At the beginning of this month of November, with the traditional gathering of all the members of the Community of Saint-Martin approaching, this is an opportunity for us to rediscover the figure of Saint Martin in the light of divine mercy, whom Eastern tradition refers to as the “merciful one”.
Such an endeavour is not intended to evoke the past with nostalgia, seeking to reproduce it indiscriminately. Saint John Henry Newman pointed out that the future of the Church is one of “development”, of unfolding, but not of repetition or revolution. The Church is a living body whose growth implies simultaneously a deepening of its roots (as fidelity to the gifts it has received and a guarantee of its fruitfulness) and a broadening of its ” adornment ” (as promise and boldness in the Spirit). Circumstances, mentalities and opportunities change. The Church seems to change. The Church changes while remaining the same, because she unites in herself what is united in Christ: truth and life.
In remembering Saint Martin, we are not looking for a method or a formula to apply, but we are approaching a witness to Christ who was irresistibly drawn by the fire that inhabited his Heart. Martin’s secret is to be found in that burning bush that branded his existence with a red-hot iron, conquering it and conforming it to that of Jesus Christ, the definitive truth of his life. Yes, Martin is a man consumed by Divine Fire. This lively flame of Love animated him inwardly during his times of solitude at Ligugé or Marmoutier, radiated from his hermitage to enlight Christians and pagans alike, warmed the poor of all kinds in Amiens or Tours, and irradiated with tenderness and firmness on his brothers in community. What is great about him, is that he allowed himself to be seized and won over by this Divine Fire. Martin knew his poverty. He knows that he can do nothing without the Spirit, that he is nothing without the impulse of Love from the Father and the Son. He was well aware that he received everything from God and that his apostolic fruitfulness consisted in letting himself be guided by the Spirit.
At his school, we discover that charity alone saves, heals, enlightens, warms, edifies, pacifies and unifies mankind and societies. In a word, charity is everything, and Martin was a marvellous witness to this. By following in his footsteps, we want to become more faithful to the gift we have received from God, more trustful in his grace, more missionary and therefore more charitable, in order to deepen our own identity, our place and therefore our mission within the Church.
Help us, dear friends, to respond generously and joyfully to this invitation from Providence!