Sisters in Scripture
Deal with our Dragons    7/2/2020
 In a recent Zoom session on Mary Magdalene, I referenced the Golden Legend, a Medieval collection of fanciful stories about various saints. It was compiled in the 1260’s by Jacobus de Voragine and wildly popular in the Middle Ages, more widely read and known than the Bible, and taken by folks of that time to be as true as the sacred text.

Its colorful, whimsical tales fueled legends like the search for the Holy Grail and inspired cities to rival one another for patron saints and relics. We may cast a bemused glance at such phantasmagorical literature, but there is often a kernel of truth or a gem of wisdom to be found for the seeker. My favorite example is that of St. Martha and the Dragon.

In the Golden Legend, Martha, her sister, Mary, and brother, Lazarus, all set off from the Holy Land in a rudderless ship and cast themselves upon the whim of the sea and grace of God. They are, of course, miraculously guided, and eventually the Mediterranean coughs them up on the rocky shores of Marseilles, France, where their various adventures ensue.   These adventures become the stuff of local legend and various locations, particularly in France, still foster popular devotion and bear their names.  
Dragons, of course, were a terrible problem in the Middle Ages terrorizing villagers, shooting flames, snorting smoke, and chewing up folks in a single chomp. They did, however, provide stalwart knights a good deal of job security, as evidenced by that most popular and famous dragon-slayer of all, St. George. 
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