Monday, August 10, 2009

St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr

Today the church catholic gives thanks for the life, service, and faithful martyrdom of St. Lawrence, deacon and martyr.
From Foxe's Book of Martyrs*:

Now let us enter the story of that most constant and courageous martyr of
Christ, St. Lawrence, whose words and works deserve to be as fresh and green in
Christian hearts, as is the flourishing laurel-tree...Let us draw near to the
fire of martyred Lawrence, that our cold hearts may be warmed thereby. The
merciless tyrant, understanding him to be not only a minister of the sacraments,
but a distributor also of the Church riches, promised to himself a double
prey,by the apprehension of one soul.... With furious face and cruel
countenance, the greedy wolf demanded where this Lawrence had bestowed the
substance of the Church: who, craving three day's respite, promised to declare
where the treasure might be had. In the meantime, he caused a good number of
poor Christians to be congregated. So, when the day of his answer was come, the
persecutor strictly charged him to stand to his promise. Then valiant Lawrence,
stretching out his arms over the poor, said: "These are the precious treasure of
the church; these are the treasure indeed, in whom the faith of Christ reigneth,
in whom Jesus Christ hath His mansion-place. What more precious jewels can
Christ have, than those in whom He hath promised to dwell? For so it is written,
'I was hungry and ye gave me to eat; I was thirsty and ye gave me to drink; I
was harbourless and ye lodged me.' And again; 'Look, what ye have done to the
least of these, the same have ye done to me.' What greater riches can Christ our
Master possess, than the poor people, in whom He loveth to be seen?"

Laurence, Deacon and Martyr

Early in the third century A.D., Laurence, most likely born in Spain, made his way to Rome. There he was appointed chief of the seven deacons and was given the responsibility to manage church property and finances. The emperor at the time, who thought that the church had valuable things worth confiscating, ordered Laurence to produce the “treasures of the church.” Laurence brought before the emperor the poor whose lives had been touched by Christian charity. He was then jailed and eventually executed in the year 258 by being roasted on a gridiron. His martyrdom left a deep impression on the young church. Almost immediately, the date of His death, August 10, became a permanent fixture on the early commemorative calendar of the Church.

Almighty God, You called Lawrence to be a deacon in Your Church to serve Your saints with deeds of love, and you gave him the crown of martyrdom. Give us the same charity of heart that we may fulfill Your love by defending and supporting the poor, that by loving them we may love You with all our hearts, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


*edited by W. Grinton Berry, reprinted by Fleming H. Revell, a division of Baker Book House Company, Spire edition published 1998.


Michael said...

Where is the image of St. Lawrence from? It is quite spectacular!

Larry said...

Yes, I am also interested , especially since he is my patron!