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Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of St. Martin of Tours, Patron Saint of Beggars & Soldiers

St Martin of ToursSt. Martin of Tours (316-397) Image: St. Paul Street Evangelization

(EWTN) Saint Martin called ‘The Glory of Gaul’ was born in Hungary Savaria to Pagan parents. Martin’s father was an Officer in the Roman Army who had risen up through the ranks. While Martin was still a child, his father was transferred to a new duty station in Italy Pavia, here Martin learned about Christianity, feeling drawn to it he became a convert to Christianity.

As the son of a Veteran, at the age of 15 Martin was obligated to begin service in the Army, though never shirking his military duty, he is said to have lived more like a Monk than a Soldier. Martin was stationed in Gaul (European region today known as the areas of France, Belgium and Southern Netherlands) when the incident occurred which tradition and art work have rendered him famous.

As Martin rode toward the town of Amiens one Winter’s day, he noticed near the gates a poor man, thinly clothed, shivering in the cold and begging for charity. Martin saw that none who had passed this Beggar had stopped to help him. While Martin had nothing with him but the clothes he wore to help the miserable Beggar, Martin drew the sword from his scabbard, cutting his woolen cloak into two pieces, giving one half to the Beggar and he wrapped the other half around himself.

The following night the story continues, Martin in his sleep, saw Jesus Christ surrounded by Angels and dressed in the half of the cloak that he had given away to the Beggar. A voice would bid Martin to look at it well and say whether he recognized it? Martin then heard Jesus say to His Angels: “Martin as yet only a Catechumen has covered me with his cloak.”

Martin’s friend and biographer Sulpicius Severus said, that as a consequence of this vision, Martin “flew to be Baptized.”

At the age of 23 Martin would refuse a ‘War Bonus’ according to Franciscan Media and told the Emperor Juilan his Commander-in-Chief: “I have served you as a Soldier, now let me serve Christ. Give the bounty to those who are going to fight but I am a Soldier of Christ and it is not lawful for me to fight.”

Julian was angered and accused Martin of cowardice according to EWTN however Martin told Juilan that he was ready to go into battle the next day, unarmed and would advance alone against the enemy in the name of Christ — Julian had him taken off to prison but discharged Martin soon after a truce had been made.

Subsequent to Martin’s discharge from the Army, he would depart to be a disciple of St. Hilary Bishop of Poitiers (Feast Day: 13 January) Bishop Hilary gladly received Martin and Ordained him a Deacon.

Martin would work with great zeal against the Arians according to Franciscan Media and subsequently became a Monk, living first at Milan and later on a small island of Gallinara — When Bishop Hilary was restored to his See after being exiled, Martin went to France and established what may have been the first Monastery, living there for 10 years, forming his disciples and ministering throughout the countryside.

The people of France Tours would demand that Martin become their Bishop–he had been drawn to the City of Tours as a ruse, to minister to the needs of a sick person and was brought to the Church where he reluctantly allowed himself to be consecrated Bishop. Some of the consecrating Bishops thought his rumpled appearance and unkempt hair indicated that he was not dignified enough for the office.

Along with Saint Ambrose (Feast Day: 07 December) Bishop Martin rejected Bishop Ithacius’ principle of putting heretics to death, as well as the intrusion of the Emperor into such matters. — Bishop Martin prevailed upon the Emperor to spare the life of the heretic Priscillian for his efforts, Bishop Martin was then accused of the same heresy and Priscillian was executed. Bishop Martin subsequently would plead for the cessation of the persecution of Priscillian’s followers.

Bishop Martin passed away on the 08 November, 397 in France Candes and three days later was buried at Tours–Some 2,000 Monks and Nuns attended his funeral. Bishop Martin’s successor would build a Chapel over his grave which was later replaced by a fine Basilica.

More here from American Catholic and here from SQPN

An Inspiration Of Time With God For Today

Praying Together“The Family That Prays Together Stays Together.” -Fr. Patrick Peyton Image Courtesy: Sister Veronica Paul

Be alert at all times, praying that you may
have the strength–to stand before the Son of Man. –Luke 21:36

Related: For Today’s Bible Readings and More Visit: -USCCB

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Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of Pope Saint Leo the Great

St Leo the GreatPope Saint Leo the Great (400-461)
Image: St. Paul Street Evangelization

(CNA) Born in Italy Tuscany into nobility, Pope Leo I was a strong student especially in Scripture and theology according to SQPN together with being an eloquent writer and minister. — Pope from 440 to 461 during the time of the invasion of Attila the Hun (406-453) he was met by Pope Leo I in 452 when approaching Rome and was dissuaded from attacking the city.

Pope Saint Leo I known as “St. Leo the Great, as the nickname soon attributed to him by tradition tradition suggests,” said Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in 2008 “he was truly one of the greatest Pontiff’s to have honored the Roman See and made a very important contribution to strengthening its authority and prestige.”

