FEAST OF SAINT MARTIN/VETERANS DAY
Psalm 119, Verse 120
flesh shudders with dread of you; I FEAR your judgments.
The justice of God is a tremendously awful subject of contemplation, even to those who are safely shielded from its terrors. The believer, in the act of witnessing its righteous stroke upon the wicked of the earth, cannot forbear to cry out—My flesh trembleth for fear of thee.
David trembled at the stroke of Uzzah, as if it came very near to himself. "Destruction from God" saith holy Job —"was a terror to me: and by reason of his highness, I could not endure." Such also was the Prophet's strong sensation—"When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at thy voice: rottenness entered into my bones."
And thus, when God comes to tread down and put away his enemies for the display of the holiness of his character, and to excite the love of his people—those that stand by, secure under the secret of their hiding place—cannot but "take up their parable and say —Alas! Who shall live, when God doeth this!" The children of God reverence their Father's anger. They cannot see it without an awful fear; and this trembling at his judgments upon the ungodly covers them from the heavy stroke.
Those that refuse to tremble shall be made to feel, while those that are afraid of his judgments shall be secure. "Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked." "I trembled in myself," said the prophet, "that I might rest in the day of trouble."
Even the manifestations of his coming "for the salvation of his people" are attended with all the marks of the most fearful terror— as if his voice would shake the earth to its very foundation—"Thou didst cause judgment to be heard from heaven—the earth feared and was still: when God arose to judgment, to save all the meek, of the earth."
To mark this trembling as the character of the child of God, we need only contrast it with the ungodly scoffing, "Where is the God of judgment? Where is the promise of his coming? The Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil."
Thus, do men dare to "run upon the thick bosses of his bucklers" instead of trembling for fear of him! This "stoutness against the Lord" excites the astonishment of the hosts of heaven; so discordant is it to their notes of humble praise—"Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name; for thy judgments are made manifest!"
Such is the special acceptance of this trembling spirit, that some shadow of it obtained a respite even for wicked Ahab and a pardon for the penitent Ninevites while its genuine "tenderness of heart" screened Josiah from the doom of his people and will ever be regarded with the tokens of the favor of this terrible God. "To this man," saith he, "will I look, even to him that is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and that trembleth at my word."
Believers in Christ! Rejoice in your deliverance from that "fear which hath torment." Yet cherish that holy reverential fear of the character and judgments of God, which will form your most effectual safeguard "from presumptuous sins." The very supposition, that, if God had not engaged himself to you by an unchangeable covenant, his fearful judgments Would have been your eternal portion, is of itself sufficient to mingle the wholesome ingredient of fear with the most established assurance. What! Can you look down into the burning bottomless gulf beneath your feet, without the recollection—If I were not immovably fastened to the "Rock of Ages" by the strong chain of everlasting love, this must have been my abode through the countless ages of eternity. If I had not been thus upheld by the grace, as well as by the providence, of God, I might have dropped out of his hand, as one and another not more rebellious than I have fallen, into this intolerable perdition!
O God! My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments. Thus, the dread of the judgments of God is not necessarily of a slavish and tormenting character. "His saints" are called to "fear him “and their fear, so far from "gendering unto bondage," is consistent with the strongest assurance nay, even is its fruit and effect. It is at once the principle of present obedience and of final perseverance. It is the confession of weakness, unworthiness, and sinfulness, laying us low before our God. It is our most valuable discipline. It is the "bit and bridle" that curbs the forwardness of the flesh, and enables us to "serve God acceptably," in the remembrance, that, though in love he is a reconciled Father, yet in holiness he is "a consuming fire."
Now, if we are under the influence of this reverential awe and seriousness of spirit, we shall learn to attach a supreme authority and consideration to the least of his commands. We shall dread the thought of willfully offending him. The fear of grieving him will be far more operative now, than was the fear of hell in our unconverted state. Those who presume upon their gospel liberty, will not, probably, understand this language. But the humble believer well knows how intimately "the fear of the Lord" is connected with "the comfort of the Holy Ghost" and with his own steady progress in holiness, and preparation for heaven.
1040 The Last Judgment will come when Christ returns in glory. Only the Father knows the day and the hour; only he determines the moment of its coming. Then through his Son Jesus Christ he will pronounce the final word on all history. We shall know the ultimate meaning of the whole work of creation and of the entire economy of salvation and understand the marvelous ways by which his Providence led everything towards its final end. The Last Judgment will reveal that God's justice triumphs over all the injustices committed by his creatures and that God's love is stronger than death.
