Friday, August 10, 2018

Aug 10 - St. Lawrence

+ St. Lawrence was a third-century archdeacon of Rome, distributor of alms, and “keeper of the treasures of the church” in a time when Christianity was outlawed. On August 6, 285, by decree of Emperor Valerian, Pope Saint Sixtus II and six deacons were beheaded, leaving Lawrence, a deacon as the ranking Church official in Rome.

While in prison awaiting execution Sixtus reassured Lawrence that he was not being left behind; they would be reunited in four days. Lawrence saw this time as an opportunity to disperse the material wealth of the church before the Roman authorities could lay their hands on it.

On August 10 Lawrence was commanded to appear for his execution, and to bring along the treasure with which he had been entrusted by the pope. When he arrived, the archdeacon was accompanied by a multitude of Rome’s crippled, blind, sick and indigent. He announced that these were the true treasures of the Church. He was then led to execution. A colorful legend has it that he was burned on a gridiron where he instructed his executioners to turn him over in time because he was already done on one side; but another more reliable source tells us that Lawrence was simply beheaded like the seven who had gone before him.

Either way: Lawrence has always been known as one of the greatest and most renowned martyrs in all of Church history and a true inspiration for all to spend their lives and to give their selves entirely and completely to the Lord Jesus as his instrument in sanctification and salvation: even if it means death.

The first reading today finds St. Paul, who gave his all, telling the Corinthians that God is able to make every grace abundant for those who have decided to cooperate with him in doing his will and work; and in the gospel passage Jesus assures those whose cooperation involves the ultimate gift of giving one’s life – to any degree – but especially by the sacrifice of physical death – much fruit will result in the world, and for the giver of the gift in heaven.

Blessed Lawrence cried out: I worship my God and serve only him. So I do not fear your torture. God is my rock, I take refuge in him, so I do not fear your torture.

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