Today's Saint (July 29): Martha, Virgin
Martha is the sister of Mary and of Lazarus, and the hostess of Our Lord when he visited their home in Bethany.
Martha was also a witness to the raising of her brother Lazarus from the dead, and had faith that Our Lord could perform such a miracle.
Martha's life reminds us that while we need to be diligent in our several callings, we should take time each day to meditate, pray and give glory to God so that our hearts might stay fixed on the love of God revealed in His Son.
The accompanying picture - an oil on canvas - is by the Italian Mannerist Painter Vincenzo Campi (1536-1591), and shows vividly the episode in Luke 10:30-42, when "Martha was cumbered about with much serving..." of which we read in Evening Prayer for Sunday in 8 Trinity and in Morning Prayer on Thursday of 5 Trinity.
"For I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." (The day's epistle, page F 39, People's Anglican Missal).
Books worth considering
The Last Supper According to Martha & Mary
A Better Thing to Do: The Story of Jesus & Mary & Martha (Children's Book)
Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church
The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church
The Oxford Dictionary of Saints (Oxford Paperback Reference)
The Penguin Dictionary of Saints: Third Edition (Dictionary, Penguin)