St. Lawrence was a deacon under Pope St. Sixtus who was responsible for distributing alms to the poor. When Pope Sixtus was being taken to martyrdom, St. Lawrence followed weeping saying, "Where are you going without your deacon?" The pope assured him he would follow him in three days. So Lawrence sold what was left of Church goods and gave all that remained to the poor. When the local Roman prefect demanded he produce the Church's treasure, Lawrence asked for three days to gather it together. Then he brought the poor people of Rome and presented them saying they were the treasure of the Church. The prefect didn't think much of St. Lawrence's response and ordered him grilled. St. Lawrence earned fame by asking the executioners to turn him over because he was done on that side.
Consider the joy and sense of humor of the saints as they faced gruesome martyrdom. The Roman maryrs were famous for singing as they were led into the coliseum for slaughter. St. Thomas More asked his executioner to wait while he moved his beard out of the way of the axe assuring him it had committed no offense. Think of St. Ignatius of Antioch being led to martyrdom and rejoicing that the beasts would grind him like wheat to make him the pure bread of Christ. What a symbol of Eucharist to remind us that suffering represents the greatest union with our Savior. St. John Roberts, a Welsh priest hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn joked as he was led through the streets to the scaffold. When someone in the crowd called out why he didn't wear his cap, he replied, "Why, are you afraid I'll catch a cold?"
Think how many souls these martyrs brought to salvation by their suffering and death. Can't we accept and rejoice in our tiny sufferings when we think of these spiritual giants?
St. Lawrence, on your feast day, please pray for us.
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