I fear no evil; for you are at my side with your rod and your staff that give me courage.
MARTIN was born in the year 316 in Pannonia, or Hungary, of pagan parents, but he received secret instructions in the Christian religion, and in his tenth year was received into the number of the catechumens, that is, of those who are preparing themselves to receive holy Baptism. At the age of fifteen he became a soldier, being, as is probable, forced to do so by his father, to whom the religion of the boy had become known.
Out of love of God he not only kept himself aloof from the excesses so common in this state of life, but he took advantage of it to practice love for man, by dividing his pay among the poor. Being one day solicited for alms by a beggar, and having nothing but his arms and his cloak, he gave him half his cloak.
The following night Christ appeared to him, wearing that half of the cloak, and said to him: Martin, who is yet a catechumen, has clothed Me with this garment. Moved by this comforting apparition, he received holy Baptism, gave up the life of a soldier, and betook himself to St. Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, in France. As he was careful about his own salvation, so also was he careful of the salvation of others, particularly of his parents and relatives, for the sake of whose conversion he undertook a journey to his native land.
On his return he built, not far from Poitiers, the first convent in France, into which he received twenty-four monks, with whom he led a strict and virtuous life. His great faith made him like the apostles in regard to miracles, and the fame thereof spread abroad to that degree that, in spite of his refusals, he was chosen Bishop of Tours. This high dignity made no change in his manner of living; rather it increased his humility, his patience under the greatest persecutions, his zeal for the glory of God, his love for his neighbor, and particularly for his enemies.
After he had in such manner ruled over his diocese for twenty-six years, being then over eighty years old, the strength of life left him. He thereupon collected his disciples about him, and said: Children, I am dying. They wept and mourned. Moved by their tears, he in his prayers professed himself willing to labor longer if it were God's will. But he had labored for heaven enough, and God desired to place upon him the long-merited crown. With his eyes raised to heaven, he prayed incessantly, allowing himself no relief. At his last moments the enemy sought to confound him by a horrible apparition, but, full of confidence in God, the saint cried out: What do you seek, cruel monster? In me you will find nothing that is yours; and soon after his spirit gently sank to rest. Would that we might learn from this saint truly to love God, and to care not only for our own salvation, but for the welfare of our fellow men in body and soul! Then we, too, might have nothing to fear in death.
O God, Who seest that we cannot subsist by any strength of our own, mercifully grant that by the intercession of blessed Martin, Thy confessor and bishop, we may be protected against all adversity.
EPISTLE. Ecclus. xliv., xlv.
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 found the like to him who kept the law of the Most High. Therefore, by an oath the Lord gave him glory in his posterity. 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 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 Him due incense for an odor of sweetness.
GOSPEL. Luke xi. 33-36.
At that time Jesus said to the multitude of the Jews: 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.
What does this gospel teach us?
1. The same that it once taught the Jews: thus, Jesus is always the light of the world, and He has not left Himself without witness that He is so. This light is ever shining upon the world in His doctrines, His life, His acts, in His Church and in the mysteries of grace laid up therein, in the growth and preservation of that Church, and in the miracles which to this hour continue to be wrought within it. Hence, if we do not know Him, if we do not obey and reverence His Church, it is but blindness and obduracy on our part; there is wanting to us a pure, sincere mind, that loves only the truth. This gospel accordingly admonishes us:
2. That we should acquire such a mind; for, says Jesus, as a sound, clear eye keeps the whole body always in the right direction, and guides it in all its movements, while an eye that is awry, or otherwise defective, causes the body to fall, in like manner a heart that is pure and always turned towards God gives the right direction to our thoughts, wishes, and actions, and causes us to see the light of truth, whereas a heart fixed upon the various goods of the world, but blinded to God, fills our thoughts, wishes, and actions with corruption and sin. How great in that case must be the darkness, the depravity, the misery!
3. This gospel contains the emblem of that which, all superiors, masters, heads of families, parents and particularly priests should be, namely, lights, like Jesus Himself. For this they are set upon the candlestick. They are, accordingly, to give light by their teaching and life, by their avoidance of scandals; of that which every Christian should be a light, by his faith, his good works. Finally, of the temper with which the faithful and all inferiors should meet those who are set over them, with believing and trusting minds.
