All Saints Day Youth Moment 2020
November 1 is All Saints Day, which is today! Martin de Porres was born in Lima, Peru, in 1579, to parents of mixed race. Raised primarily by his mother, a freed slave, Martin experienced the effects of racism and poverty early in his life. He became the apprentice of a barber, learning not only how to cut hair, but to perform basic medical treatments. Feeling called to give his life to God in service of the lowly, Martin entered the Dominicans, who accepted him as a lay helper and later as a brother. He spent his days caring for the those who were sick and poor, as well as performing menial tasks within the monastery. His nights were spent in prayer, penance, and adoration. Martin treated everyone with respect and dignity, regardless of their race or social status. He was instrumental in founding an orphanage to care for Lima’s many street children.
Saint Martin experienced the exclusion, derision, and discrimination of racism. Instead of growing bitter, he used his experience to reach out and comfort others. Martin’s unwavering love of God and devotion to Jesus sustained him in his charitable works which often went unacknowledged. (Loyola Press website)
Many years later—1962, in fact—Pope John XXIII canonized Martin as a Catholic saint—the saint of social justice and race relations because he cared for all God’s people, regardless of race or social standing.
In the Bible, the Apostle Paul called all Christian believers saints. Not just people whose faith and good works brought special recognition, but also people like you and me. All of us who believe in God and love Jesus and want to serve Him are saints. I am thankful, too, for people like Martin de Porres, whose example can teach all of us how to be better disciples, for example by treating all people with kindness and respect no matter what they look like, where they are from or what they have or don’t have.
Dear God, we thank you for our brothers and sisters in Christ who teach us by example what it means to be a faithful disciple. We thank you for those who went before us, like Martin de Porres, and for their stories which help us learn how to follow Jesus, and for those we meet every day who are kind and generous and loving. Help us, too, Lord, to show your love in all we do, in everything we say, and to all we meet. AMEN.