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condition of the daughter, possessed by the Devil and tortured by him in soul and body. “Be it done to thee as thou wilt,” were the words of Jesus, and the demon left her at once. Arriving home, the mother found her delivered from her torturer - natural, calm,
, and free.
Happy return! By the grace of Jesus the ties between mother and daughter become stronger and closer. They had asked for bodily health only, but they received the redeeming grace of eternal salvation at the same time.
What Providence aims at in sending sorrows and misery, is the salvation of souls; such is the end God has in view, the only one worthy of His sovereign good
And, really, these two were among the first Christian women that, by their influence and wealth, helped in the establishment of the new-born Church: So say the revelations of Catharine Emmerich, and add: “Justa resolved never more to visit a heathen temple, but to strictly follow the teachings of
Son of God, for men of good will, for upright and sincere souls, Thy words are consoling and quickening in this vale of tears; they also lead to life everlasting!
MARTHA AND MARY.
WOMAN RECEIVES JESUS AT HER HOME.
T is at the house of Martha, near Jerusalem, on the incline of a hill, studded with trees and laid out in
garden beds, that Jesus deigns to stay for a day.
Martha, tradition tells us, was born at Bethany, a year or two after the birth of the Saviour. From rabbinic sources we learn, moreover, that her mother, Euchary, was a descendant of the ancient kings of Israel. Her father, Theophilus, of Syrian extraction, was governor of the larger part of the Palestine coast and possessed extensive landed estates at Magdala, Bethany, and Jerusalem. *Both parents had become disciples of Jesus, but died already in the earlier part of the Saviour's public life; hence we hear only of their children in the Gospel.
Martha had a brother, called Lazarus, renowned for his talents and highly esteemed for his virtues, and a younger sister, named Mary, who was born at Magdala. This Mary appears to have been no other than that famous public sinner, converted at the feet of Jesus. After her conversion she seems to have quit Magdala and have joined her sister Martha at Bethany to busy herself in the service of the Redeemer. There, at least, we find them together in our present narrative.
The castle of Bethany was near the great road that leads from Jericho to Jerusalem, fifteen stadia, or about a mile and a half from the latter city. Jesus had celebrated the Passover at Jerusalem, and it was prob‘ably in the last days of April of the year 27 that He approached Bethany to pay the two sisters a visit. But before we enter the castle, let us record the impressions a traveller received from this spot, so beloved by Heaven.
“Our journey stopped at Bethany. It was toward evening, when the bright light of the sun became milder and shadows began to lower. A solitary road leads from there to Mount Olive. Jerusalem disappears completely. Nothing is seen in the far distance but the mountains of Moab. I had imagined it thus. The spot is admirably suited to meditation and holy mystics. The noise of the world dies away at the approach of this solitude, neither the clamors of the multitudes nor the disputes of the priests and Scribes ever disturb its sacred silence. And one readily understands how Jesus, with preference, chose this pure and peaceful atmosphere."*)
In Gospel times, Bethany or Betheme – house of grace,—was truly the peaceful abode of friendship, such as can exist between kindred souls only. There is not the noisy crowd that usually followed Jesus; there is nothing that recalls the entertainments at Simon's or at Joseph of Arimathea's; even the Apostles seem to be absent, and if Lazarus is present, the fact is not mentioned. For, Jesus intended to consecrate that day exclusively to womankind, represented by these two sisters, so happy to have Him with them and so eager, each in her way,.
*) De Pressensé, “Voyage au pays de l'Évangile.”
manifest her joy about it to Him. Martha and Mary are the firstlings of that multitude of privileged women to whom Jesus, together with the gift of loving Him with a most delicate love, grants the happiness of His most familiar presence.
Nothing could be more contrary to the ideas and manners of the time than such a visit of the Saviour. We, accustomed as we are, to see the biblical narrative in the light of Christian customs, can hardly form an idea how extraordinary such a fact was in those days. But a feeling of admiration cannot fail to seize us, when, penetrating deeper into the conduct of the Saviour at this occasion, we find Him performing one of His radical cures in favor of the world's oppressed woman.
For woman was, indeed, the most oppressed, and the Son of the “Woman” desires to be her Redeemer. This truth is commonplace, but it is always proper to re-iterate it, as there are women who separate from Christ and His Church through an abuse of that liberty which they enjoy only through Him.
The Gospel narrative of this particular