Monday, November 10, 2008

November 11: Martin, Bishop of Tours (397)

It's appropriate today to sing any of the hymns "For a Holy Man," "For a Confessor," "For a Monastic," or "For Bishops and Pastors," because Martin of Tours was all of these. The choice from the listing at Hymn Melodies for the whole year from the Sarum service books, though, is only "For a Confessor." From an earlier post:

Here's an mp3 of Iste Confessor, labeled a "hymn about a Holy Man" for the Common of Saints, from the Lutheran Liturgical Prayer Brotherhood. Here's the listing at Hymn Melodies for the whole year from the Sarum service books, where Iste Confessor is appointed as the hymn for First Vespers and Mattins. Below is a an image of the chant score for this hymn:

The words to the hymn above - the first line of which is "He whose confession God of old accepted" - are found at Oremus Hymnal, where it says the hymn is "Latin, eighth century; trans. Laurence Housman, 1906."
He whose confession God of old accepted,
whom through the ages all now hold in honor,
gaining his guerdon this day came to enter
heaven's high portal.

God-fearing, watchful, pure of mind and body,
holy and humble, thus did all men find him;
while, through his members, to the life immortal
mortal life called him.

Thus to the weary, from the life enshrinèd,
potent in virtue, flowed humane compassion;
sick and sore laden, howsoever burdened,
there they found healing.

So now in chorus, giving God the g lory,
raise we our anthem gladly to his honor,
that in fair kinship we may all be sharers
here and hereafter.

Honor and glory, power and salvation,
be in the highest unto him who reigneth
changeless in heaven over earthly changes,
triune, eternal.

Here is another set of words for this hymn; this source says that the hymn "was originally composed in honor of St. Martin of Tours":
This the Confessor of the Lord, whose triumph Now all the faithful celebrate, with gladness Erst on this feat-day merited to enter Into his glory.

Saintly and prudent, modest in behavior, Peaceful and sober, chaste was he, and lowly, While that life's vigor, coursing through his members, Quickened his being.

Sick ones of old time, to his tomb resorting, Sorely by ailments manifold afflicted, Oft-times have welcomed health and strength returning, At his petition.

Whence we in chorus gladly do him honor, Chanting his praises with devout affection, That in his merits we may have a portion, Now and forever.

Glory and virtue, honour and salvation, Be unto him that, sitting in the highest, Governeth all things, Lord and God Almighty, Trinity blessed.

Here's the chant score from my source to the hymn sung at Vespers on the feast days of monastics; the words are quite similar in content to those above. (That source lists hymns - different ones - for both monastics and "Holy Men.") The tune for this one is the same as on the mp3 and in the chant score above; again it's my favorite 11 11 11 5 meter, and this is one of my favorite of all hymns:

And here's the chant score for "Holy Men"; again, the music is the same:

Here's "Bishops and Pastors," using the same tune again:

Again from an earlier post:
But actually, Hymn melodies lists Iste Confessor as the hymn only for 1st Evensong and Mattins; Jesu, Redemptor Omnium is sung at Lauds and 2nd Evensong, to several different tunes, depending on the season. Here's the rundown:

At L. (except in Xmas & Paschal-tides) ... 25
At 2пd Ev. (& L. when по 2пd Ev.) ... 49
During Xmas-tide (L. & 2пd Ev.) ... 26
During Easter-tide ... ... 39
During Ascension-tide ... ... 41
On Simple Feasts of the lowest class throughout the year (L.) ... ... ... ... 6l

So there you have it. We are talking 25, 49, and/or 61 here. That's this gang:

#25 above uses the tune heard on this mp3, a tune I've heard used for the Lauds hymn on a Feast day.

Use the words to Jesu Redemptor Omnium with any one of these, and you're in business:
1. Jesu Redemptor omnium,
Quem lucis ante originem,
Parem paternae gloriae,
Pater supremus edidit.

