Would You Cut Your Coat in Half?

The poor and homeless are all around us. As we approach winter, their plight is worsened with the effort to stay warm. What are you willing to do to help?

Saint Martin of Tours, whose memorial the Catholic Church celebrates today, was willing to truly give what he had. Martin was a convert to Christianity and the first person to be named a saint who was not a martyr.

Legend has it that while Martin was still a catechumen (before he was baptized), he came upon a poor man who was begging at the city gate on a bitterly cold day. Seeing the naked, trembling man, Martin was moved with compassion. Having nothing on him but his sword and the clothes on his back. he cut his cloak into two pieces, giving half to the poor man and wrapping himself in the other half. It is said that many laughed at his appearance, and he must have looked strange walking around in half a coat.

Martin saw Jesus in a dream that evening. Jesus was wearing the garment half Martin had given away and Martin heard him say, “Martin, still a catechumen, has covered me with his garment.”

What Martin heard Jesus say was this: “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”

Most of us have more than the coat on our back. Let’s be especially generous as we approach the cold winter months.