S. Martin de Porres| Daily Meditation| Daily Quote by S. Padre Pio| Divine Mercy Reflection
St. Martin de Porres
"Father unknown" is the cold legal phrase sometimes used on baptismal records. "Half-breed" or "war souvenir" is the cruel name inflicted by those of "pure" blood. Like many others, Martin might have grown to be a bitter man, but he did not. It was said that even as a child he gave his heart and his goods to the poor and despised.
He was the son of a freed woman of Panama, probably black but also possibly of Native American stock, and a Spanish grandee of Lima, Peru. His parents never married each other. Martin inherited the features and dark complexion of his mother. That irked his father, who finally acknowledged his son after eight years. After the birth of a sister, the father abandoned the family. Martin was reared in poverty, locked into a low level of Lima’s society.
When he was 12, his mother apprenticed him to a barber-surgeon. He learned how to cut hair and also how to draw blood (a standard medical treatment then), care for wounds and prepare and administer medicines.
After a few years in this medical apostolate, Martin applied to the Dominicans to be a "lay helper," not feeling himself worthy to be a religious brother. After nine years, the example of his prayer and penance, charity and humility led the community to request him to make full religious profession. Many of his nights were spent in prayer and penitential practices; his days were filled with nursing the sick and caring for the poor. It was particularly impressive that he treated all people regardless of their color, race or status.
He was instrumental in founding an orphanage, took care of slaves brought from Africa and managed the daily alms of the priory with practicality as well as generosity. He became the procurator for both priory and city, whether it was a matter of "blankets, shirts, candles, candy, miracles or prayers!" When his priory was in debt, he said, "I am only a poor mulatto. Sell me. I am the property of the order. Sell me."
Side by side with his daily work in the kitchen, laundry and infirmary, Martin’s life reflected God’s extraordinary gifts: ecstasies that lifted him into the air, light filling the room where he prayed, bilocation, miraculous knowledge, instantaneous cures and a remarkable rapport with animals. His charity extended to beasts of the field and even to the vermin of the kitchen. He would excuse the raids of mice and rats on the grounds that they were underfed; he kept stray cats and dogs at his sister’s house.
He became a formidable fundraiser, obtaining thousands of dollars for dowries for poor girls so that they could marry or enter a convent.
Many of his fellow religious took him as their spiritual director, but he continued to call himself a "poor slave." He was a good friend of another Dominican saint of Peru, Rose of Lima (August 23).
Racism is a sin almost nobody confesses. Like pollution, it is a "sin of the world" that is everybody's responsibility but apparently nobody's fault. One could hardly imagine a more fitting patron of Christian forgiveness (on the part of those discriminated against) and Christian justice (on the part of reformed racists) than Martin de Porres.
In 1962, Blessed John XXIII remarked at the canonization of Martin:
"He excused the faults of others. He forgave the bitterest injuries, convinced that he deserved much severer punishments on account of his own sins. He tried with all his might to redeem the guilty; lovingly he comforted the sick; he provided food, clothing and medicine for the poor; he helped, as best he could, farm laborers and Negroes, as well as mulattoes, who were looked upon at that time as akin to slaves: thus he deserved to be called by the name the people gave him: 'Martin of Charity.'"
The more we focus on what God's plan for us might be, the less we need to concern ourselves with other people's reactions. Our self-worth is not dependent on other people's opinions of us. No one else has the power to make us better or worse than we are.
Quote by S. Padre Pio:
Speak to Jesus not only with your lips but also with your heart.
Divine Mercy Reflection
Reflections on Notebook Five: 263-326
As we begin Notebook Five, Saint Faustina’s understanding of the Mercy of God should be more alive to you. Hopefully you have a deeper understanding of the infinite love of God and His burning desire to embrace you, free you from the burden of sin, and shower you with His grace.
It should also be clear that God is silent at times so as to strengthen you, purify you and deepen your trust in Him. God’s wisdom and His ways are beyond what we could ever imagine. He is perfect in His love and you must have full confidence in the direction He gives to your life.
As we enter into this notebook, try to believe and live all that you have read so far. It’s one thing to believe it intellectually, it’s quite another thing to believe it with your actions. You must believe in the Mercy of God with your actions. You must let all that you have read take hold of you and direct the way you live. One way to do this is to go back to any reflections that have stood out so far. If something has stood out, be it a particular reflection or a general theme, pay attention to that. The Message of Mercy is broad and all encompassing, but it’s also particular to you. Let the Lord speak directly to you revealing the specific truths that you need to embrace the most.
Reflection 307: Conversing with a Divine Friend
How do you pray? There are many good ways to pray. Here are some common ways: attending the Holy Mass or another Liturgy, praying the rosary or other chaplets, reading the Scripture meditatively, reciting beautifully written prayers, sitting in silence before our Lord, falling prostrate before Him especially in the Holy Eucharist, etc. One additional way to pray is to have a conversation with our Lord, speaking everything on your mind. It’s true that He knows all your needs, He knows all your thoughts and He knows you far better than you know yourself. But, at times, you will find it a blessing to converse with Him anyway. You may choose to go through your life, all of your concerns, all of your questions and confusions, and speak them directly to our Lord. This form of prayer helps to clarify life, as long as you seek to listen while you speak. But speaking all of your concerns is a wonderful act and will be most useful as you invite God into every part of your life (See Diary #1485-1489).
So how do you pray? Reflect today upon the various methods you use and ponder whether there are other ways that you might add. Especially consider sitting down and conversing with our Lord as you would a friend. Think about even the psychological benefit that comes by speaking everything on your heart, expressing every concern, and presenting every question you have to God. There is value in the conversation. You may not have perfect understanding of His answers, but God knows what you need and by coming to Him with everything, you can be assured that He will listen and respond.
Lord, teach me to pray. Help me to know how much You love me and desire to hear from me about every burden of my soul. I desire to bring all to You, dear Lord, to lay it at Your feet and to abandon myself into Your gentle Hands. Thank You for always listening. Jesus, I trust in You.