2. Tu lumen et splendor Patris,
Tu spes perennis omnium:
Intende quas fundunt preces
Tui per orbem servuli.

3. Memento, rerum Conditor,
Nostri quod olim corporis,
Sacrata ab alvo Virginis,
Nascendo, formam sumpseris.

4. Testatur hoc praesens dies,
Currens per anni circulum,
Quod solus e sinu Patris
Mundi salus adveneris.

5. Hunc astra, tellus, aequora,
Hunc omne quod caelo subest,
Salutis auctorem novae,
Novo salutat cantico.

6. Et nos, beata quos sacri
Rigavit unda sanguinis,
Natalis ob diem tui,
Hymni tributum solvimus.

7. Jesu, tibi sit gloria,
Qui natus es de Virgine,
Cum Patre et almo Spiritu,
In sempiterna saecula.

The Lutheran Liturgical Prayer Brotherhood does offer a hymn "about the Bishops, Pastors, and Missionaries," though. Here's the mp3 of "O Thou Whose All-Redeeming Might"; the tune is the same as #49 above. The words used on this mp3 are the same as those at Oremus Hymnal (which lists the hymn as "Latin, eighth century; trans. Richard Meux Benson, 1906; Music: Jesu, Redemptor omnium"); so that's another loose end cleaned up (although as far as I can tell, these words do not match those in the Latin given above).
O thou whose all-redeeming might
crowns every chief in faith's true fight,
on this commemoration day
hear us, good Jesus, while we pray.

In faithful strife for thy dear Name
thy servant earned the saintly fame,
which pious hearts with praise revere
in constant memory year by year.

Earth's fleeting joys he counted nought,
for higher, truer joys he sought,
and now, with angels round thy throne,
unfading treasures are his own.

O grant that we, most gracious God,
may follow in the steps he trod;
and, freed from every stain of sin,
as he hath won may also win.

To thee, O Christ, our loving King,
all glory, praise and thanks we bring;
whom with the Father we adore
and Holy Ghost for evermore.

One of the interesting things about Martin of Tours is that his feast day, November 11, was once the de facto start of Advent (although that concept didn't really exist at that point). November 11 is 40 (liturgical) days before Christmas, and the Feast of Martin of Tours was the night before the fasting-before-Christmas began. According to the Martin page at Wikipedia:
From the late 4th century to the late Middle Ages, much of Western Europe, including Great Britain, engaged in a period of fasting beginning on the day after St. Martin's Day, November 11. This fast period lasted 40 days, and was, therefore, called "Quadragesima Sancti Martini," which means in Latin "the forty days of St. Martin." At St. Martin's eve and on the feast day, people ate and drank very heartily for a last time before they started to fast. This fasting time was later called "Advent" by the Church.

The feast is still celebrated (even with days off from work and school) in many parts of northern Europe, and it's still customary to have a big meal on the night of the feast - traditionally with goose as the main course.

This excellent history of Martin of Tours comes from the Order of St. Martin, of the the US Army Quartermaster Corps:
Saint Martin, whose name comes from Martem Tenens (one who sustains Mars), was born in Hungary during the reign of Emperor Constantine, and spent his early childhood in northern Italy. Drafted into the Roman Army at age 15, he later became a member of the royal cavalry guard. It was while he was campaigning in Gaul, as an 18-year-old tribune, stationed in Amiens, that the famous legend of Saint Martin and the beggar took place.

One bitterly cold day a beggar, naked and shivering, came near his station. Martin, like all the other soldiers, was in armor, but over his iron plated suit he wore a large military cloak. As none of his companions took notice of the beggar, Martin cut his cloak in two with his sword and gave half of it to the beggar. That night Christ appeared to him in a vision, dressed in the parted cloak, and commended the young soldier for his charity.

Saint Martin -- the patron saint of the Quartermaster Regiment -- was the most popular saint in France during antiquity and the early Middle Ages. It is said that French kings carried his cloak into battle as a spur to victory. Usually pictured on horseback dividing his cloak with the beggar, the image of Saint Martin as a Soldier-Provider offers a fitting symbol for Logistics Warriors charged with SUPPORTING VICTORY now and for all time.

