The Society of Saint Gregory the Great is a membership association of Catholic laity formed in 2008 to promote divine worship in accordance with the Supreme Magisterium of the Church. The Society has its own schola cantorum, and regularly sponsors presentations and workshops on the Sacred Liturgy, Gregorian chant, and sacred polyphony.
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 this 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.
Commentary on the Gospel for this Feast
From the Holy Gospel according
to Luke Luke 10:38-42 At that time: Jesus entered into a certain village, and a certain woman, named
Martha, received Him into her house. And so on.
Homily by St Austin, Bishop of
Hippo. 26th upon the Words of the Lord.
The words of our Lord Jesus Christ which have just been read from the Gospel,
give us to wit that there is one thing toward the which we are making our way,
all the while that we are striving amid the divers cares of this world.
Thitherward we make our way, while we are still strangers and pilgrims,
unpossessed as yet of any abiding city, still on the journey, not yet come
home, still hoping, not yet enjoying. Still thitherward let us make our way,
not slothfully nor by fits and starts, but so that some day we may arrive
thither. Martha and Mary were sisters, not in the flesh only, but also in
godliness; together, they clave unto the Lord; together, with one heart they
served the Lord present in the Flesh.
Martha received Him into her
house. It was just as strangers are received, but it was the handmaiden
receiving her Lord, the sick receiving her Saviour, the creature receiving her
Creator. She received Him, to give bodily meat unto Him by Whom she herself was
to be fed unto eternal life. It had been the Lord's will to take upon Him the
form of a servant, to be fed by servants, (still out of His good pleasure, not
of necessity,) and in that form of a servant which He had taken upon Him. This
was His good pleasure, to offer Himself as a subject for hospitality. He had
Flesh, wherein He was sometimes hungered and thirsty, but know ye not how that,
when He was in the desert and was an-hungered, angels came and ministered unto
Him. Himself it was therefore, That gave unto them of whom He was fain to be
fed, the wherewithal. And what wonder is this if we consider how that holy
Elijah, coming from being fed by the ministry of ravens, asked bread of the
widow of Zarephath, and himself gave her the wherewithal to feed him? Had God
failed to feed Elijah when He sent him unto the widow? God forbid. He did so
that He might bless that godly widow for a service rendered unto His servant.
Thus was that same Lord
received as a guest, Who came unto His own, and His own received Him not, but
as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God,
adopting servants and making them children, redeeming prisoners and appointing
them coheirs. Perchance some of you will say: O how blessed were they who were
worthy to receive Christ as a guest into their own home! but mourn not, neither
murmur, for that thou hast been born in an age wherein thou canst no more see
Christ in the flesh. He hath not put the honour of receiving Him beyond thy
reach. Inasmuch, saith He, as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My
brethren, ye have done it unto Me. The above remarks have occurred to me
regarding the Lord considered as fed in the flesh, and I shall now touch
briefly, as time permits, upon the Same, considered as the Feeder of the soul.