Feast of Saint Lawrence,
Deacon and Martyr
(Celebrated 10 August)

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Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence - by VALENTIN DE BOULOGNE - from Museo del Prado, Madrid

 

John 12:24-26

Jesus said to His disciples: "I solemnly assure you, unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat. But if it dies, it produces much fruit. The man who loves his life loses it, while the man who hates his life in this world preserves it to life eternal. If anyone would serve Me, let him follow Me; where I am, there will My servant be. Anyone who serves Me, the Father will honor."

 

Feast of Saint Lawrence

Considered the first deacon of the Church, Saint Lawrence was born in Spain. He was summoned from Toledo to Rome by Pope Sixtus II in 257 A.D. and appointed a deacon with the responsibilities of assisting the Holy Father in celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and helping distribute Holy Communion.

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Saint Lawrence holding the Iron Grate on which he was burned to death. . . . . from Michelangelo's "The Last Judgement".

He was also placed in charge of Church property dispensing the offerings given by Christians to the poor and needy. Present when the Romans seized Pope Sixtus II, Lawrence wept bitterly, sad that he could not join his holy pontiff, but Sixtus consoled him as he was being led off, "Do not cry, my son, in three days you will follow me."

True to his word, Lawrence was arrested on the third day and the governor ordered Lawrence to turn over the coffers of the Church to him. Escorted by Roman soldiers, Lawrence headed out to retrieve the treasures for the governor. Little did the governor know that Lawrence was not gathering the monetary wealth, but rather the poor and the sick who he herded into the governor's palace and proclaimed: "These are the real treasures of the Church." Incensed, the governor ordered Lawrence to be placed on a gridiron and slowly roasted over burning coals, surmising that the young deacon would fess up where the monetary treasures were once he got singed. But to his dismay, Lawrence offered it all up in joyful gratitude that he could die for Jesus. Always witty, Lawrence infuriated the governor even further when he replied jovially, "Turn me over; I'm done on this side."

He joined Sixtus II in Heaven on August 10th, 258 A.D. with a smile and a prayer on his lips.