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How St. Martin of Tours rebuked the devil on his deathbed

Saint Martin

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Saint Martin

Philip Kosloski - published on 11/11/22

When St. Martin of Tours was about to die, the devil appeared and tried to influence him.

St. Martin of Tours was a 4th-century bishop who was well-known for his sanctity. Many legends have been written about his life, including an encounter with the devil on his deathbed.

The encounter is recorded in A letter of Sulpicius Severus that is featured in the Church’s Office of Readings.

At first St. Martin of Tours addresses those present and prepares his soul for death.

It happened that some priests who had gathered at his bedside suggested that he should give his poor body some relief by lying on his other side. He answered: “Allow me, brothers, to look towards heaven rather than at the earth, so that my spirit may set on the right course when the time comes for me to go on my journey to the Lord.”

Then a demonic figure appears and tries to influence St. Martin.

As he spoke these words, he saw the devil standing near. “Why do you stand there, you bloodthirsty brute?” he cried. “Murderer, you will not have me for your prey. Abraham is welcoming me into his embrace.”

St. Martin was neither scared nor swayed by the presence of the devil. Instead, he firmly rooted himself in Christ and looked forward to his final passage into Heaven.

With these words, he gave up his spirit to heaven. Filled with joy, Martin was welcomed by Abraham. Thus he left this life a poor and lowly man and entered heaven rich in God’s favour.

The encounter reminds us that if we stay rooted in Christ throughout our life, nothing will be able to change our path, even if a devil tries to tempt us on our deathbed.

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