Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Saint Lawrence the Deacon
The Deacons of today must try to emulate Lawrence and his companion deacons, as today's world is very similar to the Rome of Lawrence's time.
Here is a very good bio of St. Lawrence from Deacon Keith Fournier.
Lawrence the Deacon
The year was 258. It was a difficult beginning for what would become the First Christian Millennium. Hostility against these early followers of Jesus Christ was growing. The barbarism and severity of pagan Rome had begun to reach a fever pitch. It would soon lead to a blood lust. The newborn Christian Church, faithful to the One who had given Himself for the life of the world, continued the work of His redemption.
Roman authorities charged Christians of that era with "odium humani generis" [hatred of the human race]. The Romans claimed to be citizens of a great empire, yet they practiced primitive forms of abortion as well as "exposure", the killing of unwanted newborns. They also tried to institutionalize approval of homosexual relationships on a par with authentic marriage. Emperor Nero in the first-century A.D. was not only overt in his homosexual relationships but sought to make them normative in the empire, to give an equal status between homosexual relationships and marriage. First and Second century Rome was a challenging mission field for these early Christians. Rome proclaimed itself the shining example to the world of its age while it violated the natural law and embraced debauchery.
The day that Deacon Lawrence experienced his birth from death to life was an ominous and frightful day in ancient Rome. Four days earlier, the great Bishop of Rome, Sixtus, was arrested by soldiers of the emperor Valerian, along with his beloved deacons, and beheaded. Valerian had issued an edict to the Roman Senate that all the Christian clergy—bishops, priests and deacons—were to be arrested and executed. There were so many holy people among the martyrs of early Rome. That makes it even more remarkable that the life and death of this one humble deacon—Lawrence—is attributed with "all of Rome becoming Christian."
Sentenced to death in the Emperor Valerian’s sweeping condemnation of all Christian clergy, Lawrence offended the Emperor—and thereby endeared himself to all Christians since—by assembling before Valerian the "gold and silver" of the Church. According to the tradition, Deacon Lawrence, knowing that the fervor of Valerians' hatred was extending to all Christians who owned property, began to give it all away. He distributed the money and treasures of the Church to the city's poor—believing the clear admonition of the Savior that they were blessed and especially loved by Him.
Read more HERE
St. Lawrence, pray for us, that the flames of divine love may burn away all traces of vice within us, and that we may be practical and zealous in the service of the poor. Amen.