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Holy Bishop St Martin of Tours
“We must obey God, rather than men.” Acts of the Apostles 5:29
“Martin (d.397 CE), named for the Roman god of war, grew up strong and handsome, earning himself a position in the elite Praetorian Guard. But at age 20, he carved up his uniform in order to clothe a freezing beggar. That night, he had a vision of Christ, who proclaimed before the heavenly host; ‘Here is Martin, not even baptized, who has clothed me.’ The very next day, Martin was baptized into the newly legalized Christian religion. He persevered in his reluctant service until it came into conflict with his faith. At the Battle of Worms in 356, he found himself on the eve of war. As Caesar Julian came down the line, he thought of Jesus’ disarming of Peter in Gethsemane. As the most powerful man in the known world stood before him, Martin declared loudly; ‘ I have served as your soldier long enough, let me now serve God; I am a soldier of Christ, it is not lawful for me to fight.’ Christian’s do not pray for victory, but for hostilities to cease. Martin did so behind bars,as a prisoner of conscience, after Caesar jailed him for refusing to fight. However, the enemy negotiated for peace and Martin was discharged from the military; the first soldier saint to escape martyrdom...”
Written by the veteran Logan Mehl-Laituri
“...he brings all his concerns before God with the awareness that God will hear them. And God constantly hears him...He cannot turn down a single request of his. His prayer is good and full of love, and he does not have to lead himself into prayer or be led; his entire life is a prayer...Even his work for the Church is a labor of love, of love for God and for his neighbor. He occasionally suffers because of the Church...And he always imagines that the Lord suffers much more...(And what is his death like?) I see anxieties regarding death. And afterward, in the midst of dying, perfect surrender...”
Adrienne von Speyr page 226
The Book of All Saints
Every year I have a desire to begin Advent earlier, and I usually pick St Albert’s day which is 40 days to Christmas, November 15. But I always feel Martin sounds the joyful bell on his feast; that Christ is coming to be born inside us again and again. I have a special love for St Martin, which goes back to childhood seeing paintings of him clothing the beggar, and now buying the candles of him at the grocery store where he is called “San Martin Caballero.”
I bought some today to give as gifts. Each saint has a gift for you if you simply look into their lives. Many even teach us with their faults as well as their virtues.
Dear St Martin,
Teach us, like our friend, St Philippine Duchesne, to live in a prayer. So that our requests out of love for anyone we pray for, like St Martin, will be heard by You, dear Lord. That our simple love for You can ease the terrible suffering we see every day around us. And also, please, dear Lord, prepare an empty place within us, as St Therese of Lisieux once said, a manger, in our souls where the Infant King can be born-again.
Fr Bill McNichols
11 November 2019