Here's the St. Martin medal:

The readings are here, along with the collect:
Lord God of hosts, you clothed your servant Martin the soldier with the spirit of sacrifice, and set him as a bishop in your Church to be a defender of the catholic faith: Give us grace to follow in his holy steps, that at the last we may be found clothed with righteousness in the dwellings of peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

The Hebrew Bible reading is Isaiah 58:6-12:

Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up quickly;
your vindicator shall go before you,
the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer;
you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.

If you remove the yoke from among you,
the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,
if you offer your food to the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
then your light shall rise in the darkness
and your gloom be like the noonday.
The LORD will guide you continually,
and satisfy your needs in parched places,
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters never fail.
Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to live in.

And the Gospel is, of course, Matthew 25:34-40:
Jesus said, "Then the king will say to those at his right hand, `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.' Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?' And the king will answer them, `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.' "

From Full Homely Divinity, "The Saints of Advent":
St. Martin was born about 316 in Pannonia (modern Hungary). At the age of 10 he became a catechumen and at 15 he joined the army, serving under the emperors Constantius and Julian. The most famous story about Martin tells how on a cold day he met a beggar who asked for alms. Having nothing else to give, Martin drew his sword and cut his cloak in two, giving half to the beggar. Christ appeared to him in a dream the following night, clothed in half a cloak, and said, "Martin, the catechumen, has clothed me with this mantle!" At the age of 18, he was baptized and wished to leave the military, but stayed for two more years at the request of his commander. Following a successful campaign against the Teutons, he went before the emperor who was distributing rewards to his men. Martin, however, declined the bounty and asked instead that he be released from military service. He said, "Up to now, I have served you as a soldier; allow me henceforth to serve Christ. Give the bounty to these others who are going out to battle. I am a soldier of Christ and it is not lawful for me to fight." Julian accused him of cowardice and imprisoned him for a time. When he was released, Martin sought out the saintly Bishop Hilary of Poitiers, under whose direction Martin lived a solitary life for a time, until he was joined by others and founded a Benedictine monastery at Ligugé.
Martin became famous for his holiness of life, his preaching, and for his gifts of healing and spiritual discernment. People often sought him out for help and when the bishop of Tours died, they chose Martin to be their new bishop. He declined the honor and responsibility and hid from the people when they came looking for him. However, a goose revealed his whereabouts with her honking and Martin was unable to resist the will of the Church that he become a bishop. The goose is one of Martin's symbols. It is also a popular food on his feast day. Martinmas is the last day before the traditional 40 day fast before Christmas (St. Martin's Lent). The new wine is usually ready to drink on Martinmas, which is also the traditional day for slaughtering livestock for the winter, so it is a kind of harvest festival and a late fall Mardi Gras all rolled into one.
St. Martin was an exemplary bishop, and much loved by his people. He visited every church in his diocese once a year and founded several more religious communities, including the monastery of Marmoutier near Tours, where he lived with 80 monks. He lived to the great old age of 81 and was so renowned that he came to be known as the "Glory of Gaul." The hymn Iste confessor was composed in honor of St. Martin in the eighth century, and was later appointed to be sung as the Office Hymn on the feasts of confessors.Click here for an English translation by Laurence Housman, set to a metrical tune.
For a modern observance of the feast, this would be a good day to sort through drawers and
closets to gather good used clothing that could be donated to a local ministry to the needy, or to a thrift shop. Contributions to a food pantry or soup kitchen would be in order, as well. In many communities in the U.S., churches or other service organizations provide a free Thanksgiving dinner to any and all. Martinmas would be a good day to find out if there is such a meal served in your community and to sign up to help or to contribute money or food to the effort. If you are keeping St. Martin's Day at home, roast goose and a bottle of this year's Nouveau Beaujolais might top the menu, especially if you will be starting the St. Martin's Lent fast the next day.

Here's an El Greco of St. Martin:

And here's a "modern icon in the chapel of the Eastern Orthodox Monastery of the Theotokos and St Martin, Cantauque, Provence":

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