Ordinary Time: November 11th
Memorial of St. Martin of Tours, bishop; Veterans Day (USA)
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Old Calendar: St. Martin; St. Mennas, martyr ; Other Titles: Martinstag, Martini; Martinmas
Today the Church celebrates the memorial of St. Martin of Tours, bishop. St. Martin is the first bishop and confessor honored by the Church in the West. He was a principal apostle of Gaul, where his feast was celebrated as a holyday of obligation with an octave and popular celebrations.
According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is also the commemoration of St. Mennas, an Egyptian soldier and martyr, put to death during Diocletian’s reign (c. 295).
Veterans Day (USA), Remembrance Day (Canada)
On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in the eleventh month of the year 1918, an armistice was signed, ending the “war to end all wars.” November 11 was set aside as Armistice Day in the United States to remember the sacrifices that men and women made during the war in order to ensure a lasting peace. In 1938 Congress voted Armistice Day as a legal holiday, but World War II began the following year. Armistice Day was still observed after the end of the Second World War. In 1953 townspeople in Emporia, Kansas called the holiday Veterans Day in gratitude to the veterans in their town. Soon after, Congress passed a bill renaming the national holiday to Veterans Day. Today, we remember those who have served for our country in the armed forces in our prayers. For more information, read about Veterans Day.
Prayers for those in service and for their families may be found here.
St. Martin of Tours
St. Martin was born (c. 316) at Sabaria, a town in Pannonia near the famous Benedictine monastery dedicated to his name. Against the wishes of his parents he associated with Christians and became a catechumen at the age of ten. At fifteen he entered the army and served under the Emperors Constantius and Julian. While in the service he met a poor, naked beggar at the gates of Amiens who asked alms in Christ’s Name. Martin had nothing with him except his weapons and soldier’s mantle; but he took his sword, cut the latter in two, and gave half to the poor man. During the following night Christ appeared to him clothed with half a mantle and said, “Martin, the catechumen, has clothed Me with this mantle!”
Martin was eighteen years old when he received the sacrament of holy baptism. At the pleading of his superior officer, he remained two years longer in the army. Then, upon requesting dismissal, Julian accused him of cowardice. “With the sign of the Cross,” Martin answered, “I shall more certainly break through the ranks of the enemy than if armed with shield and sword.” When released he sought out St. Hilary, bishop of Poitiers, and was ordained. Later he was made bishop of Tours. Close to the city he built a monastery (Marmoutier), where with eighty monks he led a most holy life. On one of his numerous visits to the imperial court at Trier, a certain man besought him to help his daughter, “I firmly believe in the Lord that my daughter will be healed through your prayer.” Martin healed the girl with consecrated oil. Tetradius, who witnessed this extraordinary manifestation of divine power, asked for baptism.
Martin also possessed the gift of discerning spirits. Once the devil appeared to him radiant and clothed in royal apparel, and spoke as if he were Christ. Martin, recognizing the deceit, replied, “The Lord Jesus Christ never prophesied that He would come in purple robes and royal crown.” The apparition immediately vanished. Three dead persons he raised to life. While celebrating holy Mass a luminous sphere appeared over his head. He was far advanced in age when he fell into a grievous fever during a visitation at Candes, an outlying parish of his diocese. Unceasingly he begged God to release him from this mortal prison. His disciples, however, implored him with tears, “Father, why are you leaving us? To whom will you entrust the care of your disconsolate children?” Deeply moved, Martin turned to God: “Lord, if I am still necessary for Your people, I will not refuse the labor. Your will be done!”
When the bystanders saw that despite his great fever he remained lying on his back, they besought him to change position to alleviate somewhat the pain. But Martin answered, “Brothers, rather let me look toward heaven than to earth so that my soul in its journey home may take a direct flight to the Lord.” Shortly before death he saw the evil spirit. “What do you want, horrible beast? You will find nothing in me that’s yours!” With those words the aged saint breathed forth his soul on November 11, 397, at the age of eighty-one.
—Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch
St. Martin’s feast, also known as “Martinmas” in Europe arrives in autumn, the beginning of the wine harvest. This was also the time of slaughter of the stock for winter meat. His images are usually depicted with a goose, symbolizing that Martinmas was the last festive meal before Advent, because in France in the Middle Ages, the strict 40 day Advent fast (called Quadragesima Sancti Martini or Forty Days’ Fast of Saint Martin’s) began the next day. So in past centuries November 11 was celebrated as a thanksgiving day. Thus it was the custom to have “St. Martin’s goose” and taste the new wine (“Saint Martin’s Wine”) on his feast day. A quick spell of warm weather around his feast day (usually termed “Indian Summer” in the US) is known as “St. Martin’s Little Summer” in Europe.
Patron: Against impoverishment; against poverty; alcoholism; beggars; Burgenland; cavalry; equestrians; France; geese; horse men; horses; hotel-keepers; innkeepers; Mainz, Germany; quartermasters; reformed alcoholics; riders; soldiers; tailors; vintners; wine growers; wine makers.
