Brave and Merciful

I know I’m off by a day, but is there a more appropriate saint for Veteran’s Day/Remembrance Day than the soldier St Martin of Tours, whose memory we also honoured yesterday?

He had no lack of bravery. When he wanted to get out of the army, he was called a coward, so he offered to stand unarmed in the front line, dependent upon Christ alone for protection. God chose to protect him by the invading army surrendering without a fight.

After he got out of the army, as he spent the first part of his ministry casting out devils, having been appointed an exorcist by St Hilary of Poitiers. He was also known for the power of the Holy Spirit working through him to perform many miracles.

These things are less known about about him than his compassion. He famously gave his cloak to a beggar outside Amiens while still a catechumen. However, throughout his life he cared for the poor – so much so that he is known as St Martin the Merciful.

St Martin was the mentor to one of my favourite saints, St Ninian, the first missionary to Scotland, who began his work there in the year St Martin died (397). St Ninian also had the gift of miracles and the demonstration of the power of God brought many to saving power of faith in Christ alone.

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