On a whim, at the age of eight, I chose Saint Martin of Tours as my patron the day I first read about him in a childrens' lives of the saints. I went on to spend the proceeding decade figuring out why; I always knew it must have been a for a God-given reason. Various explanations have come to me over the years, why St. Martin is applicable to my life and struggles, but my most recent revelation about St. Martin was about knighthood, or more generally, heroism.
Heroism has always been a human aspiration, a theme in art, literature, and now, media. It is sometimes distorted...we think false heroism is true. I won't veer into that topic now. But overall, humanity upholds heroes.
And heroes, for a substantial epoch of humanity (sadly past), were embodied in the Knight. St. Martin is patron of knighthood, patron of heroism.
What makes a hero? Courageous action. Few would argue with that. The courage to do what is right. St. Martin had the courage of a true knight. It was this courage through which he attained the ultimate of virtues.
He could love.
We often see paintings of St. Martin tearing his fine cape and giving half to a beggar. It seems a small thing, a little arbitrary as the most common depiction of a great saint. Yet in his day and situation, this humbling action was one of courage before his fellow high-ranking soldiers.
Love takes more courage than anything else. Consider Christ's cry in his Agony, so often heard in Lent, "Your will be done!"
It was a profession of courageous love for humanity, acceptance of the utmost suffering for our sake.
Well, what does this have to do with the Knight and the Lady? It struck me one day as I meditated on St. Marin, how in any story worth hearing, the hero's prize is the hand of his True Love. This is so right! A hero has acquired courage. It takes courageous action to truly love. Thus the fair and lovely maiden deserves him, and he has rightly won her.
St. Martin's bride was the Church. All men are called to be heroes, and they all have a fair bride to win. I pray for them, I appeal to them. Take courage. Deserve her.