Thought for the Day – 20 March – Wednesday of the Second week of Lent, Year C and the Memorial of St Martin of Braga (c 520–580)
St Gregory of Tours (538-594) declared St Martin to be the greatest scholar of his age. His writings included a guide to the Christian life, a description of superstitious peasant customs, a set of moral maxims and a version of the sayings of the Egyptian fathers. Listen to Martin’s voice in the following selection from his little essay on vanity:
“A person desires nothing more than to be praised, nor is there a single thing that he would consider it more agreeable to receive than someone’s admiration for him as a person of renown… For those who have usurped the things above, all that is left, so it seems to me, is the things below…Everyone everywhere strives to spread his own fame and, therefore, the cure for such vanity is most difficult, because it mingles not only with vices but also with virtues…For when he rejoices in other people’s praises his joy is followed by exalted triumph and his triumph, in turn, by pretentiousness and overestimation of himself…This is that deadly vice of which the Lord spoke in the gospel thus to the Jews: “How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory which is from the only God?” (see John 5:44).”
Martin of Braga served the Christians of Galicia for nearly a quarter of a century. He died at his monastery at Dumium in 579. He is the true gospel-bearer that carries it, in his hands, in his mouth and in his heart. A person does not carry it in his heart that does not love it with all his soul.