Martinus, filius Joannis de Porres, equitis Hispaniæ, et Annæ Velasquez, suffuscæ libertæ, Limæ in America meridionali anno millesimo quingentesimo [septuagesimo*] nono lucem aspexit – "Martin, son of Juan de Porres, knight of Spain, and Anna Velasquez, mulatto freedwoman, at Lima in south America in the year 1579 [first] beheld the light": thus begins the third lesson at Matins for to-day in the Dominican Breviary, marking this fifth of November as the feast of St Martin de Porres proper to the Friars Preachers. (In the modern liturgy, his feast has been moved to the third, the day of his death or rather of his birth into eternal light and life; but I do hope that, in Adelaide, Fr Mannes has offered Mass in his honour to-day.)
[* A strange oversight omits the word "seventy" from his date of birth, implying that he was born in Lima during the Inca Empire!]
Adopting for the moment my latest system of praying the Hours (reading only three psalms at Matins, as is done in the Dominican Breviary throughout Eastertide), which enables me, a reasonably busy layman, to gain most of the benefits of the Office, has indeed brought blessings, such as this holy memorial. I was minded to reach for my second- and third-class relics, among which I have a holy card of St Martin complete with a piece of linen touched to his body: I paid due veneration to him through this. How apt, given that in many places to-day is also the feast of All Relics...
St Martin famously wears a now-suppressed variant of the habit of the Blackfriars; pray for Dominican lay-brothers, that their vocation prosper and not perish, and that they get back their proper habit of the black scapular, taken from them on the pretext of equality...
St Martin, son of Spain and son of Africa, son of a gentleman and son of a slave, born and bred in the new conquests of Spain in South America, trained as a surgeon, but aspiring after holiness as a Dominican Tertiary, was in course of time admitted as a lay brother to the convent of the Friars Preachers in Lima, where he exercised a humble and holy ministry as a true servant to all, both within and outwith, to the fathers and to the slaves, to orphans and dumb animals, filled with prayer and working wonders on all sides. All Lima lamented his passing: but with miracles he continues to coruscate and shine.
I know a Dominican who owes his parents' meeting, his birth and that of his siblings, and his vocation, to an apparition of St Martin in Melbourne in the last fifty years: an event implicitly commemorated in the Wallace window at St Carthage's Cathedral, Lismore.
Herewith, the Dominican Rite Proper for St Martin de Porres:
Officium (Ps. 91, 13-14)
Justus ut palma florebit: sicut cedrus Libani multiplicabitur: plantatus in domo Domini, in atriis domus Dei nostri. Ps. 91, 2. Bonum est confiteri Domino: et psallere nomini tuo, Altissime. Gloria Patri… Justus…
Deus humilium celsitudo, qui beatum Martinum confessorem tuum ad cælestia regna transire fecisti; ejus meritis et intercessione concede, nos ejus humilitatem ita imitari in terris, ut cum ipso exaltari mereamur in cælis. Per…
Epistola (Phil. iii, 7-12)
Quæ mihi fuerunt lucra, hæc arbitratus sum propter Christum detrimenta. Verumtamen existimo omnia detrimentum esse propter eminentem scientiam Jesu Christi Domini mei: propter quem omnia detrimentum feci, et arbitror ut stercora, ut Christum lucrifaciam: et inveniar in illo non habens meam justitiam, quæ ex lege est, sed illam, quæ ex fide est Christi Jesu: quæ ex Deo est, justitia in fide: ad cognoscendum illum, et virtutem resurrectionis ejus, et societatem passionum illius, configuratus morti ejus, si quo modo occurram ad resurrectionem, quæ est ex mortuis. Non quod jam acceperim, aut jam perfectus sim: sequor autem, si quomodo comprehendam, in quo et comprehensus sum a Christo Jesu.
Responsorium (Ps. 20, 4-5)
Domine, prævenisti eum in benedictionibus dulcedinis: posuisti in capite ejus coronam de lapide pretioso. V/. Vitam petiit a te: et tribuisti ei longitudinem direum in sæculum sæculi.
Alleluia (Ps. 63, 11)
Alleluja, alleluja. V/. Lætabitur justus in Domino, et sperabit in eo: et laudabuntur omnes recti corde. Alleluja.
Evangelium (S. Matt. xi, 25-30)
In illo tempore: Respondens Jesus dixit: Confiteor tibi, Pater, Domine cæli et terræ, quia abscondisti hæc a sapientibus, et prudentibus, et revelasti ea parvulis. Ita Pater; quoniam sic fuit placitum ante te. Omnia mihi tradita sunt a Patre meo. Et nemo novit Filium, nisi Pater: neque Patrem quis novit, nisi Filius, et cui voluerit Filius revelare. Venite ad me omnes qui laboratis, et onerati estis, et ego reficiam vos. Tollite jugum meum super vos, et discite a me, quia mitis sum, et humilis corde: et invenietis requiem animabus vestris. Jugum enim meum suave est, et onus meum leve.
Offertorium (Ps. 91, 13)
Justus, ut palma florebit: sicut cedrus, quæ in Libano est, multiplicabitur.
Hanc hostiam, Domine, quam tibi in honorem beati Martini confessoris sacrandam offerimus, benignus suscipe; et præsta ut ejus pia intercessione, nobis effectum tuæ salvationis impendat. Per…
Communio (S. Matt. xix, 28-29)
Amen dico vobis, quod vos, qui reliquistis omnia, et secuti estis me, centuplum accipietis, et vitam æternam possidebitis.
Cælestibus alimentis enutriti, supplices te rogamus, Domine Deus noster, ut beato Martino confessore pro nobis intercedente, tuis semper valeamus obedire mandatis. Per…