From the Pastor
of the Lord
Preempts the 18th Sunday
in Ordinary Time – A
August 6, 2017
Twice a year: 40 days before Good Friday
and 40 days before the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, September 14, the Church recalls our Lord’s Transfiguration. To prepare us for the shock and horror of the Cross, Christ appeared in glory, outshining Moses [the Law] and Elijah [the Prophets]. Just as these two great Old Testament characters foreshadowed Christ and His saving deeds, Saints re-echo His victory over sin and death … which brings us to the Saint we honor on August 10: the patron saint of cooks, the poor, fire, and of all things, bankers and the lazy: Saint Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr.
Collect – Saint Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr
O God, giver of that ardor of love for you
by which Saint Lawrence was
outstandingly faithful in service
and glorious in martyrdom,
grant that we may love what he loved
and put into practice what he taught.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ … and ever. Amen.
ARDOR OF LOVE FOR GOD.
Saint Lawrence was born around 225 and died in 258 at 33 years of age, like our Lord. He died in the same violent persecutions ordered by the Emperor Valerian, who had Pope Saint Sixtus II beheaded on August 7, days before he had Saint Lawrence killed on August 10; these dates are still their respective feast days. This oration highlights Saint Lawrence’s ardor or his enthusiastic zeal and unswerving dedication to the Faith. For as the next two orations highlight, Saint Lawrence let nothing distract or divert him from bearing witness to Christ and to His Church.
Prayer over the Offerings – Saint Lawrence
Receive with favor, O Lord, the offerings
we joyfully make on the feast day of
Saint Lawrence and grant that they become
a help to our salvation.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
“BE SHREWD AS SERPENTS AND SIMPLE AS DOVES.”
While we know little historical data about Saint Lawrence, we know the 3rd and 4th Century Church already held him in great esteem – and that he lived by the words of our Lord: “Be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.” [Matthew 10:16]
As one of the seven Deacons of Rome, he and the other six Deacons personally served the Holy Father, Pope Saint Sixtus II, and oversaw the ministerial activities of the Church in Rome. Once the Pope was arrested and executed, they knew they were next … but instead of fleeing, they courageously and valiantly fulfilled their duties … of which Saint Lawrence deserved special credit. Since he oversaw the Church’s temporal affairs, he had the sacred vessels and other holy items – which he knew would be confiscated anyway – sold; then he gave the money to the poor.
So, when the Emperor demanded that all the Church’s treasures and riches be given to him, since, as he reminded Saint Lawrence, we must “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s,” he asked for three days to compile all the things the Emperor requested. On the third day, after gathering a great number of blind, lame, maimed, leprous, orphaned, and widowed persons, and putting them in rows, he simply told the Emperor’s representative: “These are the treasures of the Church.” This sealed his fate, and made him the patron saint of fire, bankers and the poor.
Prayer after Communion – Saint Lawrence
Nourished by these sacred gifts,
we humbly implore you, Lord,
that the homage of dutiful service,
which we render on the feast of Saint Lawrence,
may bring us an increase of your saving grace.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
“GOD LOVES A CHEERFUL GIVER.” Saint Lawrence truly heeded Saint Paul’s advice
[2 Corinthians 9:7] to be a cheerful giver. Livid with anger over being deceived, the Emperor ordered Saint Lawrence
to be grilled alive. But, as the legend goes, after roasting for a while, he quipped, “Turn me over; I’m done on this side.”
Thus, he is the patron saint of cooks … and of the lazy … since, as some say, he was too lazy to turn himself over. Saint Lawrence, pray for us.
In His holy Name,
Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS