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On St. Martin’s Day

13 February 2010

Struck by thy marvels of humility and compassion
I wonder at my weak faith, dishonored and ill-fashioned,
Would I dare half my own clothing to share
With a poor beggar at the city gate, already near
Naked and poor myself? Or would I, like the city-dwellers, scoff
At thy marvelous display of holiness, and come off
Like the wretch that I am? Thy charity
And purity are humbling to me,
and so I ask, on bended knee,
Holy Martin the Merciful, pray for me.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. 13 February 2010 11:52

    It is a question, isn’t it, and a choice to be made. I like the twists and turns this take.

    • 13 February 2010 14:08

      Thanks, Glynn! Indeed, it is, in some ways, THE question. St. Martin is a model for us all.

  2. 13 February 2010 12:17

    A wonderful piece to make us think. .. I was particularly struck by “Would I dare half my own clothing to share/with a poor beggar at the city gate, already near/naked and poor myself?”

    How often we look at our own circumstances and see how “little” we have and use that to justify choices we make in our own charity…

    Well done…

    • 13 February 2010 14:12

      Eric–thanks for stopping by, and for the compliment!

      Yes, real poverty is a spiritual condition, characterized by greedily holding on to what you have and not sharing (no matter what one’s material means may be). And, if you’re familiar with the story of St. Martin, the point was emphasized that he had clothed Christ (in that he had done as much to ‘the least of these’), and what’s more, he had accomplished this display of virtue while still a catechumen–that is, before his baptism and ‘official’ reception into the Christian Church. Truly, he is an inspiration to us.

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