Friday, November 3, 2017

His Word Today: Martin de Porres

Good morning everyone.

Today is the liturgical Memorial of Saint Martin de Porres who was born in Lima (Peru) on December 9, 1579.  He was the son of a Spanish nobleman and a freed slave from Panama.  He had a sister who was born two years after him.  Her name was Juana.  After the birth of his sister, Martin's father abandoned the family.  People in Peru don't have such luxuries as widow's allowances or welfare, so Martin's mother took in people's laundry as a way of earning some money.  Eventually, Martin was sent to a primary school where others cared for him and later on he was placed in the care of a barber/surgeon who taught him medical arts.

Martin spent many hours at night in prayer, and this devotion continued and was fostered later in life as well.  At the age of 15 years, he was admitted as a servant within the Dominican community in Lima.  He was 24 years old when he was allowed to take religious vows as a Dominican lay brother.  Having been introduced to medical arts at a very young age, he continued to work in the Dominican infirmary, caring for the sick.  He also cared for others in the community of Lima who were sick.

On many occasions, the gospels recount Jesus' encounters with the sick.  In each case, he took time to care for their needs, and often brought them back to full health.  Today's gospel is one such example (Lk 14:1-6).  Perhaps we can ask Jesus to give us the gift of a compassionate heart so that, following the example that he himself set, and walking in the footsteps of others like Saint Martin of Porres, we too can look compassionately upon others and strive to respond lovingly to their needs.

Have a great weekend.

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