Merciful God, our Father, neither hardship, pain,nor the threat of death could weaken the faith of Saint Martin. Through our faith, give us courage to endure whatever sufferings the world may inflict upon us.
The Mass collect is appropriate today when prejudice and suffering is prevalent due to one’s adherence to the Church’s teaching.
Pope Saint Martin I was the 7th century pontiff who held firm to the orthodox teaching that Christ had a divine and a human natures and wills. Speaking of Christ’s nature is not commonly heard at the dinner table, never mind from the pulpit these days but at one point, there was significant dissent among the people of God. Every-now-and again you encounter monothelitism (a slightly different form of monophysitism which rejected the human nature of Christ) in university and parochial settings. Beware!
What does monthelitism teach? Some of members of the Church –mostly in the East– held that Christ had two natures (human and divine) but only one will. The divine will. The pope at the time, Theodore, condemned the teaching held by Patriarch Pyrrhus of Constantinople. The Lateran Council (AD 649) agreed with Theodore and with his successor in Rome, Martin. Patriarch Paul II, Pyrrhus’ successor was excommunicated for holding to monothelitism. In holding to monothelitism one would deny sacred Scripture which taught that Jesus was like in everything but sin; rejecting Jesus’ humanity in all of fullness, would contradict our belief in the revealed Son of God. Hence, the orthodox teaching says that Christ had distinct divine and human wills.
So, if we believe that Jesus Christ was fully human he also had the faculty of willing. Because Jesus is also Divine, His was one with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. Therefore, Jesus had human and divine natures and wills, completely united.
Pope Martin’s suffering and death were well-known; he suffered much at the hands of unorthodox churchmen. The Pope’s relics remain in the Church of San Martino ai Monti, dedicated to another famous “Martin,” Saint Martin of Tours and served by the Carmilite Friars. The Church of San Martino also bears the name of San Sylvester and is the titular church for Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz of Warsaw; former titulars were Pope Pius XI and Pope Paul VI.
More detailed information can be read here.