Blessed Martin De Porres was very big in our house when I was a boy.
My mother was certainly a fan but it was my granny who liked him most of all. She even subscribed to his magazine every month.
Granny was always solid in her beliefs. She had faith in lots of things but she had especially large amounts of faith in Blessed Martin.
As time passed, ‘Blessed Martin’ became ‘Saint Martin’ and granny became quite old.
She couldn’t get out of the house like she used to but she had her little St. Martin statue on the mantelpiece and he was company enough for her (as well as Granddad, of course).
During one Sunday afternoon visit, my Mum remarked that St. Martin was absent from his perch above the fire. She asked where he had got to.
“You know,” said granny, “how the wee light that comes on when you open the fridge door has stopped working.”
Mum wondered what this had to do with St. Martin.
“Well,” said Gran, “I just put him in there to see if he might fix it.”
I went to look. Sure enough, there was St. Martin, comfortably positioned between the eggs and the milk, having a ‘go’ at the fridge-door light.
Many years , I still have a smile over St. Martin being in the fridge but I often feel quite envious too. Ten years before she died, Granny was badly burned in a house fire. Her injuries were so severe that it was thought unlikely that she could survive. But, as with everything else, she prayed through St. Martin and offered up her setbacks to him and, despite all her burns and her skin-grafts and her pain, she prevailed.
My Granny didn’t put her little statue in the fridge because she was old or feeble or naive. She did it because she had solid unquestioning faith in what she believed.
This same faith undoubtedly went on to save her life.
So although I can smile at Granny’s faith, I can envy it too. I can wish that I sometimes had a little bit of it for myself.
I can’t say that I would put St. Martin in my fridge if the little light went out but I can say I look up to my Granny, who did.
And in Granny’s house that day many years ago, the fridge light was all fixed and working again by the time we went home.
You might say that somebody nipped out and jiggled it when nobody was looking.
You might well be right.
I like to think Blessed Martin took a hand.
@Ken Armstrong 2008