Brief Personal Reflection on St. Martin De Porres
Learning about Black Catholic St. Martin’s life I see so much about it that parallels the black experience. He checks a number of boxes of issues that we as Black people have faced in the past and some still face today. Let’s see from the facts pulled from his life.
– born out of wedlock, parents never married
– father left home after the birth of a child (his sister after him)
– single parent household, raised by mother (true for me too)
– encountered racist laws
– encountered racial discrimination
– not allowed to join something as a full member on
account of race
– Mocked/ridiculed by other for his race and
– poor family and life growing up
– assigned the most menial of tasks
I couldn’t help but think “man, he lived a life not too different from us.”
But as he had a life that showcased a bit of Black struggle, he also had a life that showcased a bounty of Black triumph. Even when life tried to keep him out of his calling he persevered and fought the devil’s lie of racism with God’s truth of love. Even though he was racial discriminated against he never returned it with hatred, but followed his Lord’s call to bless his persecutors.
He shows us a life of strength and holiness that can be found in ordinary life with ordinary tasks as he worked the most basic jobs while later advancing from them. He has a quote which reminds me of another great Black leader:
St. Martin de Porres said: “Everything, even sweeping, scraping vegetables, weeding a garden and waiting on the sick could be a prayer, if it were offered to God.”
Martin Luther King Jr. said: “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
St. Martin de Porres is a featured Black Catholic saint on my Black Catholic Saints section.