WHEN a mere boy, Martin became a Christian catechumen against his parents' wish; and at fifteen was therefore seized by his father, a pagan soldier, and enrolled in the army. One winter's day, when stationed at Amiens, he met a beggar almost naked and frozen with cold. Having no money, he cut his cloak in two and gave him the half. That night he saw Our Lord clothed in the half cloak, and heard Him say to the angels: "Martin, yet a catechumen, hath wrapped Me in this garment." This decided him to be baptized, and shortly after he left the army. He succeeded in converting his mother; but, being driven from his home by the Arians, he took shelter with St. Hilary, and founded near Poitiers the first monastery in France. In 372 he was made Bishop of Tours. His flock, though Christian in name, was still pagan in heart. Unarmed and attended only by his monks, Martin destroyed the heathen temples and groves, and completed by his preaching and miracles the conversion of the people, whence he is known as the Apostle of Gaul. His last eleven years were spent in humble toil to atone for his faults, while God made manifest by miracles the purity of his soul.
Reflection. —It was for Christ crucified that St. Martin worked. Are you working for the same Lord?
Lives Of The Saints By Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. Edition www.globalgrey.co.uk
St. Mennas, an Egyptian, a soldier in the Roman army, was beheaded in Phrygia, a province of Asia Minor, in 304, for refusing to renounce his faith in Christ. At one time his fame eclipsed that of St. Martin at Rome. Many miracles occurred at his tomb; mementos, little phials made of earthenware, with the image of the saint between two kneeling camels and the inscription “the blessing of St. Mennas,” are found in almost all the museums in Europe. After the Eighth Century, popular devotion to him declined.
Prayers and Reading for Today’s MASS
Introit • Ecclus. 45, 30
The Lord made to him a covenant of peace, and made him a prince that the dignity of priesthood should be to him forever. Ps, 131, 1. O Lord, remember David, and all his meekness. Glory be …
O God, Who seest that we exist by no power of our own, mercifully grant that, by the intercession of blessed Martin, Thy confessor and bishop, we be strengthened against all adversities. Through our Lord.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that we, who venerate the birthday of blessed Mennas, Thy martyr, may, through his intercession, be strengthened in the love of Thy name. Through our Lord.
Epistle • Ecclus. 44, 16-27; 45, 3-20
Lesson from the Book of Wisdom.
[The praises of the holy fathers, in particular of Enoch, Noe, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. ]
Behold a great priest, who in his days pleased God, and was found just, and in the time of wrath he was made a reconciliation. There was not any found like to him, who kept the law of the Most Hight. Therefore by an oath the Lord made him increase among his people. He gave him the blessing of all nations, and confirmed His covenant upon his head. He acknowledged him in His blessings: He preserved for him His mercy: and he found grace before the eyes of the Lord. He glorified him in the sight of kings, and gave him a sight of kings, and gave him a crown of glory. He made an everlasting covenant with him; and gave him a great priesthood; and made him blessed in glory. To execute the office of the priesthood and to have praise in his name, and to offer to him worthy incense for an odor of sweetness.
Gradual • Ecclus. 44, 16
Behold a great priest, who in his days pleased God. There was not any found like to him who kept the law of the Most High.
Alleluia, alleluia. The blessed man, St. Martin, bishop of Tours, hath gone to rest, and angels and archangels, thrones, dominations, and powers have received him. Alleluia.
Gospel • Luke 11, 33-36
Continuation of the Holy Gospel According to St. Luke.
[Christ teaches his disciples to pray. He casts out a dumb devil, confutes the Pharisees, and pronounces woes against them for their hypocrisy.]
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, No man lighteth a candle, and putteth it in a hidden place, nor under a bushel; but upon a candlestick, that they that come in, may see the light. The light of thy body is thy eye. If thy eye be single, thy whole body will be lightsome: but if it be evil, thy body also will be darksome. Take heed therefore, that the light which is in thee, be not darkness. If then thy whole body be lightsome, having no part of darkness; the whole shall be lightsome; and as a bright lamp, shall enlighten thee.
Offertory • Ps 88, 25
My truth and My mercy shall be with him; and in My name shall his horn be exalted.
Sanctify, we beseech Thee, O Lord God, these gifts which we offer to Thee in the solemnity of Thy holy bishop Martin, that by them our Life, everywhere, may go in the straight path, in adversity and in happiness. Through our Lord.
Accept, we beseech Thee, O Lord, our offerings and prayers; both cleanse us by these heavenly mysteries and graciously hear us. Through our Lord.
Communion • Matt. 24, 46, 47
Blessed is that servant whom, when his lord shall come, he shall find watching; Amen, I say to you, he shall set him over all his goods.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, our God, that by the intercession of those on whose feast the mysteries are offered, thy may be made efficacious for our salvation. Through our Lord.