In honor of both Saint Martin of Tours and Armistice Day, Simone Martini's 1321 fresco, "Saint Martin Renouncing the Sword," pictured above, seems à propos, as it has been for many years now. There's something about this holiday that has resounded with me, for whatever reason, since my conversion almost eight years ago.
I'm no cultural Catholic. I'm a convert. Baptised into Methodism, due to my grandmother having had been excommunicated from the Southern Baptist Church, raised in High Church Lutheranism in a Quaker-founded town, and later, in what had been British Malaya, having stumbled upon Anglo-Catholicism, my cultural "DNA" is Protestant through and through, and I'd say formed of the best "genes" of that heresy.
Later, in Korea, like the first Korean Catholics, Confucian literati, I would become interested in Catholicism through books, and, also like them, already consider myself Catholic before being officially received into the Church. In 2000, I first verbally confessed the Faith at the rebuilt Urakami Cathedral, at Nagasaki's hypocenter, and did so a second time in 2001 at the Church of Santa Cruz, Bangkok, before being formally received into Holy Mother Church on the memorial of Saint Andrew the Apostle, whose name my parents had given me as a middle name, in 2002.
The Most Holy Rosary was the first thing I was taught when I first sought instruction, here in Pohang City, and Marianism is and has been the central aspect of my religious devotion. The Annunciation, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and Our Lady of Guadalupe (whose shrine I visted twice, as a pre-Catholic, and whom I thank for my conversion), are essential dates on my calendar.
But so is today's Feast of St. Martin (Martinmas). Perhaps my inner Quaker rejoices in his renouncing of the sword. Perhaps it's because his cultus was one of the earliest. Perhaps it's the proximity to Advent. It may also simply be the weather; who cannot love this time of year? Whatever it is, Happy Martinmas one and all!