Little is known of Pope Leo I youthful days, he became a Deacon in Rome in approximately 430 during the Pontificate of Celestine I, which during this time, central authority was beginning to decline in the Western portion of the Roman Empire. At some point between 432 and 440 during the reign of Pope Celestine I successor Pope Sixtus III, the Roman Emperor Valentinian III commissioned Leo to travel to the region of Gaul (modern day France, Belgium and the Netherlands) and settle a dispute between military and civil authorities.

Pope St Sixtus III died in 440 and like his successor Pope St Celestine I Leo was away on a diplomatic mission at the time of Celestine I death and was chosen to be Bishop of Rome.

Pope Leo the Great, reigned for over two decades, he sough to preserve the unity of the Church in its profession of faith and to ensure the safety of citizens against frequent barbarian invasions. — Pope Leo would use his authority in both doctrinal and disciplinary matters against a number of heresies troubling the Western Church including Pelagianism (involving the denial of original sin) and Manichaeism (a Gnostic system that saw matter as evil) during this same period, many Eastern Christians began arguing about the relationship between Jesus’ humanity and His divinity.

As early as 445 Pope Leo had intervened in this dispute in the East, which had threatened to split the Churches of Alexandria and Constantinople–Its eventual resolution was in-fact rejected in some quarters, leading to a split between Eastern Orthodoxy and non-Chalcedonian Churches.

As the 5th century Christological controversy continued, Pope Leo urged the gathering of an Ecumenical Council to resolve the matter. At the Council of Chalcedon in 451 Pope Leo’s teaching was received as authoritative to the Eastern Bishops which proclaimed: “Peter has spoken through the mouth of Pope Leo.”

Pope Leo’s teaching confirmed that Christ’s eternal divine personhood and nature did not absorb or negate the human nature that He assumed in time through the Incarnation. Instead “the proper character of both natures was maintained and came together in a single person. So without leaving His Father’s glory behind, the Son of God, comes down from His heavenly throne and enters the depths of our world, Pope Leo taught. “Whilst remaining pre-existent, He begins to exist in time. The Lord of the universe veiled his measureless and took on a Servant’s form. The God who knew no suffering, did not despise becoming a suffering man and deathless as He is, to be subjected to the laws of death.”

One year after the Council of Chalcedon in 452 Pope Leo would lead a delegation which successfully negotiated with King Attila preventing the invasion of Rome. — When the Vandals leader Genseric occupied Rome in 455 Pope Leo, implored him to abstain from murder and destruction by fire, being satisfied only with pillage.

Pope Saint Leo the Great passed away on this date in 461 and was proclaimed a ‘Doctor of the Church’ in 1754 by Pope Benedict XIV

More here from American Catholic

Today Christians Commemorate the Dedication of St. John Lateran Basilica at Rome

Interior of the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome
Image Courtesy: Indianapolis Museum of Art

(Franciscan Media) Many people think of St. Peter’s Basilica as the Pope’s main Church but they are wrong. St. John Lateran is the Pope’s Church, the Cathedral of the Diocese of Italy Rome, where the Bishop of Rome presides.

The first Basilica on the site was built in the 4th century when Constantine donated he had received from the wealthy ‘Lateran Family’ however that structure and its successors were damaged by fire, earthquake and the ravages of war but the ‘Lateran’ remained the Church where Pope’s were consecrated until the Pope’s returned from France Avignon, in the 14th century to find the Church and adjoining palace in ruins.

Pope Innocent X commissioned the present structure in 1646 — One of Rome’s most imposing Churches the ‘Lateran’ towering facade is crowned with 15 colossal  statutes of Jesus Christ, John the Baptist, John the Evangelist, together with 12 Doctors of the Church. — Beneath its high altar rests the remains of the small wooden table on which tradition holds, Pope Saint Peter himself celebrated Mass.

More here from American Catholic

Related: Feast of the Dedication of St. Mary Major Basilica in Rome

Today Christians Commemorate Feast of the ‘Four Crowned Martyrs’ for Jesus Christ

Four Crowned MartyrsThe ‘Four Crowned Martyrs’ at Museum of Orsanmichele Italy, Florence
Image Courtesy: National Galley of Art, Washington DC

(uCatholic) St Castorus, St Claudius, St Nicostratus and St Simpronian, were tortured and martyred for Christ during the reign and persecutions of Emperor Diocletian (from 284-305)

According to history, the ‘Four Crowned Martyrs’ were skilled stone carvers. Emperor Diocletian was so impressed with their work that he commissioned them to do several carvings which they did to his satisfaction but when they refused to carve a statute to the Roman god ‘Aesculapius’ because they were Christians they were imprisoned and subsequently executed by being drowned according to SQPN in 305

More here from EWTN

Related: Alternative Feast Day of Blessed John Duns Scotus –Franciscan Media

Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Ernest of Mecca, Martyr for Jesus Christ

St ErnestSt Ernest of Mecca  -Image Courtesy: St. Paul Street Evangelization

(Catholic Online) Born in Germany, Ernest was a Benedictine Monk then Abbot of the Benedictine Abbey of Germany Zwiefalten during the 12th century.

