Day Thirty-Three

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“Finally, let us consider the saints, who exercised charity in an exemplary way. Our thoughts turn especially to Martin of Tours (†397), the soldier who became a monk and a bishop: He is almost like an icon, illustrating the irreplaceable value of the individual testimony to charity . . . In his encounter ‘face to face’ with the God who is Love, the monk senses the impelling need to transform his whole life into service of neighbor, in addition to service of God. This explains the great emphasis on hospitality, refuge, and care of the infirm in the vicinity of the monasteries. It also explains the immense initiatives of human welfare and Christian formation, aimed above all at the very poor, who became the object of care firstly for the monastic and mendicant orders, and later for the various male and female religious institutes all through the history of the Church.”

—Pope Benedict XVI, “God Is Love—Deus Caritas Est: Encyclical Letter” (Washington, D.C.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2007), p 49

[Image: Detail from “A Scene from the Life of St. Martin” by Louis Galloche (1737)]

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