Monday, August 10, 2009

Saint Lawrence, how I love you!

Today is the Feast of Saint Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr. The readings are 2 Cor. 9:6-10, Psalm 112, and John 12:24-26.

Here is the day's commentary by Saint Ambrose (circa 340-397), Bishop of Milan and Doctor of the Church on both the Gospel passage and Saint Lawrence himself. Enjoy! (Many thanks to the good folks at the Daily Gospel.

"If it dies, it produces much fruit"

When Saint Lawrence saw Bishop Sixtus being led to martyrdom, he started to weep. It was not the Bishop's suffering that drew tears from his eyes but the fact that he was going to martyrdom without him. That was why he began shouting after him in these words:

"Father, where are you going without your son? O, holy priest, where are you going in such a hurry without your deacon? Yet you have never been accustomed to offer the sacrifice without a minister!...Test it out that you have chosen a good deacon: would you refuse to share the sacrifice of your blood with him to whom you have entrusted the administration of the Lord's blood, with whom you share the sacraments?"

Then Pope Sixtus replied to Lawrence:

I have not forgotten you, my son, nor am I forsaking you. But to you I am leaving even greater combats to undergo. I am old and can only bear a light struggle. But you are young and there remains an even more glorious triumph against the tyrant to be won by you. You will be coming shortly; dry your tears; you will follow me in three days..."

Three days later, Lawrence was arrested. He was asked to bring out the Church's wealth and treasures. He promised to do so. The following day he returned with some poor people. He was asked where the treasures were that he had to bring. He showed the poor people, saying:

"These are the Church's treasures. What greater treasures could Christ have than those of whom he said: `Whatever you have done to one of these little ones, you have one to me.'"

Lawrence showed forth those treasures an so he was the victor, for the persecutor had no desire to take them from him. But, in his fury, he caused him to be burned alive.

Saint Lawrence, pray for us.
Pope Saint Sixtus, pray for us.
Saint Ambrose, pray for us.