Saint Martin de Porres has been described as a simple man of prayer who swept floors and performed other menial tasks in the Dominican Friary in Peru. When Pope John XXIII canonised Saint Martin in 1962 he said in his homily that: “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 neighbour as yourself.”
God doesn’t need saints; in fact God needs nothing, for He is infinitely blessed in Himself. And yet the Church raises up men and women outstanding in holiness, people like our Dominican brother Saint Martin, to inspire us and to help us grow in holiness. It is we who need the saints.
Our task as Christians is to love God and to love our neighbour and to put them before our own selfish selves. Our Lord’s two great commandments are inseparable. We can’t say that we love God with all our heart and not attempt to love each other. This is what it truly means to be a Christian. And we must not just talk like Jesus, we must act like Jesus. We must walk the walk, as they say.
Because God has loved us so perfectly and so powerfully in Christ, we must in turn love each other. Saint Martin de Porres understood that and lived that teaching to perfection. He lived it humbly, generously and with immense dedication, and it is his humility that impressed all those who knew him.
We all know that it’s not easy to love. As we reflect upon the life of Saint Martin, we know the many challenges he faced. And yet, by loving God and his neighbour so well, he now sees God face to face and enjoys light, happiness and peace.
And so today, on his feast, we ask Saint Martin to pray for us. May he intercede for us that we may keep on loving and serving God and our neighbour until we all get to heaven and enjoy perfect peace forever.