Nov 3 – Memorial for St. Martin de Porres, religious
St. Martin (1579-1639) was the illegitimate son of a Spanish nobleman, Juan, and a young freed black slave, Anna Velasquez. He grew up in poverty and spent part of his youth with a surgeon-barber from whom he learned some medicine and care of the sick.
At the age of 11, he became a servant in the Holy Rosary Dominican priory in Lima, Peru. He was promoted to almoner and begged more than $2,000 a week from the rich to support the poor and sick in Lima. He was placed in charge of the Dominican’s infirmary, and was known for his tender care of the sick and for his spectacular cures. His superiors dropped the stipulation that “no black person may be received to the holy habit or profession of our order” and Martin took vows as a Dominican brother in 1603.
He established an orphanage and children’s hospital for the poor children of the slums. He set up a shelter for the stray cats and dogs and nursed them back to health. He lived in self-imposed austerity, never eating meat, fasting continuously, and spent much time in prayer and meditation with a great devotion to the Holy Eucharist. He was a friend of St. John de Massias.
He was venerated from the day of his death. Many miraculous cures, including raising the dead, have been attributed to Brother Martin, the first black saint from the Americas.
- Patron Saint Index
“But he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, and became as men are; … and he was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross.”
Today’s readings are so powerful where they illustrate the humility of Christ, the hurt when the invited guests made excuses, and the love of Christ where his banquet extends to even those who seem unworthy of it.
Reflecting on the readings, there was a shift, from taking God for granted to being grateful to Him. From seeing myself like the invited guests who made excuses, in the Gospel, to how God continues to reach out to me even when I’m so unworthy of His love and to be at His banquet.
God actually invited me! What God would do that? I bet many other ‘gods’ would require their guests to be of a certain stature, position, wealth, have something great to offer before inviting those guests to their banquet. But my God invited me first! Yet I chose to put Him aside, like it’s ok if I’m not there; His banquet doesn’t feel important or worth it suddenly, compared to my other priorities and ‘joys and pleasures’. How much have I taken Him for granted? Very much similar to where God is in my life, for most of the time.
And when I’m down and out, totally undeserving and unworthy, He calls his servant to invite me again to share in His banquet.
So much love, a love that is very much beyond me, but also a love that I need to learn. As a God who emptied himself to become a slave and human, still we crucified Him. Yet, He died in order to save us. Lord, I want to love like you, but it’s so hard because I just find it so hard when my love is taken for granted or not appreciated, like I’ve done so much, used so much time, effort, gone out of my way and made so many sacrifices to love; but still I’m seen as ‘not good enough’ or told that I haven’t ‘loved’. I too, am in need of love Lord, I too want to be loved and cherished, why do I always need to be the one who does the loving first?
Lord, help me in my struggle when these thoughts fill my mind, to turn to you, to rely on you, to know that what you received for your love was more than rejection, was more than unappreciation, but it was a crucifixion, scourging, humiliation and finally death on a cross. Lord, I am grateful to have you as my God, my Father and I love you too, there is nothing more important than to share in your banquet with you Lord.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Benjamin Mao)
Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to always be aware of your presence, your promptings and your invitations. May I never miss your message for me. May I never take you for granted.
Thanksgiving: Thank you for your humility and your constant reaching out and invitations to me even when I’m unworthy. I love you Lord.