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LOCKDOWN-2 DAY 7 11-11-11


MARTIN was born (c.316) at Sabaria, a town in Pannonia, a part of the Roman Empire, in what is now Hungary. Against the wishes of his parents he associated with Christians and started to show interest in the Christian faith aged ten.

At this time Christianity was now “the state religion”, so it was safe for him to be a follower of Christ. At fifteen he entered the army and, as a Christian and a soldier, served under the Emperors Constantine and Julian.

He was posted to Gaul, and whilst on duty he met a poor, naked beggar at the gates of Amiens who asked alms in Christ's Name. Martin had nothing with him except his weapons and soldier's cloak; so he took his sword, cut the latter in two, and gave half to the poor man. During the following night Christ appeared to him dressed in half a cloak and said, "Martin the Catechumen has clothed Me with this cloak!".

Martin was baptised when eighteen years old, and remained in the Roman Army for two years more. However he found the two rôles conflicted, and when he requested release from his commission, he was accused of cowardice. "With the sign of the Cross," Martin answered, "I shall more certainly break through the ranks of the enemy than if armed with shield and sword."

Under the influence of Bishop Hilary, he founded a monastery in Poitiers diocese in the year 360, the first such foundation in Gaul. The religious house became a centre for missionary work in the local countryside, setting a new example where, previously, all Christian activity had been centred in cities and undertaken from the cathedral. In 372, Martin was elected Bishop of Tours by popular acclaim and he continued his monastic lifestyle as a bishop, remaining in that ministry until his death on the eleventh of November 397.

God, shepherd of your people,

whose servant Martin revealed the loving service of Christ

in his ministry as a pastor of your people: awaken within us the love of Christ,

and keep us faithful to our Christian calling;

through him who laid down his life for us,

but is alive and reigns with you, now and for ever. Amen.


Teach us, good Lord, to serve you as you deserve;

to give and not to count the cost;

to fight and not to heed the wounds;

to toil and not to seek for rest;

to labour and not to ask for any reward,

save that of knowing that we do your will. Ignatius of Loyola (1556)

MATTHEW 25. 34-40 :

"Come, you that are blessed by my Father,

inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;

for I was hungry and you gave me food,

I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,

I was a stranger and you welcomed me,

I was naked and you gave me clothing,

I was sick and you took care of me,

I was in prison and you visited me.

Truly I tell you, just as you did it

to one of the least of these

who are members of my family,

you did it to me."

God, shepherd of your people,

whose servant Martin revealed the loving service of Christ

in his ministry as a pastor of your people: awaken within us the love of Christ,

and keep us faithful to our Christian calling;

through him who laid down his life for us,

but is alive and reigns with you, now and for ever. Amen.




There is a sad irony in the fact that Armistice Day coincides with the feast of St Martin of Tours, the young soldier, not yet baptised, who responded to the need of another and found, as we all do, that it was Christ he was serving. And at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month we recall the Armistice and the end of ‘the war to end all wars’, which did nothing of the sort, and only showed us how much death and destruction seemingly civilised nations can wreak upon one another. Is there any way of making sense of this?

We could, of course, reflect on the fact that poverty kills more people than war does. We could go and look at paintings of St Martin using his sword to divide his cloak and be struck by how much they tell us about the social attitudes of the painter — the saint is almost invariably depicted on horseback, condescending to the poor man rather than standing side by side with him — and examine our own attitudes to charitable giving. We could go and read accounts of war in Europe and its aftermath and be sobered by our apparent inability to see further than our own noses at times. All these would be useful but I doubt whether they would help us understand something I think St Martin understood, and that we need to understand if we are not to repeat the unlearned lessons of the past.

It means seeing people clearly as people, not as abstractions, symbols of something else. When Martin looked into the eyes of the poor man, he saw his brother, not an object of compassion. I think that is what we all have to learn to do. I dare to say if we could all learn to do that, Armistice Day would have attained its purpose and we would all live more happily as a result.

11 November, 2017 by Digitalnun


It is commonly accepted that the one of the casualties of the First World War was belief in God. By the second year of the war, the British public was growing to resent Church of England clergy who supported the war and encouraged others to enlist while they remained safe in their pulpits. The Bishop of London, Arthur Winnington-Ingram, was one of the most enthusiastic war promoters, and his hatred of Germany was so vociferous that even Prime Minister Asquith described the bishop’s rhetoric as “jingoism of the shallowest kind.”

GEOFFREY STUDDERT KENNEDY was one of the loved and respected chaplains of the war, known to the troops as Woodbine Willy for his habit of offering cigarettes to the men in his care. Serving in France from December of 1915 until 1919, Studdert Kennedy was also a war poet. His writings frequently grapple with doubts and questions as he attempts to distinguish between clichés of faith and an authentic spirituality. As the war dragged on, it became increasingly difficult to see the presence of a loving God in the relentless suffering and death. But unlike other war poets who criticized and dismissed the Christian faith as an empty sham, Studdert Kennedy, like Jacob, wrestled with his God for answers that could stand up under harsh scrutiny.

His poem “Solomon in All His Glory” alludes to the brevity of human life, while affirming the dignity and beauty of each individual’s sacrifice that breaks the heart of God.

Solomon in All His Glory Still I see them coming, coming, In their ragged broken line, Walking wounded in the sunlight,

Clothed in majesty divine. For the fairest of the lilies, That God's summer ever sees, Ne'er was clothed in royal beauty Such as decks the least of these. Tattered, torn, and bloody khaki, Gleams of white flesh in the sun, Raiment worthy of their beauty, And the great things they have done. Purple robes and snowy linen Have for earthly kings sufficed, But these bloody sweaty tatters Were the robes of Jesus Christ.

GA Studdert Kennedy


Lead us from death to life,

from falsehood to truth.

Lead us from despair to hope,

from fear to trust.

Lead us from hate to love,

from war to peace.

Let peace fill our hearts,

our world,

our universe. Satish Kumar

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