Aug 10 – Feast of St. Lawrence, deacon and martyr
St. Lawrence was a third-century archdeacon of Rome, a distributor of alms, and “keeper of the treasures of the Church” in a time when Christianity was outlawed. On 6 August 258, by decree of Emperor Valerian, Pope St. Sixtus II and six deacons were beheaded, leaving Lawrence as the ranking Church official in Rome.
While in prison awaiting execution, Sixtus reassured Lawrence that he was not being left behind; they would be reunited in four days. Lawrence saw this time as an opportunity to disperse the material wealth of the church before the Roman authorities could lay their hands on it.
On Aug 10, Lawrence was commanded to appear for his execution, and to bring along the treasure with which he had been entrusted by the pope. When he arrived, the archdeacon was accompanied by a multitude of Rome’s crippled, blind, sick, and indigent. He announced that these were the true treasures of the Church. He died a martyr for the faith.
Lawrence’s care for the poor, the ill, and the neglected have led to his patronage of them. His work to save the material wealth of the Church, including the documents, brought librarians and those in related fields to see him as a patron, and to ask for his intercession. And his incredible strength and courage when being grilled to death led to his patronage of cooks and those who work in, or supply things to, the kitchen. The meteor shower that follows the passage of the Swift-Tuttle comet was known in the middle ages as the ‘burning tears of St. Lawrence’ because they appear at the same time as Lawrence’s feast.
- Patron Saint Index
2 Cor 9:6-10
“but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest.”
Remember when Obi Wan Kenobi allows Vader to strike him down with Luke watching? Obi Wan then becomes some spiritual being that continues to help Luke. Eventually Vader helps Luke overthrow the evil Emperor and peace is restored in the galaxy.
Sounds familiar? A little like the grain Jesus talks about in today’s gospel. Once it germinates, sprouts, becomes a tree, flowers and bears fruit, no one remembers the seed anymore. But we look forward to the next seed again. The sacrifice of the seed, if it was a large tree, provided shade and shelter, habitat, allowed other life to grow and thrive around it and maybe it fed thousands of creatures, even humans. Then those seeds go into the ground and begin again. The circle of life as we know it.
The obvious example here is our Lord making the biggest sacrifice of them all in exchange for our salvation. Did it bear fruit?
When has our own sacrifice borne fruits?
My mother had a difficult labour with me and was conveyed to the hospital in an ambulance to bring me into this world. I think she was prepared to do whatever it took to give birth to me. Thank God she’s still with me now. But I am sure every mother and every parent for that matter, can relate to this concept of sacrificing for their children. When parents are older and need to be cared for, children make sacrifices to give their elderly parents a more comfortable old age.
Spouses are called to make the same sacrifices, to lay down their own will and wants for their spouse. In so many wedding sermons, the celebrant will speak of this and call the couple into a life of sacrifice. So that the other can bear fruit.
The examples are endless but today, let us reflect on the times someone made a sacrifice for us and also see where we can make sacrifices for those around us.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Daryl De Payva)
Prayer: Dear Lord, you made the ultimate sacrifice for us. Teach us to make sacrifices even in the smallest things.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for the precious gift of our lives. Teach us to count our blessings, to appreciate those around us, and to be like you in the way you sacrificed yourself for us.