Monday, November 3rd, St. Mary’s Dominican High School observed the Feast of St. Martin de Porres with Mass celebrated by Fr. David Caron, O.P. Student Preacher Catherine DeBuys ’15 concluded the celebration with a reflection on St. Martin de Porres. Click here to see photos from Mass including a second line in honor of All Saints Day!
St. Martin de Porres Reflection
by Catherine DeBuys ’15
When St. Martin was somewhere between a boy and a young man, he wanted desperately to serve the Dominican order. Not to be honored as a priest or a brother, but simply to live for and serve the Dominican Order. He felt himself unworthy of a title. He wore intensely uncomfortable robes, fasted for days at a time, and smiled at those who insulted him, for, in modern day terms, Martin was a victim of racism. His mother was black, and his father was Hispanic nobility. He was not accepted by society. This is how he lived, in an existence of unworthiness.
So again, humility.
Dominicans are known to be scholarly, right? Just look at St. Thomas Aquinas, a theologian who wrote numerous works including Summa Theologica, St. Dominic who established the Dominican Order of Preachers, St. Catherine of Siena, a doctor of the church, all incredibly intelligent figures to admire. This knowledge may tempt us to overlook another important aspect of Dominican life. Dominicans walk on two feet, prayer and service. Martin cared for the weak, the vulnerable. “His books were the people he served.” St. Martin reminds us to be humble. The Dominicans are an order of preachers, but how can we preach without being humble?
Try this with me: begin to think of yourself as less than anyone and everyone you meet. Teachers, faculty, under classmen, prospective students, your siblings both younger and older, your parents, your classmates. I am superior to no one, for we are all created with an intrinsic dignity that makes us equal in God’s eyes. To be humble, we must take a step down.
Think of the tabernacle behind the altar, housing the body of Christ.
God lives in each and every one of us; our bodies are tabernacles. If we view others as living and breathing tabernacles, we should treat them with respect and dignity the way we treat the sacrament of the Eucharist.
Now here’s where the struggle comes in. As Dominican students, we strive for excellence in all we do here at school, at least theoretically. Such a focus on our studies, our athletics, our performances, may cause us to place intelligence and success above all else. I’m not about to suggest we all neglect our academic pursuits, but I do intend to establish a reminder of what else Dominicans are all about. We are at the service of other people. We must attempt to balance all the types of good in our lives. Not merely multitasking. Multitasking’s main goal is progress, to get stuff done. Instead, we should dedicate our whole selves to each task we perform in the spirit of humility. Because each task deserves a decent effort.
Like Martin, we should humble ourselves to each task at hand, to our supposed superiors and “inferiors,” to strangers even. Do not fear, this humbleness will not deplete our self worth. Rather it will strengthen it. We are worthy of greatness, and this greatness can be found through our humbleness, our humility. The famed author C. S. Lewis once wrote, “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”
So, like St. Martin, let us give each day the effort it deserves. Let us remember that God lives within each and every one of us. Let us be humble.