St. Martin of Tours
A conscientious objector who wanted to be a monk; a monk who was maneuvered into being a bishop; a bishop who fought paganism as well as pleaded for mercy to heretics—such was Martin of Tours, one of the most popular of saints and one of the first not to be a martyr.
Born of pagan parents in what is now Hungary and raised in Italy, this son of a veteran was forced at the age of 15 to serve in the army. He became a Christian catechumen and was baptized at 18. It was said that he lived more like a monk than a soldier. At 23, he refused a war bonus and told his commander: "I have served you as a soldier; now let me serve Christ. Give the bounty to those who are going to fight. But I am a soldier of Christ and it is not lawful for me to fight." After great difficulties, he was discharged and went to be a disciple of Hilary of Poitiers (January 13).
He was ordained an exorcist and worked with great zeal against the Arians. He became a monk, living first at Milan and later on a small island. When Hilary was restored to his see after exile, Martin returned to France and established what may have been the first French monastery near Poitiers. He lived there for 10 years, forming his disciples and preaching throughout the countryside.
The people of Tours demanded that he become their bishop. He was drawn to that city by a ruse—the need of a sick person—and was brought to the church, where he reluctantly allowed himself to be consecrated bishop. Some of the consecrating bishops thought his rumpled appearance and unkempt hair indicated that he was not dignified enough for the office.
Along with St. Ambrose, Martin rejected Bishop Ithacius's principle of putting heretics to death—as well as the intrusion of the emperor into such matters. He prevailed upon the emperor to spare the life of the heretic Priscillian. For his efforts, Martin was accused of the same heresy, and Priscillian was executed after all. Martin then pleaded for a cessation of the persecution of Priscillian's followers in Spain. He still felt he could cooperate with Ithacius in other areas, but afterwards his conscience troubled him about this decision.
As death approached, his followers begged him not to leave them. He prayed, "Lord, if your people still need me, I do not refuse the work. Your will be done."
On a bitterly cold day, a famous legend goes, Martin met a poor man, almost naked, trembling in the cold and begging from passersby at the city gate. Martin had nothing but his weapons and his clothes. He drew his sword, cut his cloak into two pieces, gave one to the beggar and wrapped himself in the other half. Some of the bystanders laughed at his now odd apearance; others were ashamed at not having relieved the man's misery. That night in his sleep Martin saw Christ dressed in the half of the garment he had given away, and heard him say, "Martin, still a catechumen, has covered me with his garment."
Martin's worry about cooperation with evil reminds us that almost nothing is either all black or all white. The saints are not creatures of another world: They face the same perplexing decisions that we do. Any decision of conscience always involves some risk. If we choose to go north, we may never know what would have happened had we gone east, west or south. A hypercautious withdrawal from all perplexing situations is not the virtue of prudence; it is, in fact, a bad decision, for "not to decide is to decide."
Patron Saint of:
Daily Prayer - 2015-11-11
I remind myself that, as I sit here now,
Lord, I pray for your gift of freedom.
In God's loving presence I unwind the past day,
The Word of God
Reading 1 Wis 6:1-11
Hear, O kings, and understand;
Responsorial Psalm PS 82:3-4, 6-7
R. (8a) Rise up, O God, bring judgment to the earth.
Alleluia 1 Thes 5:18
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 17:11-19
As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem,
Some thoughts on today's scripture
Jesus, you always welcomed little children when you walked on this earth.
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
Saint Martin of Tours, Bishop (Memorial)
Your faith has saved you. (Luke 17:19)
The story of the ten lepers illustrates how much Jesus wants to heal us, spiritually as well as physically. All ten of these men were healed, but only one returned to Jesus filled with praise for God. To judge from Jesus' words, only this one received the deeper healing—in his heart. Consider this story, sent in by one of our readers, as an example of the twofold healing God wants to do in all of our lives:
"This spring, my six-month-old son developed a serious skin condition on his back and legs. In a few places, the rash had developed into open sores. The doctor prescribed medicine, but it brought only temporary relief. The poor little boy was miserable!
"Around that time, my husband and I attended a retreat that included a healing service. The priest leading the retreat emphasized that God always wants to do good things for his children. We shouldn't think that our sicknesses come directly from him or that he isn't able to heal us. I immediately thought of our son. I had begun to think that this was just how he would be, and the best we could hope for was that he would eventually outgrow his affliction. There was no room in my mind for God's healing power. I told my husband, and together we stepped out in faith and asked for healing prayers for our son.
