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St. Martin de Porres & His Furnace of Love

The three theological virtues God infuses into our hearts and souls are, of course, faith, hope, and charity. There is no question that St. Martin de Porres had a deep Catholic faith and a persevering hope in at­taining salvation through God’s aid. But the greatest of these God-given theological virtues is charity, or love, and it is here that we truly see Saint Martin in his greatest splendor. In my mind, he was a thinker and a doer indeed, but a lover par excellence.

St. Thomas compared love to a furnace, and the more powerful the furnace, the farther will it warm with its heat. Martin strove to bring that love to the ends of the world. Indeed, stories were told that God had given him the gift of bilocation, and he had mystically traveled to those places, as well as Africa and France. Some people who came to Lima said they spoke to him in those lands. Of this we can be sure: the furnace of Saint Martin’s love reached around the world.

A Love for Creatures

Indeed, the furnace of Saint Martin’s love warmed not only men and women, but all sorts of animals too! There are numer­ous stories of Saint Martin’s interventions, healing and feeding dogs, cats, mice, mules, cattle, chickens, et cetera. In one endear­ing story, he had a dog, a cat, and a mouse eating peacefully out of the same bowl. Although some people have considered this entertaining fair for the amusement and edification of children, some scholars have noted deeper levels of cultural and theolog­ical significance in these very numerous “little stories” people have told about Saint Martin. Some have noted, for example, that this story of the harmonious dog, cat, and mouse represents the harmony he sought to establish between the races of Peru.

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