Today we celebrate the feast of Saint Lawrence, deacon and martyr. Lawrence was born in Spain around 225 AD and later moved to Rome where he served as one of the seven deacons under Pope Sixtus II. Deacons were tasked with responsibility for the goods of the community and the allocation of alms to the poor.
Lawrence suffered martyrdom during the persecution of Christians by the emperor Valerian. He is one of the most venerated martyrs in the history of the church. His name is included in the list of saints in the first Eucharistic Prayer and he is remembered as one of the patrons of Rome.
In the gospel for today’s feast we hear Jesus say, “Whoever serves me must follow me.” The words for “serve” and “servant” come from the same root as our word “deacon.” The deacon Lawrence who proclaimed the gospel during the celebration of the Eucharist surely heard the words of Jesus that to be a follower of the Lord meant taking up the cross and daily dying to self in his service to the poor. Lawrence followed Jesus to the point of martyrdom and became a witness to the ultimate act of self-emptying after the example of his Lord. As we keep the memory of the martyr Lawrence, we too are inspired to proclaim the gospel by the witness of our lives.
At the end of the eucharistic celebration the deacon or priest announces, “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.” In what ways do you glorify the Lord by your life?
Let Us Pray:
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.
Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)