christ, and who had baptized the whole of the family, and many other Christians, was taken by the Jews, and turned adrift upon the open sea in a ship without sail or oars, to meet with certain wreck, but by the governance of God the ship came to land at Marseilles with all safe.

Through the miracle and the preaching of the Saints, the people of Marseilles first, and then those of Aix, and of the uttermost tribes, believed in Christ, and Lazarus was made Bishop of Marseilles, and Maximin Bishop of Aix.  Mary Magdalene  sat still at Jesus' feet being altogether given to prayer and the contemplation of heavenly blessedness , that that good part which she had chosen might not be taken away from her, withdrew herself to a great cave in an exceeding high mountain, where she lived for thirty years, utterly cut off from all conversation with men, and every day during that time carried up by Angels into the air, to listen to them that dwell in heaven praising God.

Martha, by the wondrous holiness and charity of her life, drew upon herself the love and wonder of all the inhabitants of Marseilles.  She withdrew herself in company with some other honourable women into a place out of the way of men, where she lived long, with great praise for godliness and discretion.  She foretold her own death long before, and at last, illustrious for miracles, passed away to be ever with the Lord, upon the 29th day of July.  Her body is held in great worship at Tarascon."

-- From the 1911 breviary of St Pius X

** The photo shows the reliquary preserving St Martha's relics in Tarascon, France

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