“We were not made for ourselves… Man was made to give himself away.”
This is not a quote from St. Martin – it is a thought from the homily I heard at Mass today. When one looks at man, the priest explained, it is obvious that he was not made to live for himself. Consciously or unconsciously, man is constantly seeking something outside himself. When this seeking leads him to God, man will find himself face-to-face with a God who poured Himself out on the Cross, with a God who gave Himself away. Out of love for God, man will also begin to pour himself out, to give himself away – and this is how saints are made.
St. Martin de Porres is a particularly good example of what it means to “give oneself away” time and again out of love for God. He spent his life as a Dominican lay brother begging for alms, caring for the sick, fasting, and praying before the Blessed Sacrament. He was known for being humble, gracious and patient, and his loving attention to the poor led the people of Lima to call him “Martin the Charitable.” Living his vow of obedience to the full, he never refused to do even the most menial of tasks.
The above image, from an antique holy card, shows St. Martin levitating during one of his frequent meditations on Christ’s Passion. He saw how His Lord gave Himself away, and every day of his life, he sought to do the very same thing.