St. Martin de Porres
Apostle of Charity
Pope John XXIII
This excerpt from the homily of Pope John XXIII on the occasion of the Canonization of Saint Martin de Porres (Die 6 Maii 1962: AAS 54 , 306-309) is read in the Roman Office of Readings for the Feast of Saint Martin de Porres on November 3. St. Martin de Porres was born in Lima, Peru in 1579 as the illegitimate son of a Panamanian mother and a Spanish father. Having inherited the dark color of his mother who was either Indian or black, he was rejected by his father and was reared therefore in poverty. He entered the Dominicans and became renowned for his countless works of charity. Martin was friends with another great Dominican Saint from Peru, St. Rose of Lima. He died in 1639 and was canonized by Pope John XXIII in 1962.
The example of Martin's life is ample evidence that we can strive for holiness and salvation as Christ Jesus has shown us: first, by loving God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind; and second, by loving your neighbor as yourself."
When Martin had come to realize that Christ Jesus suffered for us and that he carried our sins on his body to the cross, he would meditate with remarkable ardor and affection about Christ on the cross. Whenever he would contemplate Christ's terrible torture he would be reduced to tears. He had an exceptional love for the great sacrament of the Eucharist and often spent long hours in prayer before the blessed sacrament. His desire was to receive the sacrament in communion as often as he could.
Saint Martin, always obedient and inspired by his divine teacher, dealt with his brothers with that profound love which comes from pure faith and humility of spirit. He loved men because he honestly looked on them as God's children and as his own brothers and sisters. Such was his humility that he loved them even more than himself and considered them to be better and more righteous than he was.
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 virtuous example and even the conversation of this saintly man exerted a powerful influence in drawing men to religion. It is remarkable how even today his influence can still come us toward the things of heaven. Sad to say, not all of us understand these spiritual values as well as we should, nor do we give them a proper place in our lives. Many of us, in fact, strongly attracted by sin, may look upon these values as of little moment, even something of a nuisance, or we ignore them altogether. It is deeply rewarding for men striving for salvation to follow in Christ's footsteps and to obey God's commandments. If only everyone could learn this lesson from the example that Martin gave us.
To download, print and share, St. Martin de Porres, CLICK HERE.
For more Catholic resources to feed your faith, visit the Crossroads Initiative Homepage.
To sign up for our free weekly e-mail with Dr. D'Ambrosio's commentary on the Sunday readings, liturgical feasts, updates on where Dr. D will be speaking, a chance to WIN a FREE CD and MORE, CLICK HERE!
CD - Christianity Divided
Roman Catholic . . . Eastern Orthodox . . . Protestant. How did these splits occur within Christianity and what can be done to overcome them?
In this series, historical theologian Marcellino D’Ambrosio tells the story of the people, ideas, and events that led to the divisions that we live with everyday. It is not a simple story of good guys and bad guys, but a complex story of misunderstanding, passion for God, and human foibles with plenty of fault on all sides.
How Mary and the Rosary Can Change Your Life -CD Set
Two talk set by Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio that explains the Virgin Mary as the model of faith, the true meaning of the Rosary and how both can change your life! Wonderful for anyone who has questions about the Catholic belief with regards to Mary and the Rosary!
The Blessing of Brotherhood - CD
Ps 133: “How Good and Pleasant it is!”
In a society preoccupied with romantic love and sisterhood, Christian brotherhood is making a comeback! When Catholic men organize into a “band of brothers,” there is support, accountability, and fruitfulness in Christ that is impossible when men live as “islands” unto themselves. The burdens grow lighter and the light grows brighter when men gather together as one. This talk will include stories about what men gathered together have accomplished in the history of the church plus practical tips for men organizing themselves into small groups for prayer, study, and support.
The Fathers of the Church: Who the Early Church Fathers Are and Why they Matter
In this dynamic audio CD, Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio explains who exactly the Fathers of The Church (A.K.A "The Early Chuch Fathers") were. St. Ambrose, St. Justin Martyr, St. Augustine... What relevance do these Early Fathers of the Church have to our lives today?