Monday, November 3, 2008

How can we feed the hungry? - Part One: Martin de Porres

Greetings fellow Network of Love Lovers!

We really are fortunate to have the weather we have today. It's unseasonably warm...and sunny! I suppose the weather wouldn't suit a vampire from Transylvania very well, but I'm assuming it's highly unlikely that among the Network of Love Lovers we have vampires from that area. If we do, then I apologize; I don't mean to offend, just to say that from my viewpoint, the weather couldn't be any better today. Thank God!


This week, a number of groups on the campus of Loyola University here in Chicago unite to bring awareness to a worldwide struggle: hunger. November 2 - November 8 marks the annual "Hunger Week," at my school. We begin the week running by fasting (Though it would be really difficult to begin fasting with a run). Today, nearly 200 students at Loyola University Chicago have committed to fasting for nearly 12 hours, abstaining from both food and drink to remember the millions around the world who go without today. Known as the "Fast-a-Thon," and sponsored by Loyola Muslim Students' Association, the event is a time to feel hunger and fight hunger."

I signed a student pledge form that binds me to this fast. It was interesting to sign for a fast, and it made me seriously feel committed to the cause. For every student pledging to forgo food this day, a local business is donating food/supplies to our cause. The money we would be spending on food is instead being donated in our name to provide food for those who don't choose to fast. It is a rewarding trade-off.

The saint honored by the Catholic Church today is one that I actually recognize fairly well, and is one who was known to do his fair share of fasting. His name is Martin de Porres, and he lived in Lima, Peru in the late 1500s, early 1600s. His father was a Spanish knight, his mother a freed woman from Panama. Martin was accepted as a brother in a religious order known as the Dominicans. Martin worked with the sick his whole life, caring for them with what his peers would refer to as an endless patience. He would establish a hospital for sick children in his hometown and would also provide food for African slaves in Lima.

St. Martin de Porres holds a unique place in my heart because of his incredible love and service for the most poor and needy of his time and his work with children. I also find him to be a hero because he broke racial boundaries. He is remembered as a patron of social justice and a patron saint for African-Americans. Here is a link to a newspaper from today that gives a little more detailed blurb about Martin:|081103139730.html

I see a saint like Martin de Porres as a figure who could appeal to anyone, regardless of religious affiliation, seeking to bring social justice to society-at-small and society-at-large. It is interesting to note that, though he dreamed of being a missionary, Martin never left Lima. With all his work focused in one place, he was able to bring health care, food, healing to those in his city. His concentrated ministry can teach us all a thing or two about really putting stake in the place we are. As good as it is to give to organizations and to people all over the world, it is just as good to look to assist those in need in our own backyard.

How can we feed the hungry? How can I feed the hungry? I invite you to, along with me, reflect on this as you journey with me during our Hunger Week.

Blessings to all of you and I wish you a less-than manic Monday...How about a Miraculous Monday? Or at the very least a Middle-of-the-road Monday.


with love,

your friend bob.

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