I just read a little bit of the history of Veterans Day: On November 11, the truce (or ‘armistice’) to end World War I was signed. Many of the allied nations began to celebrate Armistice Day. In the United States it was later renamed Veterans Day, in Canada, Australia and the UK, it’s Remembrance Day and in France, New Zealand and some other countries, November 11 is Armistice Day.
So today we remember all the veterans of war… And since it is the month dedicated to the souls in purgatory, we should pray for the souls of those veterans who have died.
Today also happens to be the Feast of St. Martin of Tours– patron saint of soldiers! He was born of pagan parents (hence the name Martin after Mars–god of war) in about 316 AD. His father was a Roman military officer and his mother eventually converted to Christianity. Martin discovered Christianity in his youth, became a catechumen and subsequently received baptism.
A soldier in the army, Martin had a miraculous encounter when his regiment was in Gaul. It was a cold day and a poor beggar was shivering outside…Martin was so moved upon seeing him that he cut part of his cloak off with his sword and clothed the man with it. Later in a dream, Christ appeared before Martin with the piece of cloth!
St. Martin of Tours became a spiritual soldier for Christ after he was freed from military service. He established a monastery and battled against the darkness of paganism in rural Gaul by preaching the Gospel. Noted for his zeal in this combat, Martin was acclaimed Bishop of Tours in 371. To read more about St. Martin click here. We have so many Saints to look up to in this Church Militant!
Interestingly, the legendary General George S. Patton was born on the feast of St. Martin of Tours. I just saw the movie Patton in case anyone was wondering about this post’s title. Military concepts can easily be applied to the spiritual life, at least i think so.
I think I’ll end now with a prayer to continue fighting for God and another one for soldiers:
Prayer to Continue to Fight for God
Lord, if your people still have need of my services, I will not avoid the toil. Your will be done. I have fought the good fight long enough. Yet if you bid me continue to hold the battle line in defense of your camp, I will never beg to be excused from failing strength. I will do the work you entrust to me. While you command, I will fight beneath your banner.
For our soldiers
St. Martin, you were first a soldier like your father. Converted to the Church, you became a soldier of Christ, a priest and then a Bishop of Tours. Lover of the poor, and model for pagans and Christians alike, protect our soldiers at all times. Make them strong, just, and charitable, always aiming at establishing peace on earth. Amen.