About two years later, when he was 20, Martin’s unit was called up to battle a barbarian army who’d invaded Gaul. As an incentive, each soldier was offered a cash supplement before going into battle. Martin declined the offer, stating that he no longer found himself able to kill people, and requesting that he be allowed to serve only as a soldier of Christ. Predictably, he was called a coward, upon which he offered to go, unarmed and unprotected, to the front lines the next day and face the enemy with only the sign of Christ’s Cross. Despite his forthrightness, Martin was immediately imprisoned. Interestingly, during the night an armistice between the armies was somehow unexpectedly worked out, and Martin was “off the hook” and finally discharged from the army.
And in the “Did you know?” category:
- our word “chapel” derives from the fact that a small oratory in Tours preserved the alleged “little cloak” [capella] of St. Martin.
- a German child, born on 11/10/1483 and baptized on the next day, 11/11, was named after St. Martin -- his name was Martin Luther.