Novena to St Martha

In Jesus’s life on earth, he lived as we do. He had family, and he also had friends. Amongst his friends were two sisters and a brother, Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. This novena to St Martha helps us to seek divine help in realigning our priorities.

Martha – being the one that does all the work

Scripture: read the story of Martha (Luke 10:38-42 and John 11:1-54)

In Jesus’s life on earth, he lived as we do. He had family, and he also had friends. Amongst his friends were two sisters and a brother, Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. They lived in a village called Bethany, and Jesus often visited them there.

First Day: A woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. (Lk 10:38)

Martha lived with her brother and sister, but Luke says that she was the one in charge of the house. She was capable and organised and it was she who took charge when Jesus visited them.

Lord, I thank you that you have given me the capabilities I have. I ask you to accept them as a gift from you without selfish pride, but without false modesty either. Please give me also the gifts of hospitality and service so that I can use my talents as you planned. I pray especially for (name your intention)

Our Father – Hail Mary – Glory Be

Second Day: Martha…was distracted with all the serving (Lk 10:40)

Martha wanted everything to be done well, but she got so caught up in this that she missed the point of the visit.

Don’t let me be so keen to have things perfect that I make everything uncomfortable for everyone, and embarrass and depress the people I am supposed to be helping. Let me do what I can to the best of my abilities, but not worry about the things I can’t achieve. I pray especially for (name your intention)

Our Father – Hail Mary – Glory Be

Third Day: Lord, do you not care that my sister is leaving me to do the serving all by myself? (Lk 10:40)

Martha was doing all that was needed for her visitors’ comfort and her sister was not helping her, but had joined the men and was listening to Jesus.

Lord, I feel that I am left to do all the work, and people who could help me just don’t do anything. Help me not to be angry with them. Have I made it difficult for them to help because of my impatience, or by insisting on doing things a particular way? Don’t allow me to judge you either, or believe you do not care about me. Give me the grace to be at peace, knowing I am working in your service, and to leave the rest to you. You can take away the feeling I have of being burdened, if I give it over to you whose yoke is light. I pray especially for (name your intention)

Our Father – Hail Mary – Glory Be

Fourth Day: But the Lord answered…“Mary has chosen the better part; it is not to be taken from her.” (Lk 10:41-42)

Martha hoped Jesus would tell Mary to help her – it was only fair – but he didn’t. Instead, he told her she was wrong and Mary was right.

Lord, sometimes it’s hard that others don’t seem to see how I am taken advantage of and put upon. Nobody seems to think of me. They don’t encourage others to help me; they seem to think I will just get on with things. Help me not to be resentful and full of judgement. Give me the wisdom to see the good in other people, and the good other people do. I pray especially for (name your intention)

Our Father – Hail Mary – Glory Be

Fifth Day: You worry and fret about so many things, and yet few are needed, indeed only one. (Lk 10:41-42)

Martha expected Jesus’s support in her anger with her sister, but instead he gently rebuked her.

Help me to see where your rebukes are in my life. Help me to see my life as you do; to see my own faults, not the faults of others; but also to know you love me in spite of my faults, and you are with me every day. I pray especially for (name your intention)

Our Father – Hail Mary – Glory Be

Sixth Day: When Martha heard Jesus had come she went out to meet him (Jn 11:20)

When Jesus called her, Martha went out to meet him. She was not trapped in her routines or her small world of work. He called, and she went.

Lord, let me know how much you love me; how exciting life with you can be. Give me the gift of joy. I am tempted to turn in on myself, to harden my heart; but with your help I can be open to the life you give me. If I know you are with me, I can even be happy. I pray especially for (name your intention)

Our Father – Hail Mary – Glory Be

Seventh Day: I know that whatever you ask of God he will grant you (Jn 11:22)

Martha is one of the first to realise Jesus is the Christ.

Lord, give me the grace to see you, to know you, and to know you have power to help me. Let me see you are helping me: helping me in my situation in life; helping me grow in faith. Give me the trust in you that Martha had. I pray especially for (name your intention)

Our Father – Hail Mary – Glory Be

Eighth Day: Jesus wept (Jn 11:35)

When Martha’s brother died, Jesus wept, even though he was going to raise him from the dead. He wept because he loved them.

Lord, I know you love me too, and that you weep over me; not only for my sins but for my sufferings. May I feel the comfort of your closeness. May I be strengthened by the certainty you love me. I pray especially for (name your intention)

Our Father – Hail Mary – Glory Be

Ninth Day: Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations (Mt 28:19)

Tradition says that, after Pentecost, Martha went with her brother and sister to announce the Gospel in Tarascon in France, and that she either destroyed a dragon or turned people away from worshipping one.

Lord, I ask you to give me hope. Let me see that the difficulties I have do not define my life. You have great plans for me if I walk with you. Even if my physical circumstances don’t change, if I stay close to you, I can do great things in your eyes. I pray especially for (name your intention)

Our Father – Hail Mary – Glory Be

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This novena is taken from Handbook of Scriptural Novenas. An alternative novena to St Martha can be found in A Book of Novenas.

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A Book of Novenas Dr Raymond Edwards

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Handbook of Scriptural Novenas

Handbook of Scriptural Novenas Dr Raymond Edwards, Glynn MacNiven-Johnston

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