A Vote for Charity: Weekly Message for 11-03-2020

Dear Friends in Christ,

Today, November 3, is providentially the feast day of St. Martin de Porres (1579-1639), a Peruvian lay brother of the Dominicans.

Patron saint of public health workers and those seeking racial harmony, St. Martin could be a fitting figure to unite a country such as the U.S., which has been torn by a pandemic and race-conscious protests. That his feast coincides with Election Day is particularly propitious.

When so many people are hanging their hopes on the outcome of the voting, St. Martin reminds us of the power of simply caring for the poor and sick and the needy around us.

Martin filled his days with worship of Our Lord and service to others, with scarcely a thought about politics. Even the racial slurs slung at him (his mother was of African and Native descent) didn’t deter him.

It was in his countless acts of charity that Martin gave fertile ground for the work of the Holy Spirit and for the Kingdom of God to shine.

Martin’s simple but extraordinary example could well be a tonic for people who rely too much on political processes as a road to happiness.

With good reason, Pope Francis warns in his latest encyclical, “Political life no longer has to do with healthy debates about long-term plans to improve people’s lives and to advance the common good, but only with slick marketing techniques primarily aimed at discrediting others” (Fratelli Tutti, 13).

Whether the latest election results elate or deflate us, we might keep St. Martin’s life in mind. 

No matter whose hands are on the political reins of the age, we can still reach out to the needy around us and do our part to keep the Gospel fresh and alive.

And to keep our sights high, a Retreat Guide on Christ the King might help.

In Christ,

Father Edward McIlmail, LC
Ask a Priest contributor

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