Nov. 3, 2015 Tuesday: St. Martin de Porres
Today we are celebrating the feast of St. Martin de Porres, who was canonized in 1962. He was the illegitimate son of a Spanish nobleman and a young freed slave woman from Panama, who may have been black or of Indian blood. His father was repelled by the darkness of his son's skin at birth and abandoned him, leaving the child-raising to his mother.
At age 12, Martin was apprenticed to a "surgeon," at that time a combination of barber, druggist, physician and surgeon. Once trained, he began to use his skills to serve the poor. At fifteen, he became a lay brother at the Dominican Friary in Lima, where he worked as a barber, a farm laborer, a clothier, and a care-giver for the sick. Each day Martin distributed food to the hungry, he was doctor to the sick, and he helped to establish an orphanage and a hospice for abandoned babies.
Facing racial discrimination, he was allowed to enter the Dominican community as a lay friar and was given the most menial tasks. However, as we see so often in the lives of the saints, the gifts of those who seem to count for little in the eyes of the world cannot be hidden forever; and very often the oppression that they have experienced is transformed into remarkable compassion for others. For Martin, just as it was for St. Francis, that compassion extended to the least in his society and indeed to all of God’s creatures.
Martin devoted himself to severe penances. In turn, God endowed him with many graces and an abundance of spiritual gifts: visions, ecstasies, bilocation (being two places at the same time), healing, and supernatural understanding.
Martin's kindness and his love of prayer and humility helped him become friends with many people from all social classes, which enabled him to alleviate the sufferings of many. His popularity allowed him to use all of his extraordinary gifts to serve the poor and to work diligently to promote their cause. Thus, he was nicknamed 'Martin of Charity.' By the time he died, he was already revered as a saint by the people who knew him and whom he served.
Most humble Saint Martin, whose burning charity embraces all, but especially those who are sick, afflicted or in need, we turn to you for help in our present difficulties, and we implore you to obtain for us from God, health of soul and body and in particular the favour we now ask.....................May we by imitating your charity and humility, find quiet and contentment all our days and cheerfuld submission to God's holy will, in all the trials and difficulties of life.
Pray for us Saint Martin, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.