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The Feast of St. Martin of Tours
November 11th Readings Reflection: Memorial of Saint Martin of Tours, Bishop
Today is the feast of St. Martin of Tours. Born into an atheist family in the 4th century AD, St. Martin became a Christian at the age of 10. His father was a Roman tribune, and as a teenager, St. Martin was required to join his father in battle. One day, the saintly soldier encountered a naked beggar. St. Martin cut his own cloak in half and gave half to the beggar. That night, the saint experienced a vision in which Our Lord told him that it was Christ whom he had clothed.
A few years after this incident, St. Martin left the military to dedicate his life to God. He became a monk and defended the Faith against the heresy of Arianism, which denies Christ’s divinity. Because of his early service in the military, St. Martin is the patron saint of soldiers, and many places throughout Europe have an image of St. Martin in their coat of arms.
In the United States and Canada, we commemorate our veterans today, those men and women who have served in the armed forces to defend our country and the common good. Like St. Martin, our veterans risked their lives in the service of their country. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that those who join the military “are servants of the security and freedom of nations. If [the members of the military] carry out their duty honorably, they truly contribute to the common good of the nation and the maintenance of peace” (CCC §2310). This recalls the words of Jesus in today’s Gospel: “The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones.” Through their willingness to serve and sacrifice for their country, the men and women of our armed forces dedicate their lives to defending the common good and preserving peace. This noble service deserves our heartfelt respect and gratitude.
“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called children of God” (Mat 5:9 DRB).
St. Martin of Tours, pray for all veterans and members of our armed forces!