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St. Martin of Tours and the Search for Holiness
InsightScroop.com ^ | 11-2012 | Régine Pernoud

Posted on 11/11/2012 5:11:18 PM PST by Salvation

St. Martin of Tours and the Search for Holiness



Saint Martin and the Search for Holiness | Régine Pernoud | Prologue to Martin of Tours

November 11 is now a red-letter day on the French civil calendar: in 1918 that date marked the end of the slaughter that was the First World War. But even before France was called France, that date, the eleventh of November, had been a date on the calendar used throughout Christendom because it commemorated the burial at Tours of the amazing individual whom we call Saint Martin.

He was an amazing and even a paradoxical man: he never accomplished what he had hoped to do, and yet his accomplishments surpassed all possible expectations. To begin with, this man, who had always tried to go unnoticed, enjoyed extraordinary popularity. He wanted to be a hermit, to flee the world and devote himself to ascetical practices; instead he was constantly surrounded by people, during his lifetime and after his death: the pilgrimage shrine of Saint Martin in Tours was once the most important after the three great pilgrimage sites of Christianity, Jerusalem, Rome, and, later on, Saint James of Compostela. He is remembered as a soldier, and indeed he was one, albeit entirely against his will. He had refused to be ordained a priest, considering himself unworthy, and yet he became a bishop. He had fled the world and sought a life of seclusion, but instead his biography was written while he was still living!

Thanks to those who discerned the extraordinary qualities in this rather reticent, unassuming man who resolutely practiced poverty, we know the story of his life. It spans the fourth century, in which the Church became free at last to live above ground, only to be torn by dissension so widespread that it almost brought her to ruin.

There are not many individuals whose biographies were written during the fourth century, especially during their lifetime. This was the case, however, with Martin of Tours, thanks to his friend Sulpicius Severus, who survived him long enough to record for us also the story of his death. And so we have the unusual good fortune of possessing a contemporary document to tell us about a man who, throughout his life, sought only to live among his peers, in obscurity.

In Search of Holiness

Sulpicius Severus was handsome, young, and rich. He lived in Bordeaux, a particularly prosperous town in the fourth century, where he received an outstanding education; he practiced law there and excelled in his profession because of his great eloquence. His family belonged to that Gallo-Roman aristocracy which enjoyed the favor of the Roman emperors because their power depended upon it. Thus, in the region that would later be called Aquitaine, there were several families that owned enormous estates and a large number of slaves and were extremely wealthy. The province was crossed by navigable waterways, which guaranteed abundant commerce. Bordeaux at that time had the reputation of being an "intellectual" city; like Toulouse, it had quite a number of citizens who had conformed completely to the customs and tastes characteristic of the Roman Empire. In the region surrounding Toulouse archeologists have found as many busts and sculptures from the imperial era as they have in the vicinity of Rome–artwork intended to ornament the villas where these opulent families lived.

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TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History; Theology
KEYWORDS: catholic; saints
Looks like a good read.
1 posted on 11/11/2012 5:11:27 PM PST by Salvation
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To: nickcarraway; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; ArrogantBustard; Catholicguy; RobbyS; marshmallow; ...

Saint of the Day Ping!


2 posted on 11/11/2012 5:13:36 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
St. Martin of Tours and the Search for Holiness
Becoming Generous Givers: St. Martin of Tours shows us how [Catholic Caucus]
ST. MARTIN OF TOURS
Saint Martin of Tours Bishop, Confessor 316-400 [Patron of Soldiers]
3 posted on 11/11/2012 5:15:42 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
There are others buried at the site ~ many from the 15th century ~ which is the age of Joanne d'Arc.

I've been using his burial site as a reference in my studies of France through the 13th to the 19th century.

This is definitely one of the fellows to read about ~ in depth.

4 posted on 11/11/2012 5:16:36 PM PST by muawiyah
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To: Salvation

My own patron saint, whose name I took when I converted. :-) I have been to Tours. His bones rest in the crypt, there. I was reduced to tears.


5 posted on 11/11/2012 5:20:42 PM PST by MrChips (MrChips)
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To: muawiyah; MrChips

St. Martin of Tours is definitely and inspiring person. It seems that France really loved him.

The story of him cutting his soldier’s cloak in two and giving it to a beggar is awesome. Especially when in the dream he had that night the beggar appeared as Christ wearing half of Martin’s cloak!


6 posted on 11/11/2012 5:28:50 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

Oops

definitely an


7 posted on 11/11/2012 5:29:52 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: muawiyah; Salvation
a number of things are interesting about St. Martin:
1. He was a patrician's son who converted when it wasn't cool to do so -- the conflicting religions of Mazdaism was the "in-thing" in the army
2. He was born in what is now Hungary

3. His sanctuary in France which was nearly 1500 years old at the time of the French revolution was used as a stable and in 1802 two streets were opened on the site to ensure it would not be rebuilt. Yet it came back like a phoenix.

8 posted on 11/12/2012 12:08:40 AM PST by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: Cronos
That sort of thing ~ even the guy's name on a local chapel seems to attract similar events.

Which makes his name a good guidepost to French thought in the background of events.

9 posted on 11/12/2012 4:15:20 AM PST by muawiyah
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