Posts Tagged ‘Catholic’

St. Martin the Veteran

Wednesday, November 11th, 2020

Today is Veterans’ Day, instituted first as Armistice Day after WWI, then Veterans’ Day after WWII (although my mother occasionally still called it Armistice Day) as a tribute to veterans of both world wars. It’s also the Feast of Martinmas, which is less well known in this country, although having been raised Catholic I grew up familar with the story of Saint Martin of Tours. It seems somehow fitting that Veterans Day is celebrated on the festival of a former Roman soldier.

Martin was born in the 4th century in what later became Hungary but what was then Pannonia, a province of the Roman Empire. His father, an important officer in the Roman army, naturally expected his son to follow in his footsteps. Martin had been named for Mars, the god of war, presumably to encourage that military spirit. But apparently young Martin was an easy-going, sociable fellow, more curious about strangers, and generous with handouts, than aggressive toward them, so to get him into the army his father arranged for his kidnapping and forcible enlistment by his soldiers, hoping that Martin would grow accustomed to military life through daily exposure. I bet Dad didn’t get many loving letters from the front. Today this method of recruitment is frowned upon.

However, there was Martin, a soldier at last, obliged to serve the Emperor for three years, outfitted with a Roman uniform and a sword. Even in the army, Martin was open-handed, and his military salary usually found its way into the hands of the unfortunate. His unit was sent to Gaul, as part of an ongoing attempt to civilize the native barbarians. Civilization in Gaul was eventually attained at a level far beyond their wildest dreams, but that’s another story.

One winter day, the story goes, Martin arrived at the gates of Amiens, where he encountered a poor ragged beggar shivering by the side of the road. Martin had already given away all his extra clothing, but, taking pity on the beggar, Martin unsheathed his sword and cut his warm woolen (army-issue, uh-oh) cloak in half and wrapped one half around him.

That night, Martin dreamed that Jesus appeared to him wrapped in Martin’s half-cloak saying, “Martin has covered me with this garment.” This made him determined to leave the army permanently, at the end of his term. When he attempted it, however (inconveniently during a barbarian invasion), he was accused of cowardice, in response to which he offered to advance alone against the enemy. Instead he was imprisoned. Eventually he was released at the conclusion of an armistice, and was finally able to pursue his vocation, settling in Gaul, founding an order, living very simply and developing a reputation for feeding the hungry and healing the sick.

Over the years our homeschooling group celebrated Martinmas (sometimes in combination with Diwali, Festival of Light, which can occur at around the same time—this year it falls on the 14th) with storytelling, a night-time walk in the park carrying lanterns and singing songs about light, and afterward gathering to share dessert. Happy Martinmas! Happy Diwali! Happy Veterans Day, everyone!

(A re-post from an earlier year.)

Easter/April

Sunday, April 1st, 2018

Pretty sure God has a sense of humor.

Pauline

Giampaolo

 

Ring Out, Wild Bells

Sunday, December 25th, 2016

Wishing everyone a joyous, loving, and peaceful season. And, in that spirit, here is a poem by Tennyson for Christmas Day.

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Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, Ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, Ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of Rich and poor,
Ring in Redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, Ring out my mournful Rhymes,
But Ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and Right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkenss of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

—Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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Ann

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Noah

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Tony

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Hark!

Friday, December 25th, 2015

For Christmas Day, a painting and a poem. Merry Christmas, everyone, as we go onward together holding hands, listening for angels.

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A little girl is singing for the faithful to come ye
Joyful and triumphant, a song she loves,
And also the partridge in a pear tree
And the golden rings and the turtle doves.
In the dark streets, red lights and green and blue
Where the faithful live, some joyful, some troubled,
Enduring the cold and also the flu,
Taking the garbage out and keeping the sidewalk shoveled.
Not much triumph going on here—and yet
There is much we do not understand.
And my hopes and fears are met
In this small singer holding onto my hand.
Onward we go, faithfully, into the dark
And are there angels hovering overhead? Hark.
— Gary Johnson

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Ann

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Stephanie

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Noah

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Nevin

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Tony

Light the Advent Candle

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

We didn’t bring to France our ceramic Advent ring (made by wonderful potter Heide Billenstein) so I assembled a makeshift wreath.

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Gina

 

Notre Dame d’Evreux, with Robot

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Yes, that is indeed a robot beside Nôtre Dame d’Evreux and the old Gallo-Roman wall: it’s one of several imaginatively created from found and recycled materials and installed in the park. Juxtaposition of the old and the new is pretty typical of life here, but it doesn’t usually include robots.

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Christy

 

Annunziazione

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

It has arrived!

In honor of the first day of Spring, a poem by Robert Frost, and a painting.

Annunziazione

 A Prayer in Spring

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil.

—Robert Frost

CakeWeddingLynn & Donald

For every storm, a rainbow

Monday, March 17th, 2014

An Irish blessing, and a page from my Ireland sketchbook. Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone.

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May God give you
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.

—Irish blessing

CakeSnowmanSimone

Advent 1

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

For today, the first of December and the first Sunday of Advent, a picture, and a poem by Ann Ellerton with which my daughter and I sometimes began our homeschooling day during this season.

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Now the twilight of the year
Comes, and Christmas draweth near.
See, across the Advent sky
How the clouds move quietly.
Earth is waiting, wrapped in sleep,
Waiting in a silence deep.
Birds are hid in bush and reed
Flowers are sleeping in their seed.

Through the woodland to and fro
Silent-footed creatures go.
Hedgehog curled in prickly ball
Burrows beneath the leaves that fall.
Man and beast and bird and flower
Waiting for the midnight hour
Waiting for the infant’s birth
Down from Heaven, onto Earth.

—Ann Ellerton

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Dia de los Muertos

Saturday, November 2nd, 2013

I justify this as an art-blog post because of the papel picado we made for our celebration.

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