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Confessional Lutheran theology, hagiography, philosophy, music, culture, sports, education, and whatever else is on the fevered mind of Orycteropus Afer

11 November 2005
  + Saint Martin of Tours +
11 November AD 397

Martin of Tours, pastor and bishop of the Church, was born into a pagan family in what is now Hungary around the year AD 316. He grew up in Lombardy (a region in Italy) and came to the Christian faith as a young man. He then began a career in the Roman army. But sensing a call to a church vocation, Martin left the military and became a monk, affirming that he was "Christ's soldier."

Saint Martin of ToursAccording to early stories, when he was 21, he passed the gates of Amiens and saw a man freezing on the side of the road. Taking pity on this man, Martin ripped his army issue cloak in half and gave it to the man to help comfort him. That night, Martin dreamt of Jesus Christ wearing that half cloak. This vision shook Martin to the core, no longer wanting to be part of the army, he succeeded in attaining a discharge from service.

Martin journeyed to the city of Poitiers where he met the bishop (later to be named Saint) Hilary and was baptized. Returning to Gaul, Martin found that the Arian heresy had taken a firm hold. He spoke out against it and was singled out for persecution and forced to flee. The same happened shortly thereafter to Saint Hilary. Martin fled to an island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, living as a hermit. In 361, Martin discovered that Hilary had regained his seat in Pontiers; this news moved Hilary to return to Gaul.

Hilary sent Martin to Leguge, a Benedictine monastery, to continue his ways as a hermit; there Martin spent the next ten years. In 371, the Bishop of Tours died and Martin was asked twice to assume that seat — he respectfully refused both times. Martin was tricked into coming to Tours to administer the Anointing of the Sick to a friend's wife. This time Martin was persuaded to accept the responsibility as Bishop of Tours. We remember him for his simple lifestyle and his determination to share the Gospel throughout rural Gaul, as well as his work as bishop in successfully staving off numerous heresies.

Incidentally, on St. Martin's Day in 1483, the one-day-old son of Hans and Margarette Luther was baptized and given the name "Martin" Luther.

Lection

Psalm 15 or 34:15-22
Isaiah 58:6-12
Matthew 25:34-40

Collect

Lord God of hosts, who 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 now and forever.
 
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