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
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
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
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
August 10th, 258 A.D. with a smile and a
prayer on his lips.