Sundays are not
days on which the Church observes the liturgical memorial of saints. It happens
periodically, but today’s feast of Saint Martin of Tours (AD 316-397) is not
one them, at least not in the USA. Perhaps in Tours where the saint lived there
is a festive celebration of Martin, I am uncertain of such. But that today is
Veterans’ Day here and that the liturgical calendar recalls Martin, it seems
silly not to think of this most famous saint as we pray for Veterans.
The Church prays,
O God, who are glorified in the Bishop Saint Martin both by his life and death, make new, we pray, the wonders of your grace in our hearts, that neither death nor life may separate us from your love.
was widely honored for his holiness and witness to Jesus Christ; through his
intercession God performed many miracles and many came to Christian faith. It
is said that saints beget saints. Martin was a disciple of the famed Saint Hilary of Poitiers
and Saint Lidorius desired that Martin succeed him as bishop of Tours and his
successors were Saint Britius and Saint Perpetuus; and Saint Benedict had a significant
devotion to Martin.
One of the famous stories of Martin is the one of the
cloak. As the narrative goes, Martin was approaching Amiens meeting a
poorly attired beggar who was obviously in need: cold, hungry and homeless. That he was a virtuous man, Martin cut his cloak in half and
gave half to the beggar. That night, in a dream, Jesus appeared to Martin wearing the cloak given to the
“beggar.” As Martin recounted, he heard Jesus say to the angels: “Here is
Martin, the Roman soldier who is not baptized [a catechumen] and has clad me” (Sulpicius
Severus, ch 2). One version of the story tells of the cloak being restored in
full to Martin.