slaying dragons

The other day I was buying a few things for the house at the grocery store. In the Mexican food aisle, those devotional candles caught my eye. I’ve been having problems with the hvac vent in my room blowing out the candles in my prayer space. I remembered that the devotional candles are always handy in an outside prayer vigil for their ability to stay lit. So I decided to buy one. But who? Joseph (our patron)? Mary? One of the many Jesus candles? In the back row one stood out to me. It was Martha. And she is now in my prayer space, defiantly providing light in spite of the wind blowing in from the open window and the air from the vent in the ceiling!

When we gather for our intercommunity novitiate program, we always have liturgy. On Tuesday, the Gospel reading was the story of Martha and her sister Mary from Luke. In his homily, Fr. Quinn said something to the effect of, “It doesn’t take long in the experience of Novitiate to feel like Martha.” How true!! You come from this busy life. You come from active ministry on top of a 40 hour a week job. You are programmed to jump up and do this or do that. But Jesus is inviting you to sit at his feet and listen. Not to listen to the anxieties and worries in your heart – although they are still there – but to quiet your heart and listen.

My Martha Candle comes with a prayer:

St Martha, I resort to your aid and protection. Comfort me on my help and need through the great favors you enjoyed when Jesus Christ was lodged in your house. I ask of you, St. Martha, to overcome all my difficulties. Just as you overcame the dragon which you had at your feet. Amen.

Now I’m guessing the language flows better in the Spanish prayer on the other side of the candle … this is probably a translation which accounts for the awkward phrasing. But I love that image of overcoming the dragon . Now I know the dragon comes from legend. Something about her (supposed) time in France after pentecost. But the dragon could also be those anxieties and worries, the need to keep busy and the inability to stay still and listen to the word of God. She overcame those dragons too … And without the benefit of a Novitiate!

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