Today, as noted in the readings, honors Saint Lawrence, deacon and martyr. The history of Saint Lawrence is inspiring and affirming in our beliefs as Christians and Catholics – a remarkable man with remarkable faith and courage. The readings fill us with direction and hope encouraging us to open our hearts both to others and the Lord.
St. Lawrence was a deacon in the early church and was entrusted with administration of the church goods and care of the poor. When facing certain death at the hands of the Roman Emperor, Valerian, he was wise enough to preserve the property of the Church by distributing amongst the poor. His courageous albeit defiant act of presenting the poor, diseased, and disabled as the true treasures sealed his fate. Lawrence’s solid faith was so clearly evident throughout his torture and final death. What can we learn from his actions and faith? What can we/do we do to protect the treasures of our Church? While most of us will never be in the position of being responsible for physical property of the Church, we are, nevertheless, guardians of the many treasures. These treasures include our beliefs as well as those we serve. How have we safeguarded those vulnerable persons who are part of our church body? A question for me to ponder and to find ways to answer through action not just intention. That’s a hard one for me, for I always have those good intentions, I just “forget” to act on them sometimes.
The readings all celebrate the blessings of the Lord to us and the opportunities for us to pay homage to him through our actions and gifts to others. It is one thing to pray and tell God of our gratitude for the blessing, it is quite another when we demonstrate that gratitude in how we live our lives. There is no doubt that true prosperity comes as we give of our selves in thoughts, words, and deeds. We must take the many gifts of our own lives and appropriately share them with others. It is through our giving and our dying of ourselves and selfish nature, that we will be granted eternal life.
One last thought which ties together the martyr we honor and the commands of our readings, I found amid one of the write-ups on St. Lawrence:
“Father, you called Saint Lawrence to serve you by love and crowned his life with glorious martyrdom.” Help us to be like him in loving you and doing your work. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
By Nancy Shirley