The Feast of St. Lawrence – Deacon & Martyr
Jesus’ words are clearly reﬂected in St. Lawrence’s life: he hated his life in this world – in other words, God and His poor ones were his priority before all else – even his own well-being. He was a true servant in all ways, a faithful follower to the end – to a horrendous death by ﬁre – roasted alive on a gridiron.
For this deacon, there was no turning back when faced with death for his belief in the Lord Jesus. Like the grain of wheat that experiences a kind of death in the soil and produces abundantly, so was Lawrence – the terrible ﬁre that consumed his body – a torment beyond imagination – was a kind of revelation, an expression of the ﬁre of divine love that consumed his heart, the experience of God Himself.
The holy martyr presents for our own Christian vocation an example of what life in Christ is about – ardent love of the Lord, of neighbor, especially of the poor. Such love, to be true in Christ, is an ardent love, never half-hearted, never self-serving – such is not of God, only a self-centered performance.
Ardent love – gracious giving, generous giving – can only come from God – it was not of Lawrence’s making nor of ours. The poor who received the deacon’s service were receivers of blessing as Lawrence was a receiver of divine blessing of holy strength – so us, we are always receivers before God. It is from this receiving that we are graced to give and give freely, graciously, generously.
Such receptivity is born of dying and rising with Christ, in Christ, through Christ. He is the Way.
The opening prayer of this Mass places before us Deacon Lawrence’s example: “…that we may love what he loved and put into practice what he taught.”