We experience trials even during the Easter season. Tina Mayeux encourages us to look to the Church’s remembrance of St. Martin I for inspiration.
We have recently celebrated the glorious Solemnity of Easter and entered into the Easter season, marked in our churches by the symbols of Easter lilies in bloom and the Paschal candle, which symbolizes Christ himself. As a Church, we are still steeped in rejoicing and celebration of the season, as we should be. However, today’s remembrance of St. Martin I reminds us that until we are safely home in heaven, we will still experience trials, sufferings, and persecutions here on earth. This should not sadden us, but rather, we should consider it a privilege to encounter hardships with Christ and the saints. St. Paul proclaims,
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh, I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church. (Colossians 1:24)
Even after Jesus’ Resurrection, the apostles were faced with trials and tribulations on earth. They had been emboldened to proclaim the gospel after they experienced the empty tomb; however, they faced difficulties and persecutions in the time after Jesus’ death and Resurrection. Similarly, even in the midst of the Easter season, you may be experiencing suffering, dryness, or temptations. We are reminded by the Church’s remembrance of today’s Saint of the Day, St. Martin I, to call on the holy ones who have gone before us for assistance and to look to their lives for inspiration to conquer any darkness we may be feeling or experiencing.
St. Martin was elected pope in 649. He endured imprisonment, mistreatment, and exile for defending the doctrine that Christ had both a divine and a human will. He was willing to stand up for the Church’s teachings even when faced with these terrible sufferings at the hand of the Emperor Constans II. In a letter written as he faced exile and abandonment even by friends and relatives, St. Martin ponders, “Why am I anxious? The Lord is near.” His words remind us that Christ can bring us true peace, even in the midst of suffering.
It may be difficult for us to understand the saints’ acceptance and resignation to their sufferings. No one seeks out trials and difficulties, but we are all sure to experience some of them in this life. The saints want to help us here on earth in our journey toward heaven. Many of them looked forward to eternity so that they could assist others still struggling and suffering on earth. St. Thérèse promised a “Shower of Roses” to those who sought her intercession. Padre Pio said he would “wait outside the gate of Heaven until all my spiritual children are inside.” If we ask them, along with Our Blessed Mother Mary and St. Joseph, to intercede for us and obtain this grace of fortitude in trials, we can be sure that they will obtain it for us in time.
In Morning Prayer, or Lauds, from the Divine Office for today, the closing prayer includes the line, “Neither hardship, pain, nor the threat of death could weaken the faith of Saint Martin.” It continues, “Through our faith, give us courage to endure whatever sufferings the world may inflict upon us.” Let us today imitate the strength and fortitude that St. Martin showed in the face of his trials and ask his intercession so that we can grow in these virtues and experience the true joy of the Resurrection.
Copyright 2021 Christina Mayeux
Image: Pexels (2016)