Monday, April 9, 2012

St. Martha, My New Patron Saint

Power of Prayers

I have always believed in the power of prayers and novenas.  Out of desperation in the past,  I have gone to other churches, I've studied several religions and pardon me if I say that I am somewhat 'eclectic';  meaning I do what works for me.  I believe that I have a special and personal relationship with God our creator.  My God is always with me, and I quote from Psalm 23:    "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me; your rod and staff they comfort me."   

I have a special relationship with God and  His angels and saints.  I believe that we have angels and saints whom God has sent to help us.  St. Jude Thadeus had helped and is still helping me in impossible and desperate cases and I have promised to encourage devotion and novena to him.

Lately, a friend sent a testimony for St. Martha:
"In one of the noontime masses I attended in Sta. Cruz Church, I stepped on a piece of paper which turned out to be a novena prayer to St. Martha which promises to grant petitions no matter how impossible on the 8th Tuesday. My discovery of St. Martha novena was a fortunate coincidence because it was about this time that my maiden family (the Guevaras, eleven of us, including my 70-year old father and my my 63-year old mother at the piano) became a weekly finalist in a nationwide search for a non-professional singing family in ABS-CBN's  "Clubhouse 9" hosted by Tito Pepe Pimentel. Our winning piece was a classical four-voiced rendition of 'Wedding of the Painted Doll' and 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang'. As I have great faith in the miracle of prayer, and was dead serious in winning the contest, I was challenged to test the novena prayer. I dutifully complied with the conditions laid out for the efficacy of the prayer to the extent of just making copies of the prayer, I took extra effort to write many copies of the prayer to be left in the church. The basic requirement for the novena is to hear mass every Tuesday, light a candle, and leave some copies in the church to spread the devotion. Of course in any prayer petition, we should be in the state of grace and it should be accompanied by sacrifice. True to its promise, we won a brand new Torana car (this brand was in vogue in 1975). 

Another witnessing of the efficacy of the novena was when I applied in ADB. Using the same formula of counting the start of my novena to coincide with my scheduled test in ADB, certainly, I got the job. Prior to joining ADB, my boss learned how I relied on the intercession of St. Martha to win the grand prize. He asked for a copy of the prayer and promised to treat me should he get the managerial post he was applying in Citibank. And that he will invite me to his wedding if his petition was granted. YES, his prayers bore fruit and became an instant St. Martha devotee and complied with his promises to me. Also, the novena was used by my cousin who was married for ten years and was childless. She bore a son after a year of saying the novena. I could give many more accounts of the miracles but for now, these amazing accounts were the most prominent. I kept on witnessing the power of this novena with many ADB colleagues based on my continuing success stories, and I'm sure there were many of them who was helped by St. Martha. One thing for miracles to keep on happening is that we must give testimony of the goodness of God to draw others to Him and become active disciples by virtue of our baptism."

That's a testimony from my friend, Letty.  I need no further encouragement than this.  And since today is Tuesday, why don't we start our novena to St. Martha. 

The prayer that follows must be recited for nine consecutive Tuesdays, lighting a candle on each Tuesday.This miraculous Saint has been known to grant anything, no matter how difficult it is, before the ninth Tuesday.
Prayer to Saint Martha

Saint Martha, I resort to thy protection and as proof of my affection and faith,
I offer the light which I shall burn every Tuesday.
Comfort me in my difficulties and through the great privilege you enjoyed
through lodging in the house of Thy Savior, intercede for my family that
we may always hold God in our hearts, and be provided for in our necessities.
I beseech thee to have infinite pity in regard to the favors I ask thee.
(Name favors.)
I ask thee, St. Martha, to overcome all difficulties as thou did'st
overcome the dragon thou hadst at thy feet. Amen.

(Pray The Lord's Prayer)
(Pray  the Hail Mary)
Glory be to God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit now and forever. Amen.

Stt Martha, pray for us that we might serve Jesus better. Help us to overcome our distractions and worries to listen to his words and be present to him this day. Amen

O blessed St. Martha, your faith led Jesus to proclaim, “I am the resurrection and the life”; and faith let you see beyond his humanity when you cried out, “Lord I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” With firm hope you said, “I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him”, and Jesus called your brother Lazarus back from the dead. With pure love for Jesus you welcomed him into your home.
Friend and servant of our Saviour, I too am “troubled about many things”. (mention your intentions) Pray for me that I may grow in faith, hope and love, and that Jesus, who sat at your table, will hear me and grant me a place at the banquet of eternal life. Amen.
(To be recited nine Tuesdays, lighting candles on each Tuesday.) This miraculous Saint grants everything, no matter how difficult, before the limitation of the 9th Tuesday.

Biography of St. Martha

Feastday: July 29

Patron Saint of cooks, waiters, waitresses, housekeepers, housewives

Martha was the sister of Mary and Lazarus. They lived in the little town of Bethany near Jerusalem. They were dear friends of Jesus, and he often came to visit them. In fact, the Gospel tells us: "Jesus loved Martha, and her sister Mary and Lazarus." It was St. Martha who lovingly served the Lord when he visited them. One day, she was preparing a meal for Jesus and his disciples. She realized that the task would be easier if her sister would help. She watched Mary sitting quietly at Jesus' feet, listening to him. "Lord, tell my sister to help me," Martha suggested. Jesus was very pleased with Martha's loving service. However, he wanted her to know that listening to God's Word and praying is even more important. So he said gently, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious about many things, but only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the better part."St. Martha's great faith in Jesus was seen when her brother Lazarus died. As soon as she heard that Jesus was coming to Bethany, Martha went to meet him. She trusted Jesus and felt the freedom to say: "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." Then Jesus told her that Lazarus would rise. He said, "He who believes in me, even if he die, shall live. Do you believe this?" And Martha answered, "Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who has come into the world." Jesus worked a great miracle and raised Lazarus from the dead!

Later, Jesus came again to have supper with Lazarus, Martha and Mary. St. Martha served them at table as always. This time, though, Martha had a much more loving attitude. She served with a joyful heart.  Sometimes we don't like to do certain chores. They seem heavy and unpleasant. At those times, we can ask St. Martha to give us a joyful attitude. We can ask her to show us that the littlest thing we do becomes beautiful when we do it for Jesus.

We see her again when, at the tomb of her brother Lazarus, she pronounces those profound words of faith which have come into our funeral liturgy: "I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, he who is to come into the world."

According to medieval legend, Martha, Mary and Lazarus went to France after the death of Jesus. Martha evangelized Provence where she is credited with slaying "La Tarasque", the man-eating dragon (half-animal, half-fish) with horns and the tail of a serpent. This confrontation with a cross and holy water was in the Rhone valley. The story goes like this: The dragon was said to have traveled by sea from Asia. People pleaded with Martha to find someone, to rid their village of this foul creature. The dragon killed people and sank their boats. Martha sprinkled holy water and made the sign of the cross over him, then tied him up in her girdle. While he was weakened, the people slew him with spears and stones.

To this day she is venerated by Roman Catholics in Provence. Her feast day is July 29th. Because she took care of the hungry, followers of Jesus traditionally know her as the patroness of housewives, waiters, waitresses, and cooks. Let us follow her example in caring for our homeless, poor and needy among us! Let us pray also to her for the needs of the parish and for our own personal needs, material and spiritual.



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