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ST. JOHN tells us that "Jesus loved Martha and Mary and Lazarus," and yet but few glimpses are vouchsafed us of them. First, the sisters are set before us with a word. Martha received Jesus into her house, and was busy in outward, loving, lavish service, while Mary sat in silence at the feet she had bathed with her tears. Then, their brother is ill, and they send to Jesus, "Lord, he whom Thou lovest is sick." And in His own time the Lord came, and they go out to meet Him; and then follows that scene of unutterable tenderness and of sublimity unsurpassed: the silent waiting of Mary; Martha strong in faith, but realizing so vividly, with her practical turn of mind, the fact of death, and hesitating: "Canst Thou show Thy wonders in the grave?" And then once again, on the eve of His Passion, we see Jesus at Bethany. Martha, true to her character, is serving; Mary, as at first, pours the precious ointment, in adoration and love, on His divine head. And then we find the tomb of St. Martha, at Tarascon, in Provence. When the storm of persecution came, the family of Bethany, with a few companions, were put into a boat, without oars or sail, and borne to the coast of France. St. Mary's tomb is at St. Baume; St. Lazarus is venerated as the founder of the Church of Marseilles; and the memory of the virtues and labors of St. Martha is still fragrant at Avignon and Tarascon.
Reflection. —When Martha received Jesus into her house, she was naturally busy in preparations for such a Guest. Mary sat at His feet, intent alone on listening to His gracious words. Her sister thought that the time required other service than this, and asked our Lord to bid Mary help in serving. Once again Jesus spoke in defence of Mary. "Martha, Martha," He said, "thou art lovingly anxious about many things; be not over-eager; do thy chosen work with recollectedness. Judge not Mary. Hers is the good part, the one only thing really necessary. Thine will be taken away, that something better be given thee." The life of action ceases when the body is laid down; but the life of contemplation endures and is perfected in heaven.
Lives Of The Saints By Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. Edition www.globalgrey.co.uk
Thou hast loved justice, and hated iniquity: there for God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. (P. T. Alleluia, alleluia.) Ps. 44, 2. My heart that uttered a good word: I speak my works to the King. Glory be …
Graciously hear us, O God, our Saviour, that, as we rejoice in the festival of blessed Martha, Thy virgin, so we may be taught by the spirit of pious devotion. Through our Lord.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that as Thy Christian people joyfully unite in celebrating the temporal solemnity of Thy holy martyrs Felix, Simplicius, Faustinus, and Beatrice, so they may enjoy it in eternity, and may effectually attain to what they celebrate in desire. Through our Lord.
Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians.
[He warneth them against false teachers. He counts all other things loss, that he may gain Christ.]
BRETHREN, But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he who commendeth himself, is approved, but he, whom God commendeth. Would to God you could bear with some little of my folly: but do bear with me. For I am jealous of you with the jealousy of God. For I have espoused you to one husband that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
With thy comeliness and thy beauty set out, proceed prosperously, and reign. Because of truth, and meekness and justice: and thy right hand shall conduct thee wonderfully.
Alleluia, alleluia. After her shall virgins be brought to the King: her neighbors shall be brought to thee with gladness. Alleluia.
Continuation of the Holy Gospel According to St. Luke.
[The conception of John the Baptist, and of Christ. The visitation and canticle of the Blessed Virgin. The birth of the Baptist and the canticle of Zachary.]
At that time, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord.
And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is his name. And his mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear him. God.
The daughters of kings in Thy honor: the queen stood on Thy right hand, in gilded clothing, surrounded with variety. Alleluia.
May these offerings of Thy consecrated people be accepted by Thee, O Lord, in honor of Thy saints, by whose merits it knoweth that it hath received aid in time of trouble. Through our Lord.
We bring Thee sacrifices, O Lord, for the commemoration of Thy holy martyrs, Felix, Simplicius, Faustinus, and Beatrice, humbly praying that they may obtain for us at once forgiveness and salvation. Through our Lord.
The five wise virgins took oil in their vessels with the lamps: and at midnight there was a cry made, Behold the bridgegroom cometh: go ye forth to meet Christ our Lord. (P. T. Alleluia.
Thou hast filled Thy household, O Lord, with sacred gifts; ever comfort us, we beseech Thee, through her intercession whose festival we celebrate. Through our Lord.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that the solemnity of Thy holy martyrs, Felix, Simplicius, Faustinus, and Beatrice, celebrated with the sacred mysteries, may acquire for us the grant of Thy forgiveness of our sins. Through our Lord.