Thursday, November 23, 2006

Saint Agatha

Agatha was very beautiful and lived in Sicily in the third century. The governor heard how beautiful she was and brought her to his palace. He wanted to make her commit sins, but she was brave and would not give in.

She prayed, "My Lord Jesus Christ, you see my heart and you know my desire. I am all yours. Save me from this evil man. Make me worthy of winning out over the devil."

The governor then sent Agatha to the house of a wicked woman and hoped she would become bad too. Agatha had great trust in God and prayed all the time. She kept herself pure. She would not listen to the evil ideas of the woman and her daughters.

After a month, she was brought back to the governor. He tried again to win her. "You are a noblewoman," he said kindly. "Why have you lowered yourself to be a humble Christian?"

"Even though I am a noble," answered Agatha, "I am a slave of Jesus Christ." "Then what does it really mean to be noble?" the governor asked. Agatha answered, "It means to serve God."
When he realized that she would not sin, the governor became angry. He had Agatha whipped and tortured.

Agatha soon died a martyr at Catania, Sicily, in the year 250.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Saint Martha

Martha was the sister of Mary and Lazarus who lived in the little town of Bethany near Jerusalem. They were dear friends of Jesus, and he often visited them. In the Gospel of St. John we see: "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 Mary would help instead of 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 but 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 said to him: "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died."

Jesus told her that Lazarus would rise. He said, "He who believes in me, even if he dies, shall live. Do you believe this?" 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 did it lovingly and served them with a joyful heart.