Who is Saint Lawrence?
Updated: Aug 11, 2021
Today, August 10, is the commemoration of St. Lawrence. (It is also the day Jerusalem fell to the Roman army in A.D. 70 -- by the way--prophesied by Jesus in Matt 24-25)
I have become more and more interested in the martyrs lately. Maybe it was 2020 and the Covid pandomonia bringing death to the forefront of our hearts and minds. Maybe it is our present time and the forsaking of Truth. I don't know. Nevertheless, the many saints and martyrs of the Church provide for us a picture of life in Christ and show us what it means to die in Christ. They show us how to live, and how to die. I know we don't like to think about that last part.
In our time, living seems to be of utmost importance, living comfortably at any cost. But many of the martyrs felt the opposite. At least it seems to me. Lawrence was only in his late 20's. It reminds me of a verse from Paul, the Apostle, who wrote to the Philippians, "...but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Then (I wonder if any of us would say this) he writes, "I am hard-pressed between the two (living or dying). My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better." Can you believe that?!
The martyrs show us this faith, true faith. It is faith that shines in whatever circumstance, life or death, they know they are Christ's and he is theirs. There is nothing that can separate them from the love of Christ. Nothing. Not pain, not suffering, not an illness, not poverty or plenty, not persecution or comfort, not mandates or coercion.
They inspire faithful living and dying.
St. Lawrence was murdered by the Roman emperor who wanted the riches of the Church there in Rome. So, taking three days to do it, Lawrence gave away all the "riches" to the poor then taking the poor and the destitute and disabled, he approached the emperor and said, pointing to them, "here are the richest of the Church." It didn't go over well.
Take a listen to The Coffee Hour from KFUO Radio (Our nationally syndicated radio station). Here you will hear the two hosts, along with Pastor Bryan Woelfmueller, who has written some great books about the martyr's faith, discuss both the fall of Jerusalem and the faith of St. Lawrence and why it is important for us today.
May it be a blessing to you.
P.S. Church legend has it that St. Lawrence spoke, as he was being burned to death on a man-sized grill, "flip me over, I'm done on this side!" Hahah!!