3 November – St Martin de Porres
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
Christ is proclaimed; and that makes me happy; and I shall continue being happy, because I know this will help to save me, thanks to your prayers and to the help which will be given to me by the Spirit of Jesus. My one hope and trust is that I shall never have to admit defeat, but that now as always I shall have the courage for Christ to be glorified in my body, whether by my life or by my death. Life to me, of course, is Christ, but then death would bring me something more; but then again, if living in this body means doing work which is having good results-I do not know what I should choose. I am caught in this dilemma: I want to be gone and be with Christ, which would be very much the better, but for me to stay alive in this body is a more urgent need for your sake. This weighs with me so much that I feel sure I shall survive and stay with you all, and help you to progress in the faith and even increase your joy in it; and so you will have another reason to give praise to Christ Jesus on my account when I am with you again.
On a sabbath day Jesus had gone for a meal to the house of one of the leading Pharisees; and they watched him closely. He then told the guests a parable, because he had noticed how they picked the places of honour. He said this, ‘When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take your seat in the place of honour. A more distinguished person than you may have been invited, and the person who invited you both may come and say, “Give up your place to this man.” And then, to your embarrassment, you would have to go and take the lowest place. No; when you are a guest, make your way to the lowest place and sit there, so that, when your host comes, he may say, “My friend, move up higher.” In that way, everyone with you at the table will see you honoured. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the man who humbles himself will be exalted.’
I shall survive and stay with you all
Has it ever crossed your mind that sometimes you are so contented about your believe in the Father, and that life on Earth is rather meaningless and you are just ready to live a faithful life in the Kingdom of God. Perhaps you felt that you have repented and been through reconciliation with our Father, thinking that the earthly life and responsibilities are not meaningful to you as living in the Kingdom of God. We began to complain about the life here, about the awful people we meet around us and that we cannot wait to die and actually live in the presence of our fellow brothers and sisters in Heaven. Does that really make us ready to die from this world and be in the arms of our creator?
Like in today’s Gospel, St. Paul felt exactly like that, ready to die and be with God. However, he felt that he had to continue living to guide people to building their faith in the Father. How are we going to live this life then? Do you think you are really so ready to meet your creator our Lord? Just because He had created you, and now you want a simpler life by actually leaving it to be with Him is not His game plan for us. We have a worth being on Earth. We are to live a faithful and be a Christian to others.
What do you plan to do in this life on Earth to please our Father? Do we humble ourselves so that others see the goodness in us? Have we been good Christians that others look up to? Looking back at the lives of our great saints, their motivation is in the love for the people and in God for guiding through their way of life on Earth. As for us, the lay people, all we need is to be guided by our Father through our everyday actions. Let us not get into the dilemma thinking we are good enough to enter the Kingdom of God, but to live an optimistic and responsible life on Earth.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Austin Leong)
Prayer: We cannot take our own lives for it is a sin, so we have to live the life which our Father has given us, give me the courage to enrich others in the Christian living and that I may be a humble example.
Thanksgiving: We cannot take our own lives for it is a sin, so we have to live the life which our Father has given us, give me the courage to enrich others in the Christian living and that I may be a humble example.