"Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love." — St. Therese of Lisieux
MEDITATION OF THE DAY
"When we generously accept God's Word, especially in the Commandments, we are doing God's Will in all things. To live the Will of God is the greatest sacrifice and personal denial." — Rev. Thomas J. Donaghy, p. 17 AN EXCERPT FROM Inspirational Thoughts for Every Day
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The esteem in which the Church holds Lawrence is seen in the fact that today's celebration ranks as a feast. We know very little about his life. He is one of those whose martyrdom made a deep and lasting impression on the early Church. Celebration of his feast day spread rapidly.
He was a Roman deacon under Pope St. Sixtus II. Four days after this pope was put to death, Lawrence and four clerics suffered martyrdom, probably during the persecution of the Emperor Valerian.
Legendary details of his death were known to Damasus (Dec 11), Prudentius, Ambrose (December 7) and Augustine (August 28). The church built over his tomb became one of the seven principal churches in Rome and a favorite place for Roman pilgrimages.
A well-known legend has persisted from earliest times. As deacon in Rome, Lawrence was charged with the responsibility for the material goods of the Church, and the distribution of alms to the poor. When Lawrence knew he would be arrested like the pope, he sought out the poor, widows and orphans of Rome and gave them all the money he had on hand, selling even the sacred vessels to increase the sum. When the prefect of Rome heard of this, he imagined that the Christians must have considerable treasure. He sent for Lawrence and said, "You Christians say we are cruel to you, but that is not what I have in mind. I am told that your priests offer in gold, that the sacred blood is received in silver cups, that you have golden candlesticks at your evening services. Now, your doctrine says you must render to Caesar what is his. Bring these treasures—the emperor needs them to maintain his forces. God does not cause money to be counted: He brought none of it into the world with him—only words. Give me the money, therefore, and be rich in words."
Lawrence replied that the Church was indeed rich. "I will show you a valuable part. But give me time to set everything in order and make an inventory." After three days he gathered a 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 angry he told Lawrence that he would indeed have his wish to die—but it would be by inches. He had a great gridiron prepared, with coals beneath it, and had Lawrence's body placed on it. After the martyr had suffered the pain for a long time, the legend concludes, he made his famous cheerful remark, "It is well done. Turn me over!"
Once again we have a saint about whom almost nothing is known, yet one who has received extraordinary honor in the Church since the fourth century. Almost nothing—yet the greatest fact of his life is certain: He died for Christ. We who are hungry for details about the lives of the saints are again reminded that their holiness was, after all, a total response to Christ, expressed perfectly by a death like this.
Patron Saint of:
Sacred Space (stop, slow down, breathe, we're about to receive the Word of God) Daily Prayer - 2016-08-10
"Come to me all you who are burdened and I will give you rest" Here I am, Lord. I come to seek Your presence. I long for your healing power.
God is not foreign to my freedom. Instead the Spirit breathes life into my most intimate desires, gently nudging me towards all that is good. I ask for the grace to let myself be enfolded by the Spirit.
In the presence of my loving Creator, I look honestly at my feelings over the last day, the highs, the lows and the level ground. Can I see where the Lord has been present?
Brothers and sisters: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written:
He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.
The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 112:1-2, 5-6, 7-8, 9
R. (5) Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need. Blessed the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commands. His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth; the upright generation shall be blessed.
R. Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need. Well for the man who is gracious and lends, who conducts his affairs with justice; He shall never be moved; the just one shall be in everlasting remembrance.
R. Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need. An evil report he shall not fear; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD. His heart is steadfast; he shall not fear till he looks down upon his foes.
R. Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need. Lavishly he gives to the poor, his generosity shall endure forever; his horn shall be exalted in glory.
R. Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need.
Alleluia Jn 8:12bc R. Alleluia, alleluia. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life, says the Lord. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Jn 12:24-26
Jesus said to his disciples: "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ Jesus is so comfortable with imagery from the garden and the field. He has seen so much of this in his life in a modest rural town.
▪ Setting the seed in the ground rather than keeping it in storage gives it the potential for growing into a whole new sheaf.
▪ What would be the earth of your experience in which to set the seed of the Word? Where is there soil in which God's Word could grow? Have you thought of planting it?
I begin to talk to Jesus about the piece of scripture I have just read. What part of it strikes a chord in me? Perhaps the words of a friend - or some story I have heard recently - will slowly rise to the surface in my consciousness. If so, does the story throw light on what the scripture passage may be trying to say to me?
