Friday, June 18, 2010

Peace Activist of the Week- St. Martin de Tours

Martin de Tours (316-397) is the patron saint of soldiers. He was also the Bishop of Tours. Martin's life started out with a fervor for the new faith of Christianity. Against his family's wishes, he became a catechumen at age ten. By the time he was fifteen, he was required to join the cavalry because he was the son of a veteran officer. He was still unbaptized. Martin felt a call to be a monk and was held in chains until he took the military oath. He was put in a ceremonious unit so he never had to fight. Martin lived the life of compassion aiding a clearly cold peasant by giving him half his tunic. He had a dream with Jesus saying, "See this it the mantle that Martin, a catechumen gave me." With that statement on his mind, Martin was baptized at age 18. He continued to serve in the military for two more years. Seeing money being distributed just before battle, Martin declared, "Put me in the front of the army, without weapons or armor; but I will not draw sword again. I am become the soldier of Christ." Thinking him a coward, he was jailed. His superior decided to take him up on his offer but the battle never was fought. He ended up being released from the military.

He spent the rest of his life trying to lead a life of humility. He unwillingly became a Bishop. He also converted many people to the faith through his many miraculous acts. His biographer, Sulpicious Severus, was so impressed by him so that's why he became his biographer. He is one of the few early Christian saints that we know a great deal about for that reason.

Because St. Martin de Tours became a solider for Christ unwilling to kill, I honor him by making him my peace activist of the week.