Feast of Saint Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr
2 Corinthians 9:6-10, Psalm 112:1-2, 5-6, 7-8, 9, & John 12:24-26
Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence
Today the Church celebrates the feast of Saint Lawrence, who was chief among the seven deacons who served the Roman Church during the mid-third century. The young cleric held a position of great trust, caring for the goods of the Church and distributing its alms among the poor. He was arrested under Emperor Valerian in 258, laid upon a gridiron, and slowly roasted to death. Lawrence rejoiced in his martyrdom and died praying for the conversion of the city of Rome. From that time, idolatry began to decline in Rome.
It has been said that the blood of martyrs is the seed of faith. Lawrence’s martyrdom gave courage and a renewal of faith to an early community of Christians under persecution in Rome. We know that our spirits are lifted when we are inspired by the heroic dedication of a friend or loved one. We sense a hunger in us, especially the young, to find heroes, role models, and mentors. The word “martyr” in Greek means “witness.” We are certainly moved by people who witness an authentic life of faith.
The source of this power to inspire others is the deep desire to live our faith by giving our lives in selfless love. In faith, we know that it is the Spirit of Jesus, given to each of us in our baptism, that moves our hearts to love. When we are touched, inspired, if you will, we become connected with all of the martyrs known and unknown to us. This connection allows us to become witnesses and gives us the ability to inspire others, which is indeed a grace we desire profoundly and ask for continuously.
Question of the Day: How will you become a “witness to the poor” in imitation of Saint Lawrence, Deacon and patron saint of the poor?
Prayer: “God, by his ardent love for You, Saint Lawrence exhibited faithful service and attained a glorious martyrdom. Help us to love what he loved and to practice what he taught. Amen.” (From Lives of the Saints, Illustrated.)