Symbols: Horse; sword and coat cut in halves; goose; scourge; hare; broken images; chair in flames; demon at his feet; globe of fire;
Often Portrayed As: Man on horseback sharing his cloak with beggar; man cutting cloak in half.
Things to Do:
- Recite the Iste Confessor in honor of St. Martin.
- Cook a special dinner of roast goose or duck in honor of St. Martin. Bake some horseshoe cookies.
- In Europe this day is traditionally known as Martinmas. Many foods and traditions are connected with this day. See also Women for Faith and Family for more Catholic traditions.
- St. Martin is patron saint of wine growers, wine makers and vintners. In France, the tasting of the new wine is done today. Have a Martinmas gathering, serving this year’s Noveau Beaujolais wine from France.
- Read Painting Angels, Saints and Their Symbols for a discussion about St. Martin’s symbols in art.
- For more biographies and other information on St. Martin, read Catholics Saints Info.
- See the Life of St Martin as depicted in the stained glass of Chartres Cathedral (c.1220) here.
- The children will enjoy this dessert St. Martin’s Horseshoes and you can learn more about customs for this feast.
- Read about the Real St. Martin of Tours by Jennifer Gregory Miller
St. Mennas, according to legend a Christian soldier from Egypt, left the Roman army during the persecution of Diocletian and Maximian to go into the desert and do penance. On the Emperor’s birthday, which the people celebrated with outdoor spectacles, he entered the theatre at Cotyaeum and openly mocked belief in pagan gods. He was seized and cruelly scourged by Pyrrhus, the official in charge. Tied to the rack, his whole body was burned with torches, brushed with thorns, torn with leaden whips. He was finally beheaded and his body thrown into the fire. Christians took what remained and gave it honorable burial. His grave, close to Alexandria, became such a famous place of pilgrimage that, as at Lourdes today, a whole town arose to accommodate the pilgrims. Many small phials or eulogia have been found there which show St. Mennas between two kneeling camels.
Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch
Patron: Falsely accused people; peddlers; travelling merchants.
Symbols: Man with his hands cut off and his eyes torn out; man with two camels; young knight with a halberd, an anachronistic depiction of his time in the Roman army.
Things to Do:
- Learn more about St. Mennas.
- God does not ask of us the heroic acts performed by the saints. They came directly under the influence of the Holy Spirit; we cannot imitate them in everything, but we can admire them and be confirmed in love and obedience toward God.
The Word Among Us
Meditation: Luke 17:1-6
Saint Martin of Tours, Bishop (Memorial)
You should forgive him. (Luke 17:4)
“How can Jesus expect me to forgive someone who has hurt me so much or so often?” Jesus knows how hard it can be to forgive, but he still wants us to try. Perhaps we feel deeply hurt, offended, or betrayed. Or maybe the sheer repetition of even a minor offense has left us exhausted or exasperated. Still, Jesus says, “Forgive.” There are no conditions or loopholes to the command. Simply forgive.
So you can understand how overwhelmed the apostles seem at the prospect. “Increase our faith” they cry out (Luke 17:5). This is too hard. We don’t have anywhere near the amount of faith we need if we’re going to put this into practice.
But Jesus disagrees. All they need is faith the size of a tiny mustard seed. If they just take that little bit of faith and put it into practice by trying to forgive, they will find their capacity for mercy growing.
Because the topic of forgiveness can be so fraught with pain, we should keep one important point in mind: forgiveness is only part of the equation, especially when it comes to serious offenses. Jesus doesn’t want us persisting in abusive relationships, for instance, if there is no attempt at true change. It’s not healthy just to pardon someone and let the offenses keep coming. Sometimes we need outside help to bring true healing and resolution to a hurtful relationship.
But very often, it’s the little, everyday things that we need to forgive—the driver who cuts us off in traffic or the child who keeps leaving his laundry all around the house. That’s exactly where we can make progress! Take the faith that you have—even if it seems too small for the task—and do what you can. Take just one small step today. And then take another step tomorrow. And the next day. Eventually, your grip will loosen, and you’ll be able to let go. Just keep on praying, “Jesus, I don’t want to forgive, but I want to make a start and trust that you’ll help me over time.”
All it takes is a mustard seed of faith to start forgiving.
“Thank you, Jesus, for the faith you have given me. Lord, increase my faith! Help me to choose to forgive!”
Marriage = One Man and One Woman Until Death Do Us Part
Daily Marriage Tip for November 11, 2019:
Do you know any veterans in your family, neighborhood, or parish? Together, call or visit them to thank them for their sacrifice.
November 11, 2019 – Uprooting Sin
Memorial of Saint Martin of Tours, Bishop
Father Edward Hopkins, LC
Jesus said to his disciples, “Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the person through whom they occur. It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying, ‘I am sorry,’ you should forgive him.” And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to (this) mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
Introductory Prayer: I believe in you, Lord Jesus, as the only one who can fill my heart. I believe in the power of faith to change my life and the lives of others. I trust that you will grant me the light and strength to cast out sin from my life. I come to you in prayer so that I can love you even more with a firm but serene opposition to sin.