"When we returned home, we didn't see any changes. But we kept on praying and trusting in God. When we woke up on the third day, we were amazed to see our little boy's skin completely restored. It was like that of a newborn. We were so excited over what God had done that we laughed and laughed and laughed.
"This healing showed me how much I can trust in God. I had let my faith shrink—but God expanded it that day. Yes, my son was healed, but so was I—and I will never forget it!"
God wants to set us free. He wants to do good things for his children—sometimes small miracles and, at other times, tremendous ones. All we need to do is trust that he hears our every cry.
"Thank you, Father, for your healing power. I give you my heart and believe that you want nothing but good for me!"
The Lord says from the book of Wisdom today "Desire therefore my words; long for them and you shall be instructed." Tell me your desires and I will tell you about your eternity. Tell me what you love, and I'll tell you if it will last. Tell me who you love and I'll tell you who you really love. Because I spoke to a self proclaimed "bible scholar" yesterday and all he was doing was bashing my faith, all because I said I was Catholic. You see, who you love makes all the difference. Keep that in mind as we recall the Holy Gospel today. If you are in charge of people, you are in charge of God's people. What are you doing with them? What are you teaching them? Surely it is lacking in humility and holiness, isn't it? Because if you do not agree, then perhaps you need a piece of humble pie...the Lord Himself.
Rise up O God, bring judgement to the earth. We are asking for His goodness then, because it seems only when supposed "bad" things happen....then we unite, no matter color, race, culture, nor religion. Therefore we ask for goodness when we ask for judgement, and the Lord speaks judgement with 10 lepers. "Defend the lowly and the fatherless; render justice to the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the lowly and the poor; from the hand of the wicked deliver them." Because when we sin we are like lepers. We are those in need, and when the lepers pray, this is what they say "Have PITY on US!"
The Lord speaks "Go show yourselves to the priests". We must go to priests for healing. The Master Priest (JESUS) sends us to His hands on earth, the priests, the fathers in His Holy Name. There, sins are forgiven, if you truly intend never to sin again, then the reconciliation becomes more efficacious. Because the "bible scholar" told me "you can use contraceptions, condoms, just do it so you don't have any more children, and then all you catholics have to do is go confess!" I corrected him "we are to go to confession and be truly sorry, and have the intent to never sin again". At one point in exasperation he said "I haven't met a guy like you that is holding true to his beliefs". Truth is, I hadn't met a guy like him that was so adimate in tempting me to stop believing, it was as if I was speaking to the devil, when he laughed at me saying "boy that got you brainwashed!" as if telling me "you have truly fallen for the lies". I was speaking to the devil, and in speaking the truth, I wanted to speak to the person I was intending to talk to all along, a soul, a child of God, in attempts to save his soul. And this is what the Lord does. 10 lepers appear, and He saves all of them from disgrace, a physical infirmity that symbolized their sinfulness. Only one realized the truth, the source of him being saved. This man falls at the feet of Jesus. Jesus asks for the other 9. There are 10 commandments, 10 reasons to plead for mercy, and only 1 is important...like Mary with Martha, Mary is at the feet of Jesus...choosing the better part always, commandment number one, Thou Shall Love God Above All Things, above all people, above all in the entire world. Jesus has mercy, but do we?
Because I have prayed for people, a miracle happens, and they appreciate it...for a little while. They are not ever-grateful. They are not converted. A miracle will not convert people. People ask for signs, an evil generation asks for signs. 10 miracles happens this day, and only 1 is grateful. 1,000 people go to church, and only half of 10 percent gives in tithing, gives of their labors, of their love, of their ability to sacrifice, that's not even 5%, at least in this story 10% of the people gave thanks and glory to God.
Do you give 10%? Who would dare give 100%? Only one who has fallen for the truth. The other percent fall for the lies.
The lies that we deserve.
The lies that people owe us.
The lies that we were always right.
The lies that we are more important.
The lies that we are more than God.
The lies then that lead us to worship self. This is why people can not, and will not give. Lies have led to abortions. Lies have led to adultery. Judgement is needed. Why? So we can get back in line, back on the WAY of the Truth.
"Christ said, 'I am the truth;' He did not say, 'I am the custom.'" -St. Toribio