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.
One mistake common to many beginning gardeners is to underestimate the zucchini they plant. They don't appreciate just how fruitful these seeds can be. Just one seed, for example, can produce up to nine pounds of food. So planting just a couple of seeds can quickly result in a zucchini avalanche that leaves a gardener scrambling for clever recipes.
Perhaps this idea of a few seeds yielding an overwhelmingly large harvest is an appropriate way to celebrate today's feast of St. Lawrence. This third-century Roman deacon was known for his care for the poor and his courage and good humor in a time of intense persecution. According to tradition, when he was martyred by being roasted alive, he called out, "Turn me over; I'm done on this side."
News of Lawrence's courage and faith led many people in Rome to turn to the Lord despite the persecution. Even after his death, his miracles continued to prove that every good work that we sow in the name of the Lord reaps huge dividends. For example, St. Gregory of Tours tells the story of a large group of workers who ran out of food as they were rebuilding a church dedicated to St. Lawrence. When they prayed to their patron, the one loaf of bread that remained in their basket multiplied to feed all of the workers for ten days.
God's abundant grace and mercy can lead us to reap so much more than we can sow. Every prayer of intercession, every act of kindness, every decision to forgive—they can all produce baskets of blessings for the people around us. So don't shy away from the opportunities that will present themselves to you today. Remember St. Lawrence. Remember the miracles. Remember the zucchini! Then go ahead, and sow your seed.
"Lord, I believe that any seed of good I plant will be multiplied by your abundant grace. Give me the courage to continue to plant seeds and rejoice in your harvest."
my2cents: Says the Lord today: "Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully." This is to say the Lord gives generously, and I would say more than generously, I would say, He gives so much that a person can not handle. Can you handle the truth? I've tried to witness to people that can not handle what I am saying, one person literally covered their ears, another changes the subject, and another just seems to let it go in one ear and out the other, so what is a poor boy to do? Keep giving to the poor. And giving to the poor is forever, it is not a one time thing, as if you could say to the Lord "Oh yeah, I gave one time to so and so". No, it is today, what are you doing today, at the present moment, because God lives in the present, this is the gift. We prayed the Psalm "Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need." If God gives graciously and lends, who am I not to be so? Who am I not to be a giver, a sower of seeds? And who am I not to be a seed of God that has to die in order for the world to flourish? I just wrote a song and recorded it on Sunday and one verse says "test my courage and see what will flourish". That is to say that we are constantly growing and showing. My daughter Bella Faith (beautiful Faith), keeps telling me every day she is taking care of a plant that is sprouting of the flower pot. I can tell it is being watered. In other words, your beautiful faith will grow so long as you keep watering it with Christ and the water that He provides. We grow to Heaven, we don't just go. In comes our Lord from Heaven: "...if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it" and our Lord leads the way, and dies, and is put in the ground, and this act alone yields millions and millions of times over constantly. You have to have that kind of faith, the kind that shows the way, and not just talks about the Way. Then our Lord says "Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be." So if you are serving Him, then follow Him, do as He says. Because I meet people in so many different ministries and I wonder "where in the world is Jesus in your life!!?", I see these people fighting for life and after getting to know them I asked one man "you mean you don't go to Church every Sunday to receive the Holy Eucharist because it's not said in Latin?" It's like saying you don't believe in Jesus fully. I heard another in a choir long time ago sounding hopeless about his boy's girl friend and I said "we can pray for her" and he replied "no it's going to take alot more than that?", say what? I was baffled. As if to say we can not trust in the Lord? At some point in our lives, we are just going to have to let go, and that is the moment of true faith. You keep hanging on to whatever, your ex-spouse, your job that's on the line, your hopeless and fruitless efforts to have a child, at some point you must give it UP to God and say "You know what Lord, it's yours, I love you more now". This is the first death. And it is a beautiful part of life...faith. So if you serve God, you must follow God to this death, this faith. Because He continues "where I am, there also will my servant be." So if you find yourself being served, consider it as the Lord serving you. And now, you must find yourself doing the serving, and what we are serving is important...serve Love...Serve God. Serve Him in the poorest of souls, at any given moment of your life, they come to you, to your door, and perhaps you will serve salvation. And remember what our Lord said today, "The Father will honor whoever serves me." Serve Jesus, bountifully, generously, graciously, and this is the only way to reap bountifully, generously, and full of grace. Giving is a one way deal.