Mike Aquilina

Party for Marty

Saturday November 11th 2006, 3:01 am

Today’s the feast of St. Martin of Tours, one of the most beloved characters of late antiquity. He’s near to my heart because his image, in living color, dominates the doorway of my favorite Pittsburgh-area Mexican restaurant (Mendoza’s, if you must know).

As I mentioned day before yesterday, you should spend some time listening to the life of St. Martin by Sulpitius Severus (recorded by the the Divine Miss M, Maria Lectrix). You’ll learn that Martin was born into a pagan family and named after Mars, the god of war. As a young child, he was drawn to Christianity, and he enrolled himself as a catechumen. He delayed baptism, though, as was common in the fourth century; and he became a high-ranking military officer, like his father before him.

Do listen, but don’t just listen to his life. There’s also good readable material on the Web. Take a gander at Catholic Community Forum, whence I swiped the lovely image below, and Wikipedia, whence I swiped the following story:

While Martin was still a soldier at Amiens he experienced the vision that became the most-repeated story about his life. He was at the gates of the city of Amiens with his soldiers when he met a scantily dressed beggar. He impulsively cut his own military cloak in half and shared it with the beggar. That night he dreamed of Jesus wearing the half-cloak Martin had given away. He heard Jesus say to the angels: “Here is Martin, the Roman soldier who is not baptised; he has clad me.”

You can read the story, book length, in Martin of Tours: Soldier, Bishop, Saint and in Early Christian Lives (Penguin Classics).

stm07015.jpgOh, and this is the unforgettable image I see whenever I take the family out for fajitas.

St. Martin, pray for us today! Win us the grace to see Christ wherever He begs our attention.