St. Martin of Tours and Veterans Day

Today’s readings | Today’s feast

“Blessed is the one who fears the Lord.”

St. Martin of Tours is a fitting saint to intercede for veterans today. He himself was a soldier and served his country faithfully. After a time, he asked for and received release from military service. He had become a catechumen, and said to his superiors, “I have served you as a soldier; now let me serve Christ. Give the bounty to those who are going to fight. But I am a soldier of Christ and it is not lawful for me to fight.” Having received his release, he became a monk and served God faithfully. As a soldier of Christianity now, he fought valiantly against paganism and appealed for mercy to those accused of heresy. He was made a bishop, albeit reluctantly, and served faithfully in that post. He was a man of whom the psalmist says today, “Blessed is the one who fears the Lord.”

On this Veterans Day, we honor and pray for veterans of our armed forces who have given of themselves in order to protect our country and its freedoms. We pray especially for those who have died in battle, as well as for those who have been injured physically or mentally during their military service. We pray in thanksgiving for all of our freedoms, gained at a price, and pray that those freedoms will always be part of our way of life.

I received this prayer for Veterans Day. As I pray it, think of someone you know who may be a veteran, or perhaps is currently serving in the armed forces. Maybe that veteran is even you. If you don’t have anyone particular to pray for, ask God to hear this prayer on behalf of a veteran who has no one to pray for them. So let us pray:

We ask for blessings on all those who have served their country in the armed forces.
We ask for healing for the veterans who have been wounded, in body and soul, in conflicts around the globe.
We pray especially for the young men and women, in the thousands,
Who are coming home from Iraq with injured bodies and traumatized spirits.
Bring solace to them, O Lord; may we pray for them when they cannot pray.

Have mercy on all our veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq,
Bring peace to their hearts and peace to the regions they fought in.
Bless all the soldiers who served in non-combative posts;
May their calling to service continue in their lives in many positive ways.

Give us all the creative vision to see a world which, grown weary with fighting,
Moves to affirming the life of every human being and so moves beyond war.
Hear our prayer, O Prince of Peace, hear our prayer.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

St. Martin of Tours, pray for us.