Wednesday, November 11, 2009

St. Martin, 11 November 2009

Today is the feast day of St. Martin of Tours.

I was sponsored for ordination by the people and clergy of St. Martin in the Fields Episcopal Church in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia.  I feel a special connection to St. Martin, and I find his story compelling.  Martin was a former soldier in France in 397 c.e. and when he was confronted by a beggar in need, Martin ripped half of his cloak and gave a half to the man in need.  He was extremely generous, and surely half of his cloak did a lot of good for this man in need, and it is an interesting model of stewardship - very generous giving paired with some level of responsibility for oneself.  Should he have given the whole cloak away?  Should he have traded places with the beggar and given him the horse as well?  I don't know.  What I do know is that it can be very difficult to give away even 10% of one's income.  Martin embodies radical giving, along with the real-world sense that we can't all do as St. Francis did, and give it all away.  All that we have is from God, and we strive and work to live and to give a significant portion back to God's people in need.  Martin gives away more than most of us are able, but his story may compels to give more - and also to not feel guilty if we also have practice prudent stewardship of what we retain.

May we remember Martin, and do our part to live up to his example!

"they were all of them saints of God and I mean, god help me to be one too"

~The Rev. Peter M. Carey

Lord God of hosts, you clothed your servant Martin the soldier with the spirit of sacrifice, and set him as a bishop in your Church to be a defender of the catholic faith: Give us grace to follow in his holy steps, that at the last we may be found clothed with righteousness in the dwellings of peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

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