November 3, 2017 – Thursday in the 30th Week of the Church Year

Saint for the day: Martin de Porres (December 9, 1579 – November 3, 1639)

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

Romans 9:1-5 – Psalms 147 – Luke 14:1-6

“Amen, I say to you: That you who have left all and followed me will receive a hundredfold and possess eternal life.” (today’s Communion antiphon: Cf. Matthew: 19:27-29)

 Note: Dominican Communities may use the following scripture readings for this feast: Isaiah 58:6-11 or Galatians 3:26-28; 4:6-7; Psalm 145; Luke 10:25-37 or Matthew 11:25-30)

 In the olden days before the canonization of St. Martin de Porres the Feast Day for the Lay Brothers in the Dominican Order was January 25th – The feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. This date most likely came about because Lay Brothers were officially called “conversi” going back to the time when lay Brothers were thought to be “thugs” who were “converted” from a previously wicked way of life. In some sense maybe we all need to see ourselves as “conversi;” as people who need to be knocked down a peg or two in order to “see the light.” The structure of the Dominican Order even in my own early days was such that lay brothers were free of any ambition to power or status and thus were kept in a place of quiet prayer – simple paters and aves – not even allowed to follow along with the Psalms of the Divine Office. There was little sense of “ministry” in that they performed various supportive tasks in the communities in order that the priests might be free to do the primary work of preaching and teaching. As always happens when change comes about, something was lost when lay brothers entered into the more public sphere and began to take up “ministries” of various sorts. In today’s Feast we are reminded that we all must recognize that every thing that we do is given by the grace of God and that He might increase in our lives so that it is no longer the “I that lives,” but Christ lives in me. This seems to have been easier when we were constantly reminded that we were all in need of continual conversion. St. Martin de Porres pray for all of us that we might receive the grace of internal conversion and follow the Lord in the darkness of a world that does not always recognize the Light of Christ. Amen!

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