The Corporal Works of Mercy, Naked and You Clothed Me pt. 3

I will start off with a story about St. Martin of Tours. He was born in Hungary around 316AD and raised in Italy. His father was in the Army, he became a soldier at 15. At 18 he became a catechumen studying to be a Christian. He left the Army when he was 23 saying, “I am a soldier of Christ.” After his Baptism, he went to study with Hilary of Poitiers. He became a monk, came to France, and establisheda monastery near Poitier. He was such a preacher and holy man that the people made him a Bishop! 

Here is the story….In the winter of 337, on a bitterly cold day, Martin met a poor man almost naked, trembling in the cold, and begging from passersby at the city gate. Martin had no money; only his sword and the clothes he wore. He drew his sword and cut his cloak into two pieces, gave one to the beggar and wrapped himself in the other piece. Some of the bystanders laughed at his odd appearance. Others were ashamed for not helping the man. That night, in his sleep, Martin saw Christ dressed in half of the garment he had given away and heard him say, “Martin has covered me with his garment.” 

Nakedness is negative in the Bible, seen as a result of sin. After Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, their eyes were opened and they realized that they were naked, so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloth’s for themselves. Their nakedness, which before caused no embarrassment, now caused a sense of shame which was an expression of their guilt. 

Joseph was stripped of his robe by his brothers and thrown into the well. They wanted to sell him as a slave! The prophet Isaiah was told by the Lord, “Go and take off the sackcloth from your waist, and remove the sandals from your feet.” This he did...walking barefoot and naked...He did this for 3 years! 

Isaiah also says, “So shall the King of Assyria lead away captives from Egypt, young and old, with buttocks uncovered, they shall be ashamed and dismayed. Jesus cures the Gerasene Demoniac and sends the evil spirit into the swine.”

-Fr. Gene

(to be continued...)