Petition: Lord, may I desire “death before sin.”
- Causing Others to Sin: The negative effects of sin are many: offending God, damaging my conscience and soul, hardening my heart, forming bad habits, losing grace and will power, creating distance and difficulty in prayer, etc. But no result of sin is more damaging than that of scandal, where my sin leads others to sin. Why is this so serious? As a Christian I am called to live and teach Christ’s life to others. Scandal falsifies and contradicts my vocation and mission in life. We all have “little ones” entrusted to us: children, family members, those new to the faith, those searching, those who are especially weak…. If I am truly dedicated to lead them to Christ, then sin and scandal will have little room. How real and determined is my dedication?
- Rebuke and Forgive: We must fight sin wherever we find it. How much more difficult does this become in a world where tolerance is ranked above virtue! Even in family life we are tempted to let things go and not create friction and uneasiness. But if sin is our greatest enemy, then we must always cast it out. The key is to do everything with the heart of Christ, a heart of love: ready to forgive the sinner, never judging their heart, but never minimizing an evil action. How well do I teach moral truth? Do I distinguish the sin from the sinner? Is Christ’s love always my motivation and dominant message?
- Faith Uproots Sin: All of this — fighting personal sin and helping others conquer it — seemed a bit much for the apostles. They begged for an increase of faith. Faith of any size embraces God’s understanding of the evil of sin and seeks to live accordingly. Yet sin is not overcome easily, and mere understanding is not enough. We must uproot sin from our lives and reject it constantly in the lives of others. Only Christ’s love provides the strength we need, and often the perseverance in battling the same sins over time only comes through the strength that comes from Christ’s love. Only through Christ can our hearts be filled and not return to old habits of sin.
Conversation with Christ: Give me, Lord, the courage to fight sin in my life. Grant me your heart, Lord, so I can fight and suffer without cowardice, without taking time out and without discouragement, even if others do not understand or thank me. Help me to uproot sin from my life and put you first.
Resolution: I will fight to eradicate sins against charity in my family or work life. I will avoid it and call others to do so too in a gentle but firm manner.
November 11, 2019
In the first reading we are taught that, if we wish to serve God, we need wisdom: “Crooked thinking distances you from God, and his Omnipotence, put to the test, confounds the foolish.”
If we wish to be followers of Christ, we must be Christ-like. In the Gospel reading Jesus tells us not to scandalize or lead others to sin and to have faith which can literally move mountains: “If you have faith even the size of a mustard seed, you may say to this tree: ‘Be uprooted and plant yourself in the sea,’ and it will obey you.”
We should not be obstacles to those who wish to follow the Lord. By showing good example we help and lead others to God. Let us be conscious how our actions affect others, for ill or good.
Jesus tells us to be forgiving of those who have wronged us: “If your brother offends you, rebuke him and if he is sorry, forgive him. And if he offends you seven times in a day but says to you seven times: ‘I’m sorry,’ forgive him.”
One Bread, One Body
One Bread, One Body
Language: English | Espanol
All Issues > Volume 35, Issue 6
|<< Monday, November 11, 2019 >>
||St. Martin of Tours
THE EUCHARIST, FOOD OF WISDOM
|“He manifests Himself to those who do not disbelieve Him.” �Wisdom 1:2
|As I read the above passage, I felt goose bumps form on my body. Today Almighty God manifested Himself to me in His Eucharistic presence (see Wis 1:2). I rejoiced to receive Him in Holy Communion at Mass. Jesus, Wisdom Incarnate (1 Cor 1:30), bounded out of heaven (Wis 18:15; Jn 6:33) to fill me with the Food of Wisdom.
People spend years obtaining knowledge through education and training. Yet we Catholics have been given the Bread of Wisdom, and can receive this Bread daily! Oh, that we would “seek Him” (Wis 1:1) with more fervor than the worldly seek knowledge! (cf Lk 16:8)
We live in an age of information and knowledge. Yet do we live in an age of wisdom? As St. Paul observed, ” ‘knowledge’ inflates,” and can lead us to pride, but “love upbuilds” (1 Cor 8:1). Wisdom without love is nothing; real wisdom must lead to love (1 Cor 13:2).
Jesus, “the Bread of Life” (Jn 6:35), is “Wisdom” (1 Cor 1:30). Attend Mass daily, or as often as possible. Receive the eucharistic Jesus, Wisdom Incarnate, and “get wisdom!” (Prv 4:5)
|Prayer: Lord, “increase our faith” (Lk 17:5).
|Promise: “The Holy Spirit of discipline flees deceit and withdraws from senseless counsels.” —Wis 1:5
|Praise: St. Martin worked tirelessly to convert the pagan countryside and fight Arianism, an insidious fourth century heresy.