Portraits, pictures or statues of people, in general, depict and reveal their character and personality.
Usually if people are asked to have…
… a photograph taken
… or a picture drawn
… or a statue created
>> They would prefer posing with some expensive artefacts/costly goods.
What if there is a person in history who preferred instead to pose with a broom!
>> And has most of his images/statues holding a broom…
… along with a cat and dog around him!
So much is his association with the “broom” that he is called as the “Saint of the broom!”
This person is St Martin de Porres.
Born in Lima, Peru, in the 16th century, this saint – being of a mixed race and cast lower as belonging to an inferior social caste – was able to raise his life with the Great Virtue of Humility!
>> So much was his zeal to dedicate his life for the Lord, that he would willingly accept to be a “donado” – a volunteer who performed menial tasks in the monastery – in return for the privilege of wearing the religious habit in the community.
>> He devoted his life to penance, charity and humility…
… spending nights in prayer and penitential practices
… dedicated days in nursing for the sick and caring for the poor – regardless of their color, race, or status
… and reflecting extraordinary gifts: ecstasies that lifted him into the air, light filling the room where he prayed, bi-location, miraculous knowledge, instantaneous cures, and a remarkable rapport with animals!
This Saint – St Martin de Porres – whose feast we celebrate today, beautifully exemplifies the Gospel Passage of the Day, wherein Jesus exhorts and explains the importance of growing in the Virtue of Humility.
> “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted!” (Lk 14:11)
One of the most supreme and vital messages that we learn from the Life and Teachings of Jesus is that of Humility – a virtue in direct contrast to the dangerous vice of Pride!
There are two kinds of pride: good and bad.
>> ‘Good pride’ is our dignity & self-respect
>> ‘Bad pride’ is the deadly sin of superiority that stinks of conceit and arrogance.
What is pride, as a vice?
>> In simple words, it could be defined as “wanting our own way!”
Therefore, what is humility, as a virtue?
>> In simple words, it could be defined as “wanting God’s Will!”
This is what Jesus teaches through the parable of “how a person sought the highest place but got humiliated in being forced to accept the lowest place!” (Lk 14: 7-9)
In our life, it is easy for us to lose our focus from the Lord and have an egoistic style of preferences for our own selves…
>> Many times in our works, we forget the blessings that the Lord has showered on us…
… and instead, attribute all successes to our own talents and abilities.
>> Many times in our ministry, we lose sight of the Lord, the real purposes of our vocation and the mission…
… and instead, seek to fulfil our personal agenda and motives.
> It is easy to bask in the glory of popularity and fame.
> It might even seem pleasurable to enjoy the sunshine of reputations and recognition.
… But let them never lead us to have a “self-glorifying” approach of just “looking” into ourselves.
We need to make conscious efforts in order to have the humility, to acknowledge that it is God’s power being manifested in our works.
>> We need to make deliberate choices to have the acceptance, that it is God’s Graces that lifts us to higher positions and achievements in life!
St Augustine says:
“It was pride that changed angels into devils;
>> It is humility that makes men as angels”
Life constantly tempts us to “pose with the expensive artefacts/costly goods” of pride and vanity
But the Lord invites us through the Gospel and through the example of the Saint of the Day – St Martin de Porres – to prefer to “pose with the broom”…
… the “broom” of selfless service and altruistic assistance!
… the “broom” of humility and lowering oneself in self-effacement!
… the “broom” of being ready to accept our weaknesses and depend totally on the Lord and His Power!
May the life and example of St Martin de Porres be an inspiration to all of us…
… and may his words, spur us on to imbibe the Honourable Virtue of Humility
>> “Compassion is preferable to cleanliness: with a little bit of soap I can clean my bed…
… but think of the flood of tears I would require to clean from my soul the stain that harshness against this unfortunate would leave!”
>> “Everything – even sweeping, scraping vegetables, weeding a garden and waiting on the sick, could be a prayer – if it were offered to God!”
God Bless! Live Jesus!