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The Liturgical Calendar: The Church Remembers

Today the church remembers Martin, Bishop of Tours, 397.

Martin was reared a pagan and became an officer in the Roman army. As a young officer serving in the Province of Gaul (France) he became an "inquirer" or catechumen of the Christian faith. At Amiens he encountered a beggar who was cold and naked. Moved with compassion he ripped his own officer's cloak in two and gave the beggar half. From that time on he resolved to become a Christian and follow the Lord's way of life.

After obtaining a discharge from the army, he traveled about but finally settled at Poitiers where he and Hilary (see January 13), the Bishop of Poitiers, founded a religious community. Martin was eventually elected Bishop of Tours and in that capacity he became famous as a pastor and evangelist. He succeeded in establishing parishes and monasteries throughout the region. Martin was a strong advocate of justice in a time and place when power seemed to rule. He protested any mistreatment of heretics or pagans by Christians, and vice versa.

Martin became a patron saint of France. He was also very popular among the old Celtic Christians of Britain. Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury (see May 26), was startled upon arriving at what he presumed to be pagan Britain to find a Christian church, St. Martin's at Canterbury.

O Lord, may we, too, live lives marked by justice and compassion. Amen.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

Lord God of hosts, you clothed your servant Martin the soldier with the spirit of sacrifice, and set him as a bishop in your Church to be a defender of the catholic faith: Give us grace to follow in his holy steps, that at the last we may be found clothed with righteousness in the dwellings of peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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