Pope Benedict XVI saw the source of St. Martin's charity in the example of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.
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The story of St. Martin of Tours has been an inspiration to many throughout the centuries. His act of selfless love for his neighbor continues to be an example for all Christians.
Pope Benedict XVI reflected on his life during an Angelus message in 2007, and summarized St. Martin’s act of charity.
While many miracles are attributed to him, St Martin is known most of all for an act of fraternal charity. While still a young soldier, he met a poor man on the street numb and trembling from the cold. He then took his own cloak and, cutting it in two with his sword, gave half to that man. Jesus appeared to him that night in a dream smiling, dressed in the same cloak.
For Pope Benedict, this simple story of St. Martin’s charity can be taken one step further. It was an act that was rooted in St. Martin’s Eucharistic faith.
[St. Martin] would receive the Sacrament in his 20s, but he would still stay for a long time in the army, where he would give testimony of his new lifestyle: respectful and inclusive of all, he treated his attendant as a brother and avoided vulgar entertainment…Dear brothers and sisters, St Martin’s charitable gesture flows from the same logic that drove Jesus to multiply the loaves for the hungry crowd, but most of all to leave himself to humanity as food in the Eucharist, supreme Sign of God’s love, Sacramentum caritatis. It is the logic of sharing which he used to authentically explain love of neighbour. May St Martin help us to understand that only by means of a common commitment to sharing is it possible to respond to the great challenge of our times: to build a world of peace and justice where each person can live with dignity.
If we want to learn how to be more charitable to others, we are challenged to meditate on the Eucharist and receive Jesus frequently, letting his example form our every word and deed.