“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church… must take up.” Karol Cardinal Wotyla (Sept. 1976)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Feast Day of St. Lawrence

Today is the Feast Day of St. Lawrence, Deacon of Rome. St. Lawrence has one of the greatest and most theatrical martyr stories of all the saints.

By Catholic tradition, St. Lawrence followed Pope St. Sixtus II to the Holy Father's execution, under the persecution of Emperor Valerian, by traveling a few steps behind him the whole way. The legend states that the Holy Father told Lawrence that he would follow his martyrdom three days later.

After the death of the pontiff, the prefect of Roman demanded that Lawrence bring all the Church's treasures to him, so they could use it to support Rome's military agenda. Lawrence asked for a few days to get all the treasures together. Over the next few days, Lawrence distributed anything of value that the Church had to the poorest of Rome.

On the third day, Lawrence filled the prefect's auditory "with great number of blind, lame, maimed, leprous, orphaned and widowed persons and put them in rows. When the prefect arrived, Lawrence simply said, “These are the treasure of the Church.”"

The prefect was so furious that he condemn Lawrence on the spot to the horrible death of being grilled alive. A while into his martyrdom, dying on the grill, St. Lawrence kept his joy and joke to his executioners that he was done on one side and should be flipped over.

St. Lawrence was martyred on August 10, in the year 258 A.D. When you see dates like 258 A.D., you realize the powerful heritage of our Faith.


Alycin said...

Sometimes I am really scared that I might not be able to keep proclaiming a faith in God when faced with deaths like being grilled alive or boiled in a vat of oil. I hope I would be able to, but holy cow, it's hard to imagine.

cg said...

Dante gave an account of St Lawrence's martyrdom in one of the comedy's (Paradiso, maybe). As the tale is told, St Lawrence lay on the grill for sometime when suddenly he looked up at his murderers and said, "Think I'm done on this side, turn me over for a time and I'll be ready to eat!"

Seriously, that's the story.