Today is the feast day for my parish’s namesake, St. Martin de Porres. A great description of his life and endeavors is posted at the end of this blog today. I hope you enjoy this piece from americancatholic.org.
Thank you Lord, that all the “Hate” talk over the elections yesterday has subsided. Please allow us all to remember that we are all BROTHERS and SISTERS in Christ. Amen.
Today in Catholic History:
† 753 – Death of Pirminius, German saint
† 1493 – Christopher Columbus, a Third Order (Secular) Franciscan, first sights the island of Dominica in the Caribbean Sea.
† 1584 – Death of Charles Borromeo, Italian Roman Catholic cardinal (b. 1538)
† 1794 – Death of François-Joachim de Pierre de Bernis, French cardinal and statesman (b. 1715)
† 1876 – Birth of Stephen Peter Alencastre, Hawaiian Roman Catholic prelate (d. 1940)
† 1889 – Chaplain Ariëns founds 1st roman catholic workers group
† 1924 – Birth of Samuel Ruiz García, Mexican Roman Catholic bishop
† 1931 – Birth of Michael Fu Tieshan, Chinese bishop (d. 2007)
† Feast Days: Acepsimas of Hnaita and companions; St. Germanus; St. Hubert; St. Malachy O’ More; St. Martin de Porres; St. Winifred
(From the “On This Day” Blog Site
“Today in Catholic History”
Quote or Joke of the Day:
“Before we can pray, ‘Lord, Thy Kingdom come,’ we must be willing to pray, ‘My Kingdom go.’” – Alan Redpath
Today’s reflection is about the cost and rewards of following Jesus Christ
25 Great crowds were traveling with him, and he turned and addressed them, 26 “If any one comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? 29 Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him 30 and say, ‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’ 31 Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down and decide whether with ten thousand troops he can successfully oppose another king advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops? 32 But if not, while he is still far away, he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms. 33 In the same way, every one of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple. (NAB Luke 14:25-33)
What does following Christ suggest that’s seems to be worth giving up everything including one’s own life? The answer: the freedom of eternity in Paradise; absolute and true happiness, peace, and joy forever in God’s kingdom.
This compilation of proverbs, most of which are only found in Luke’s Gospel, centers on an absolute and total dedication necessary for a disciple of Jesus Christ. No attachments, – - such as to family, possessions, political viewpoints, or any other of our needs – - can stand in the way of the absolute and total commitment demanded of, for Jesus’ disciples.
What is the price for the ticket to this “heavenly’ life? Jesus declares with an apparently blunt and directly honest proclamation and in no uncertain “words”, he tells His followers that the price of following Him will cost one dearly. One must be ready to accept persecution, suffering, and the prior knowledge of hardships and costs in following our Lord in His footsteps!
To gain all, one must balance this gain with giving up all possessions and treasures in His name. From a human viewpoint, this last sentence makes very little, if any, sense to our materialistic minds and ways of life. But there are no opportunities for negotiation, bartering, or special deals with God; we either surrender our existence over to Him totally, or we live in ourselves selfishly!
“If any one comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” This is an extremely strong message for Jesus to utter publically. I wonder how many “followers” actually left Jesus after saying this profound statement?! A similar verse can be found in Matthew 10:37: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me”. What I believe Jesus is saying is that the follower’s family has to take a secondary place to the absolute dedication involved in following Him! I personally see the three BIG priorities as “God, Family, and Country!” – - in THAT order!!
In Luke 9:59-60, Jesus talks to His followers about following Him. A disciple asks, “(Lord,) let me go first and bury my father.” Jesus responds, “Let the dead bury their dead. You go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” WOW!! What Jesus is declaring, is just another example of prioritizing your relationship with God. He, I believe, is not talking about the dead of “Body,” but more importantly, the dead of “Spirit!” Jesus meant for the spiritually dead (those who do not follow the way of Christ) to bury the physically dead. His followers were to be far too busy doing His work in the presence of the second person of the Holy Trinity.
St. Paul, in 1 Cor. 6:19, 20, wrote “… You are not our own … we were bought with a price ….” Jesus paid that enormous price in the blood He shed for all of us on the Holy Cross of salvation. He already knew that the “Fathers’” way to salvation and victory over sin and death was through His own sacrifice; being scourged and crucified in reparation for OUR sins. Even with this foreknowledge, Jesus said “YES” to his Father’s will with a total love for God – His and OUR Father in heaven. Are you ready and willing to say “YES” in following Jesus’ “path to the cross”?! This path with Jesus will inevitably involve an extreme cost in sacrifice: the sacrifice of surrendering yourself to God’s “will” each and every day of your human life. Franciscans call this daily surrender, “a daily conversion.”
Placing any relationship, or any possession, above God is idolatry by definition. In today’s reading, Jesus challenged his followers to think about who they love first: above all. Jesus’ way is opposite the world’s way; so the choice is yours! Do you love Jesus so much as to surrender to self and to put God first in all you do each and every day? We can never “out-give” or “out-shine” God and His graces He bestows on us! He always gives more to us than we can ever dream of, in this world AND the next!
“Prayer of Wisdom from
St. Francis & St. Claire of Assisi”
“Jesus, following You is not always easy and carefree. It does require something from me: I must follow your commands.
Often out of pride or convenience, I seek to follow my own will instead. Lead me through the narrow gates. Be merciful and soften my heart when I stubbornly refuse to follow You.
Remind me that life with You is well worth any cost I may incur in following You. Amen.”
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day: St. Martin de Porres (1579-1639)
“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 illegitimate son of a freed woman of Panama, probably black but also possibly of Native American stock, and a Spanish grandee of Lima, Peru. 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, Pope 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.’”
Patron Saint of: African-Americans; Barbers; Hairdressers; Race relations; Social justice
Saint of the Day: Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.;
revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
(From http://www.americancatholic.org website)
Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #’s 3 & 4 of 26:
3. The present rule, succeeding “Memoriale Propositi” (1221) and the rules approved by the Supreme Pontiffs Nicholas IV and Leo XIII, adapts the Secular Franciscan Order to the needs and expectations of the Holy Church in the conditions of changing times. Its interpretation belongs to the Holy See and its application will be made by the General Constitutions and particular statutes.
4. The rule and life of the Secular Franciscans is this: to observe the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by following the example of St. Francis of Assisi who made Christ the inspiration and the center of his life with God and people.
Christ, the gift of the Father’s love, is the way to him, the truth into which the Holy Spirit leads us, and the life which he has come to give abundantly.
Secular Franciscans should devote themselves especially to careful reading of the gospel, going from gospel to life and life to gospel.