Ernest would go and minister in Arabia and Persia (present day Islamic Fascist Iran) during the the Second Crusade fought between Christians and the Moors (Muslims) 1145 to 1149 where he was captured and tortured to death in Mecca.

More here from SQPN

Related: Today’s Alternative Feast Day: Saint Didacus

Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. San Diego de Alcala de Henares (St. Didacus)

St Didacus

St. Didacus (1400-1463)
Image: Univ of San Diego

(Franciscan Media) San Diego de Alcala de Henares (St. Didacus) was born in Spain Seville, his family were poor but God fearing according to Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala— While still quite young Didacus, joined the Third Order of St. Francis when he had scarcely reached young manhood and under the direction of a devout Tritiary Priest, he would serve God for a long period of time as a Hermit developing a reputation for great insight into God’s ways.

Didacus penances were heroic and he became so generous to the poor that the Friars sometimes grew uneasy about his charity. Didacus would volunteer for the Missions on the Canary Islands, laboring there energetically and profitably–while there, he became the Superior of a Friary.

In 1450 Franciscan Didacus was sent to Rome to attend the Canonization of Saint Bernardine of Siena (Feast Day: 20 May) when many Friars that had gathered there for the celebration fell sick, Didacus stayed caring for them for 3 months. Following Didacus return to Spain, he pursued a contemplative life full time, showing the Friars the wisdom of the ways of God.

When Didacus felt the end of his life was nearing, he requested an old worn-out habit, so that he may die in it, as the true son of the poor St. Francis. Before breathing his last, Didacus looked at a Crucifix and said:

“O faithful wood, O precious nails. You have borne an exceedingly sweet burden, for you have been judged worthy to bear the Lord and King of Heaven.”

Didacus passed away in November 1463 at the Franciscan Monastery in Spain Alcala holding a Crucifix to his heart. — Didacus was Canonized in 1588 by Pope Sixtus V

St. Didacus (St. San Diego de Alcala de Henares) is the Patron Saint for both the City and University of San Diego, California

More here from American Catholic

Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Leonard of Noblac, Patron Saint of Incarcerated Persons

St LeonardSt. Peter together with St. Martha, St. Mary Magdalene & St. Leonard Artwork by: Antonio da Correggio

(CNA) St. Leonard was a French nobleman of great reputation in the Court of Clovis I according to EWTN and in the “flower of his age” converted Christianity together with many thousands of others according to SQPN through the witness of Archbishop Saint Regimius subsequent to the victorious Battle of Tolbiac in 496

Following Leonard’s conversion to Christianity, he began a life of ministry and austerity dedicated to God–with his earnest desire to know God better, Leonard decided to enter the Monastery at Orleans, where Saint Mesmin governed according to EWTN that had been founded by his uncle Saint Euspicius in 508 — In this house, Leonard took the religious habit, subsequently his brother Saint Lifiard would follow Leonard’s example according to SQPN leaving the King’s Court, building a Monastery at Meun and living there.

Leonard further desiring a life of solitude and prayer, with drew into the forest at Limousin, converting many along on the way, he would sustain himself on herbs, wild fruits and spring water. Subsequently, Leonard would build an Oratory, leaving it only for journeys to Churches.

People would soon recognize Leonard’s holiness and would beg to live with him at a Monastery that he would subsequently form around his Oratory. — Leonard possessed great compassion for imprisoned prisons and would convert many of them to Christianity and obtained their release.

In 559 Leonard passed away, following his death, many Churches were dedicated to him in France, England, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Bohemia, Poland and other countries. Pilgrims would flock to Leonard’s tomb. — In one small village in Bavaria, there are records of 4,000 prayers granted through Saint Leonard’s intercession.

More here from Catholic Online and here from uCatholic

Related: Alternative Saint of the Day: St Nicholas Tavelic & Companions -Franciscan Media

Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of Saint Zechariah & Saint Elizabeth

St Zechariah and St ElizabethSt. Zechariah & St. Elizabeth –Image: St. Paul Street Evangelization

(SQPN) St. Zechariah was a Jewish Priest in Jerusalem and married to St. Elizabeth, they were the parents of St.John the Baptist (more here on the Solemnity of John the Baptist birth and here on his Martyrdom)

During Zechariah’s latter years he was visited in the Temple by the Angel Gabriel who Foretold the Birth of John the Baptist See: Luke 1:5-24 to Zechariah for he and his wife Elizabeth:

“Both of them being righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord but they had no children because Elizabeth was barren and they were both getting on in years.” See: Luke 1:6-7 — God heard their prayers and would bless them with a son which they would name him John, and they “will have joy and gladness and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.” See: Luke 1:13-15

Saint Elizabeth’s name which has been borne by several Saint’s according to uCatholic means in Hebrew ‘Worshiper of God’ was the descendant of Aaron the Patriarch brother of Moses and high Priest of the Torah.

More here on Saint Aaron the Patriarch