Often when we read the lives of the saints, we do so trying to find the secret of their holiness. If we could only find what it was that made them a saint, maybe we could imitate them and become saints ourselves.
St. John XXIII gave a brief summary of the secret to St. Martin de Porres’ holiness during his canonization ceremony.
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 our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind; and second, by loving our neighbor as ourselves.
No stunning revelation, no deeply hidden secret, but a simple reality: St. Martin loved God first, and then, inflamed by this love, he sought to love others.
When Martin had come to realize that Christ Jesus suffered for us and that he carried our sins on his body to the cross, he would meditate with remarkable ardor and affection about Christ on the cross. Whenever he would contemplate Christ’s terrible torture he would be reduced to tears. He had an exceptional love for the great sacrament of the Eucharist and often spent long hours in prayer before the blessed sacrament. His desire was to receive the sacrament in communion as often as he could.
His faith was fed by the Eucharist and it was that faith that drove him to love everyone he met.
St. Martin, always obedient and inspired by his divine teacher, dealt with his brothers with that profound love which comes from pure faith and humility of spirit. He loved men because he honestly looked on them as God’s children and as his own brothers and sisters. Such was his humility that he loved them even more than himself and considered them to be better and more righteous than he was.
St. Martin saw each person as God sees them, making it possible for him to have a loving and charitable heart.
His generosity knew no bounds, and he helped everyone in need, no matter their circumstance.
If we want to be like St. Martin de Porres, we should foster a deep devotion to the Eucharist and then, fed by that celestial food, go out into the world and love our neighbors.