Today, we observed the World Day of Consecrated Life. I found myself this morning back at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in downtown Houston for Sunday mass celebrated by Cardinal DiNardo. The mass also served to honor those who have given themselves to God in consecrated life. I was there primarily under an invitation given to our group of Dominican Laity to support our religious promoter, who had been invited to preach the homily. Later in the afternoon, I met with my Lay Dominican group for an extraordinary and very necessary meeting.
The homily started and ended around the humble example of St. Martin de Porres, as particularly exhibited by a statue in the courtyard of Holy Rosary parish in Houston. In the statue, Martin clutches, with one hand, the crucifix of Our Lord close to his heart, and in his other hand, he holds a broom -- the broom of his service as keeper of the priory. For Martin, all work was sacred, however menial. Martin's embrace of poverty and his embrace of the dignity of work (both seemingly counter cultural today) were essential to his vocation and his witness, not only as a religious cooperator brother for those in consecrated life, but to all who witness in the world today. It is in this dignity of holy work, offered to God in humility and transformed by Him, that we witness the extraordinary grace at work within ordinary life. Martin held a broom in one hand and preached Christ and Him Crucified from his heart. Martin's work, and indeed his very life, preached Christ.
Some of us are called to professions that may not include a broom, but let us still strive to cling to that Cross, holding it always to our hearts, as we go about our work and our daily activities -- living out that grace in the good works God has prepared for us to live. If we do that, our work, our very lives, will indeed preach, just as Martin's did.