Vigils Reading – St Martin of Tours

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Vigils Reading – St Martin of Tours

November 11, 2022



A Reading About St. Martin of Tours,

from a letter of St. Pope John 23rd.[1]


If St. Martin was a bishop and a zealous pastor who can well be imitated in the practice of charity, he was also and first of all a monk. You might even say that the only reason he was such a marvelous man of action was that he was first of all a man of prayer. And from this point of view too, he has a great lesson to give to the Christians of today.

Eager for solitude and union with God, this giant of the apostolate lived in constant prayer: “he never turned his mind away from prayer,” according to the expression -later picked up by the liturgy- of his contemporary and first biographer Sulpicius Severus, who adds that once he was elevated to the episcopacy, the servant of God “remained what he had been before and bore the dignity of bishop without abandoning the design of life and the virtue of a monk.”[2]

Was not his principal means of evangelization to found churches and monasteries everywhere?…And thus it was that, thanks to him, monasticism was introduced into France.

Throwing light on this side of the activity of the great convert-maker is a way of reminding us of the immense benefits that the monks brought to their country; it is a way of drawing their attention, which is so easily distracted at the present time by the agitated pace of modern life, back to the lasting greatness and beauties of monastic life; it is a way of inviting them to hold this form of life, and, in general, the grace of a religious vocation, high in their esteem…

The example of St. Martin, which has been confirmed by the experience of centuries, shows what invaluable instruments for spiritual elevation cloisters are in Christian society and what an effective contribution they make to the apostolate of the Church….

May the great Bishop, model of the monk and the pastor, succeed in stirring up a new spirit of fervor for the service of God.

     [1]Letter to the Archbp. of Tours on the occasion of the French “Martin of Tours Year,” Dec. 10, 1960. Cf. Christian Readings II, p.312.

     [2]PL 20, 166.


November 11, 2022
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