St Martin De Porres-A Saint of Humility for All~The Very Rev. Lady Sherwood, OPI
My dearest brothers and sisters in Christ,
Today, we commemorate a saint who was a simple man of prayer who did many menial tasks such as sweeping floors in a Dominican friary.
There are stories that this man had the ability to be in two places at the once, levitating and exuding light whilst praying, and of having the ability to walk through locked doors, as well as having powers as a healer.
This Saint went on to become the patron saint of hairdressers, race relations, innkeepers, African-Americans, public schools, interracial harmony, Peru, people of mixed race, social justice and more.
This gifted man is non other than St. Martin de Porres, and it is his feast day which we commemorate as the church today.
Let us take a look at the life of this Saint:
St. Martin de Porres was born in Lima, Peru, in 1579 to a Spanish father and a freed black slave.
“His father rejected St. Martin for his dark skin and because of that, his childhood was one of poverty. He experienced everything the poor went through— he suffered hunger, starvation, rejection, and abandonment.
“Most who grow in poverty can become bitter with the world, but God had graced St. Martin at an early age. He allowed Christ’s love to change his heart. His poor background enabled him to relate to others. Even as a child, he would give his scarce resources to beggars whom he saw as less fortunate than himself.
“He reflected Christ the humble servant, Christ who came to serve and not to be served. That is what made St. Martin de Porres unique. His whole life was an attitude of humility.”
He was apprenticed to a barber at age 12.
“At that time, being a barber meant not just cutting hair, It also meant medicine, doctoring, treating wounds and fractures, prescribing medicine, like a doctor and pharmacist would do.
Martin became so good that people left his master and went to him instead. He became very successful and made great wealth, but he gave it all to the poor.”
In his mid-teens, St. Martin felt the call to religious life with the Dominicans, but did not deem himself worthy of becoming a priest or a brother.
He joined the Dominicans as a third order lay person, performing menial tasks, like sweeping and cleaning.
“It wasn’t long before the Dominicans realised the person they had in their midst, and St. Martin was asked by the Dominicans to join the order.
“St. Martin de Porres surrendered to God with complete humility. When you surrender to God, when you are humble, you allow divine providence to provide the means to become holy.”
After decades of serving with the Dominicans in various capacities, St. Martin de Porres died on Nov. 3, 1639.
Let us pray:
Oh God Our Father, Who has given us in Thy Humble Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the model of all virtue and perfection, grant to us the virtue of humility. We think so little of Thee because we are so full of self. We cannot love Thee more until humility shows us our own nothingness and makes us rejoice in our complete dependence upon Thee.
You have given to the world a glorious apostle of humility, St Martin de Porres. Guide us by his example and strengthen us through his intercessions in our efforts to conform our hearts to the humble Heart of Thy Crucified Son.
Renew, O Lord, in these days, when pride and forgetfulness of Thee are so widespread, the wonders which You performed through Thy humble servant, Martin de Porres, during his lifetime. We pray that all the world may know of St Martin and of the surpassing value of the virtue of humility. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
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