Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Martin of Tours and the Veiled Temple

Today’s saint, Martin of Tours, saw the Man behind the curtain, and it changed his life forever.
He lived and breathed, sweat and struggled on this earth in the 4th century. He was born in Hungary but was raised in Italy, forced into military service at the age of 15. He became a Christian and was baptized at 18. Martin was known to be more of a monk than a soldier. At the age of 23, he made his great leap of faith, refusing a war bonus and making this request of his captain: "I have served you as a soldier; now let me serve Christ.” Newly welcomed into the faith, he saw a beggar on the outskirts of the city. Still in his military garb, moved to compassion, he took out his sword and cut his cloak in two pieces, covering the poor man and, to the scorn of onlookers, awkwardly covering himself in the cold with the other half. That night he had a dream. A man appeared to Martin, clothed with the garment he had torn in two. It was Christ himself. After all of these centuries, the disguise of Jesus remains the same – and the saints can see through it. Like a veil covering the Holy of Holies, Jesus walks among us in the broken, the neglected, the forgotten, the uneducated, the awkward. What will we do before this beautiful face? Turn away, walk to the other side of the street, change the conversation? Or shall we let our prejudices, rash judgments, and fears be torn in half, like the Temple Veil, and reveal Jesus to the world?
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