Happy Feast of St. Martin of Tours!
St. Martin was a fourth-century convert, a successful Roman soldier who left his career behind and became a very holy bishop, known for his great faith, tireless work for his people, and his ability to work miracles. My dear mother-in-law, who was born and raised in Germany, said this was always a happy day for German children. A man dressed as a Roman soldier with a red cloak rode a horse through her town and brought candy to the excited and waiting children. How I wish I could have been part of this, growing up as she did in a Catholic culture! Somewhere I recently read that this feast is Europe’s equivalent of a Thanksgiving Day. (They eat goose instead of Turkey, though–but it is somewhat unclear how geese got connected with St. Martin.) Because of this saint’s perennial popularity in Europe, there are many ideas and customs for celebrating this happy feast. Try this site for some great ideas.
St. Martin is the patron saint of bishops. Perhaps the most important thing you could do today is pray a special selection of prayers for your bishop. I GUARANTEE that he needs your prayers! Also, here in the U.S. our Council of Catholic Bishops begins its week of meetings that will culminate in elections of a president, vice-president, and other important officers for the next three years. I have been praying for the bishops for several days to Our Lady of America. If you live in the United States, praying some extra prayers this week for this intention would be a great thing to do!
Looking at the calendar, I am marveling that yesterday was the 32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time. The readings at Mass for the last few weeks have been about the last things—death, judgment, Heaven, and Hell—because this holy year is winding down and is almost over, and will culminate in two weeks on Christ the King Sunday. When the season of Advent begins in three weeks, a brand-new new Church Year will also begin! So it’s time now to start shopping for a book of Advent meditations—I ordered mine last Friday from Sophia Institute Press. And I did not just purchase an Advent book, but (many) others, too. (Hey–they have a flat-rate shipping offer going right now!)
I am so excited and can’t wait to get the shipment: inside will be Pope Awesome and Other Stories: How I Found God, Had Kids, and Lived to Tell the Tale by Cari Donaldson. It looks absolutely hilarious! For my husband I ordered a book about Jesuit missionaries and martyrs of North America. Also coming in the box are two books by a favorite author, French historian Henri Daniel-Rops, which explain the Old and New Testaments for children. I ordered the new book The Sign of the Cross by St. Francis de Sales, so that I can learn to value and appreciate this short prayer as I should. I just don’t know how I’m going to wait for these books to come!
Have a blessed Martinmas—and pray with me for the bishops: Sancte Martine, ora pro nobis!