Thursday, August 9, 2007

Feast Of St. Laurance The Martyr

Image from the The Catholic Forum.

From Chambers Book of Days:

This being a very early saint, his history is obscure. The Spaniards, however, with whom he is a great favourite, claim him as a native of the kingdom of Aragon, and even go so far as remark, that his heroism under unheard-of sufferings was partly owing to the dignity and fortitude inherent in him as a Spanish gentleman. Being taken to Rome, and appointed one of the deacons under Bishop Xystus, he accompanied that pious prelate to his martyrdom, anno 257, and only expressed regret that he was not consigned to the same glorious death. The bishop enjoined him, after he should be no more, to take possession of the church-treasures, and distribute them among the poor. He did so, and thus drew upon himself the wrath of the Roman prefect. He was called upon to account for the money and valuables which had been in his possession; The emperor needs them,' said he, 'and you Christians always profess that the things which are Caesar's should be rendered to Caesar.' Lawrence promised, on a particular day, to show him the treasures of the church; and when the day came, he exhibited the whole body of the poor of Rome, as being the true treasures of a Christian community. 'What mockery is this?' cried the officer. 'You desire, in your vanity and folly, to be put to death—you shall be so, but it will be by inches.' So Lawrence was laid upon a gridiron over a slow fire. He tranquilly bore his sufferings; he even jested with his tormentor, telling him he was now done enough on one side—it was time to turn him. While retaining his presence of mind, he breathed out his soul in prayers, which the Christians heard with admiration. They professed to have seen an extraordinary light emanating from his countenance, and alleged that the smell of his burning was grateful to the sense. It was thought that the martyrdom of Lawrence had a great effect in turning the Romans to Christianity.

The following is not the Gospel reading for the day, but I thought the words suitable for inclusion on the feast day of a saint who was mindful that the poor are the treasures of the church.

Matthew 25:37-40

Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”


Almighty God, who called your deacon Laurence to serve you with deeds of love, and gave him the crown of martyrdom: Grant that we, following his example, may fulfill your commandments by defending and supporting the poor, and by loving you with all our hearts, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


Psalm 112:1-9 or 126
2 Corinthians 9:6-10
John 12:24-26

Lawrence was a common name in my family. My grandfather and three of my uncles were named Lawrence. Two of the uncles were by marriage.

UPDATE: Padre Mickey and Jane have very nice posts on the Feast Day of St. Laurence.


  1. I liked this. I had never heard of St. Laurance... I get quite a varied education from you!

  2. Diane, thanks. I like doing the feast days because it brings to mind the "cloud of witnesses" who have gone before us. Then, too, with each of them I learn a little church history.

  3. Thank you for celebrating my name day

  4. Muthah+, thy name is Laurence? Or a derivative?


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