316 AD (Szombathely, Hungary) – 397 AD (Candes-Saint- Martin, France)
Saint Martin was born about 1700 years ago in the Great Roman Empire. He was the son of a soldier and wanted to follow in his dad’s footsteps. It must have been pretty cool to be a soldier back then, riding around on horseback in great armor and a fancy cloak!
But, there were many of poor people around at that time, just like there are today too. One day during winter, as Saint Martin was riding into a city, he noticed a poor man who was half-naked and shivering from the biting cold. When he saw him, he immediately stopped, took out his sword, cut his military cloak in two and gave half of it to the poor man so he could cover himself.
Later that night, Saint Martin dreamt of Jesus wearing his half-cloak. He remembered that he read the words of Jesus in the Bible that said “I was naked and you gave me clothes, I was hungry and you gave me food …” So, he realized that he wanted to become a “soldier of Jesus” and not one who goes and fights in wars. In fact, he refused to fight in a battle and told his commander that he’ll walk in front of the rest of the army without any weapons!
Can you imagine a soldier refusing to fight in a war? They must have thought he was out of his mind, but for Martin it was clear: in every person there is Jesus, from the poor man who was freezing in the cold, to the enemy soldiers. Can you think of any examples of meeting Jesus in others? Every time you are with your friends, parents, schoolmates, teachers and you listen to them, look out for them or cheer them up, you become better friends with Him! Saint Martin too wanted the same, so he left the army and became a monk and later a Bishop in France, a great “soldier of Jesus”!
“Lord, I will do the work you entrust to me. While you command, I will fight beneath your banner.”