Monday, January 16, 2012

A Patron Saint for our Family

This year we are beginning what I hope will become a new tradition of "adopting" a patron saint for our family each year. We did some brainstorming and praying and discussing.... and we decided that our saint for 2012 is....
Saint Martin de Porres

Saint Marin de Porres lived in Peru from 1579 until 1639. Because he was of mixed race, he experienced persecution from an early age. However, rather than becoming hardened or bitter, he embraced a life of humility, penance, and prayer at an early age. He became a Dominican lay brother and spent his life begging alms to help the poor and sick, completing the most menial tasks with peace and joy, caring for all kinds of animals (including mice), praying constantly, and engaging in acts of penance. He became known as a healer and spiritual advisor.

A quote from Pope John XXIII (at the canonization of Martin 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. 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 and with that profound love which comes from pure faith and humility of spirit. He loved men and 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 did not blame others for their shortcomings. Certain that he deserved more severe punishment for his sins than others did, he would overlook their worst offenses. He was tireless in his efforts to reform the criminal, and he would sit up with the sick to bring them comfort. For the poor he would provide food, clothing and medicine. He did all he could to care for poor farmhands, blacks, and mulattoes who were looked down upon as slaves, the dregs of society in their time. Common people responded by calling him, 'Martin the charitable.' 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.’ It is remarkable how even today his influence can still move us toward the things of heaven. Sad to say, not all of us understand these spiritual values as well as we should, not 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. "

You can read more about Saint Martin de Porres here.

We decided that Saint Martin would be a good model for us for several reasons.

*We talked about his nickname ("Brother Broom") and how he cheerfully and faithfully completed his "chores." That is something we are all striving to do around here. ;)

*We also want to work to help the needy in more tangible/hands-on ways.

*We want to imitate Saint Martin's life of prayer and penitence.

*The boys were especially excited about Martin's love for animals. They are lobbying hard for a pet. This may be our year for that. We'll see.

We are just beginning to learn more about Saint Martin at this point.

We have displayed this tapestry in our prayer corner ---

We are reading a page from this book each evening --

We've got our little "Martin" saint doll in our prayer space upstairs ---

We have been concluding our prayers with, "Saint Martin de Porres, pray for us." I am hoping to find or write a prayer that will be simple enough for the boys to learn and recite.

I'll try to keep the blog updated with our ongoing Saint Martin devotions and activities. Hopefully we'll all grow in faith and charity through our devotion to this beautiful saint.

No comments:

Post a Comment