When we tell the truth about who we are and who we have been, the Spirit can move in us. The confession of our sin makes space for freedom. The slow exhale of what was once hidden invites the wind of the Spirit to blow. And on the wind, the saving grace of the Messiah rides.
—from the book Who Does He Say You Are? Women Transformed by Christ in the Gospels
✞ "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
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:1-3
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(c. 225 – August 10, 258)
Saint Lawrence's Story
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 Saint 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 Lawrence's death were known to Damasus, Prudentius, Ambrose, and Augustine. 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 of the altar 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.
Saint Lawrence is the Patron Saint of:
Feast of Saint Lawrence, deacon and martyr
Reading 1 2 Cor 9:6-10
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."
Meditation: 2 Corinthians 9:6-10 Saint Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr (Feast)
God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that . . . you may have an abundance for every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)
Openly following Jesus in third-century Rome was a risky business. Emperor Valerian II was killing believers right and left. Nonetheless, Lawrence, a deacon and trusted friend of Pope Sixtus II, continued his pastoral work with little concern for his own safety.
Eventually, the prefect of Rome ordered Lawrence to collect all of the Church's treasures and hand them over. But instead of gathering the Church's wealth together, Lawrence distributed it to the sick and needy. When the day came, he presented these poor people to the prefect, saying, "Here is the treasure of the Church."
This bold move sealed Lawrence's death sentence, but it didn't take away his joy. Legend has it that even as Lawrence was being burned alive on a gridiron, he said, "Turn me over; I'm done on this side." So just how did Lawrence face his death with so much courage and even good humor?
Today's first reading gives us a clue: God made his grace "abundant" for Lawrence, and it enabled him to give of himself in a heroic way. Probably long before this persecution began, Lawrence had developed a relationship with God. He likely had experienced forgiveness and had begun to allow that grace to shape his character. How else could he have the strength to stand up to the prefect so peacefully?
Most of us aren't living with daily violent persecution like Lawrence did. But we do face challenging situations every day. We have many choices to make. We can spend our day serving or expecting to be served. We can choose to forgive or to lash out. We can turn to Jesus or rely only on our own resources. If we can get in the habit of asking God for grace first as we approach the small things of life, we will be so much better prepared when the big challenges come our way.
So take a look at your schedule today. Ask God for the grace you need for each item on your agenda. He delights in making his grace abundant for you, just as he did for Lawrence.
"Lord, help me to receive your abundant grace today."
John 12:24-26 Psalm 112:1-2, 5-9
The Holy Word spoke today "...whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." So does this mean He does not love the stingy person? LOL. Truth is, they are self-rendered unlovable. We make ourselves unlovable when we do not give.
We prayed today " 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." Now, the key here is to read these prayers carefully, know what they mean, and take them to heart. The gracious one is blessed. Gracious means what? If you search the definition, the generic definition is: "courteous, kind, and pleasant", but I've met people like this and then find out they committed suicide. So no, that's not what the bible means here, so what's the other generic definition? It says: "(in Christian belief) showing divine grace". Now we are getting closer. For sure gracious, spiritually speaking, means giving, full of grace, like our blessed mother. You know, I just purchased a book from the Catholic Company (click to purchase) and the reason I bought it was because of a line they shared in an advertising email, a few lines from the book that said the Blessed Mother was praying ardently, and she was asking God to make her a part of His salvation, she wanted to help, she was all in, and then, the Archangel Gabriel appeared to her. This is being gracious with the Father, loving, more than obedience, but a true lover of God, one who loves God truly. And if you keep reading the Psalm prayer, it talks about conducting affairs with justice. What does justice mean? Spiritually, it means holiness. Conduct ALL of your affairs with holiness. Not the world's meaning of "justice". The "just one" shall be forever remembered. This means eternally, with the Father...Our Father.
In comes our Lord and Savior to us today: "Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life." Big question, "do you hate your life? or do you love it?" I am pretty disgusted with it. I'm tired of sinning. I want, that in Heaven, this concupiscence to be no more, this tendency to sin. I hate how my mouth just blurts out stupidities and my mind wonders off like a wild animal that I constantly have to keep in check with prayer and Holy Confession. I hate it. But it would seem that I like it, because I keep doing it. "Lord have mercy on me a poor sinner". This is a short prayer that a Carmelite Abbot Fr. Fabian taught us when temptations hits us. Lord have mercy on me a poor sinner.
Our Lord continues "Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be." Now in church life (the life of applying yourself) , there is a lot of serving going on, different ministries, evangelization, and so on. We serve in different ways. And so God is speaking to those who serve "if you serve Me, you must follow Me". He takes it a step further. Let the following lines strike you at the heart, and if it is offensive, know then, it is a truth we must face: I face many serving, and what they serve is poor service. There, I said it as softly as possible. Why do I need your pouty face when serving? Do you like a waiter at a restaurant that makes you feel like burden? Neither does God. It's as if we show up and say under our breath, "Here I am Lord, I come to do your WILL!!!" as if doing HIM a favor!? LOL, what's that all about? And we are so stingy! So selfish! It's nasty. Jesus says to the servers "Follow Me". And He leads to the cross of self, the crucifixion. It is no longer I that will live...but Christ!
At the foot of the cross were those who followed Him...Mary, His own mother, full of grace, gracious to the max, and a couple other women, and John, the beloved disciple. Brave souls, for the rest ran for their lives. He who loves his life will lose it. Yet one of those who ran was Peter, the "rock". My oh my, what God can do with a sinner is amazing. Peter then GIVES his life, with the grace of God. He follows the Lord indeed.
And now we are called too...to follow Him. Jesus loves His own. Now the question to the servers of God are this: What and how will you serve Him? Him Who is Love. The answer is Love. "The Father will honor whoever serves Me."