Prayer to St. Martin,
O St. Martin, precious heart of the priesthood, loving father of the poor, bright example of the religious, who, out of zeal for the glory of God, couldst neither be overcome by labor nor by death itself, at whose departure hence the angels therefore rejoiced, I implore thee, through thy powerful intercession, to obtain for me a heart full of compassion for the needy, for the apostolic pastors of the Church, true zeal, and for all, on the bed of death, the grace by which, after this life of misery, we may together enter into that joy of the Lord which thou, as a good and faithful servant, already possessest.
In honor of St. Martin today would be a good day to go through our closets and cut our cloaks in half to donate to the poor. While serving in Germany myself I have a fond memory of St. Martin Day in which my children participated in the nighttime St. Martins Day Parade in the small town of Gersbach, Germany. On St. Martin's Day, children in Flanders, the southern and north-western parts of the Netherlands, and the Catholic areas of Germany and Austria still participate in paper lantern processions. Often, a man dressed as St. Martin rides on a horse in front of the procession. The children sing songs about St. Martin and about their lanterns. The food traditionally eaten on the day is goose, a rich bird. According to legend, Martin was reluctant to become bishop, which is why he hid in a stable filled with geese. The noise made by the geese betrayed his location to the people who were looking for him.
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 Patron Saints Index.
- 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.
In the Christian era the custom of celebrating a thanksgiving harvest festival began in the High Middle Ages. For lack of any definite liturgical day or ceremony prescribed by the Church, various practices came to be observed locally. In many places, as in Hungary, the Feast of the Assumption included great thanksgiving solemnities for the grain harvest. Delegates from all parts of the country came for the solemn procession to Budapest, carrying the best samples of their produce. A similar ceremony was observed in Poland, where harvest wreaths brought to Warsaw from all sections were bestowed on the president in a colorful pageant. These wreaths (wieniec), made up of the straw of the last sheaf (broda), were beautifully decorated with flowers, apples, nuts, and ribbons, and blessed in churches by the priests.
The most common, and almost universal, harvest and thanksgiving celebration in medieval times was held on the Feast of Saint Martin of Tours (Martinmas) on November 11. It was a holiday in Germany, France, Holland, England, and in central Europe. People first went to Mass and observed the rest of the day with games, dances, parades, and a festive dinner, the main feature of the meal being the traditional roast goose (Martin's goose). With the goose dinner they drank "Saint Martin's wine," which was the first lot of wine made from the grapes of the recent harvest. Martinmas was the festival commemorating filled barns and stocked larders, the actual Thanksgiving Day of the Middle Ages. Even today it is still kept in rural sections of Europe, and dinner on Martin's Day would be unthinkable without the golden-brown, luscious Martin's goose.
Today is Veterans Day let us remember to pray today for both our military and veterans. Also ask today's Holy Saint Martin of Tours to intercede for our military and veterans who have born the yoke of service to this nation.
Veterans Day seeks to honor and give thanks to all the men and women who have served and are serving in the US Armed Forces. Ceremonies are held across the country at Veterans Hospitals, cemeteries, and National Monuments. At 11:00 a.m. EST, the Veterans Day National Ceremony is held at Arlington National Cemetery. At this ceremony the President of the United States, or his assigned ambassador, places a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Veterans Day is observed on November 11th each year. Today is also the start of the Fasching season in Germany which begins on 11/11 at the 11th hour and at the 11th second.
Veterans Day Facts & Quotes
· In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued a proclamation urging the nation to support the Veterans Day effort in any way possible.
· During World War II, over 16 million men and women served in the military. The war resulted in over 400,000 deaths.
· The War of Global Terrorism, encompassing October 7, 2001 to May 29, 2012, has seen 54,820 casualties of which 6,456 resulted in death.
· This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave. - Elmer Davis
Veterans Day Top Events and Things to Do
· Volunteer at a local VA facility.
· Thank everyone you know who has served in the armed forces.
· Take flowers to the grave sites of deceased military personnel.
· Invite local veterans to a special luncheon in their honor.
· Make a donation of time or money to a local Veterans organization.
Remember we are all in a battle with the forces of evil that seek the destruction of ourselves and our prosperity
Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus
Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.