Thursday, November 3, 2011

November 3rd - feast of Saint Martin de Porres


It is the feast of Saint Martin de Porres. He is my favourite saint. He is the reason that I am a Dominican. For years in our home we received the devotional Saint Martin magazine and it was in reply to an advertisment about Dominican vocations in the magazine that I made my intial contact with the Order. I am covinced that it was no accident.

When people think of Saint Martin they often sum up his life with a few words about his healing powers and his love of animals. To sum up the life of this great saint would be to do a great dis-service.

Among other things Saint Martin is the patron saint of interracial justice. Looking at the problems of our contemporary world through the perspective of Saint Martin's life, I believe that we can find many insightful answers. Our world is littered still with many injustices - Martin modelled a response to the injustices heaped upon him because of his mixed racial background. He showed us that our most important heritage is that of children of God, a heritage in which we all share equally. He saw each person as a child of God and served each the same, from the beggar in the street to the highest church or civil leader. His humility and gentle spirit fianlly brought him not only acceptance, but also reverence from people in all walks of life. In the beginning he was condescendingly called the 'black dog' but he was later carried to his burial place by people in the highest positions in his native Lima.

For those considering a vocation in general or indeed a Dominican vocation - Saint Martin is a model of perseverance in this regard. He had to fight hard to be accepted into the Order - he was not always treated very well by his brethren either - we often make mistakes of turning away the Saint Martin's who ask to be accepted. We would do well to take another fresh look at how the great saint would interpret it all.

Saint Martin, pray for us.

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