Aug 10 – Feast of St. Lawrence, deacon and martyr
Lawrence was a third-century archdeacon of Rome, a distributor of alms, and “keeper of the treasures of the Church” in a time when Christianity was outlawed. On 6 August 258, by decree of Emperor Valerian, Pope St. Sixtus II and six deacons were beheaded, leaving Lawrence as the ranking Church official in Rome.
While in prison awaiting execution, Sixtus reassured Lawrence that he was not being left behind; they would be reunited in four days. Lawrence saw this time as an opportunity to disperse the material wealth of the church before the Roman authorities could lay their hands on it.
On Aug 10, Lawrence was commanded to appear for his execution, and to bring along the treasure with which he had been entrusted by the pope. When he arrived, the archdeacon was accompanied by a multitude of Rome’s crippled, blind, sick, and indigent. He announced that these were the true treasures of the Church. He died a martyr for the faith.
Lawrence’s care for the poor, the ill, and the neglected have led to his patronage of them. His work to save the material wealth of the Church, including the documents, brought librarians and those in related fields to see him as a patron, and to ask for his intercession. And his incredible strength and courage when being grilled to death led to his patronage of cooks and those who work in or supply things to the kitchen. The meteor shower that follows the passage of the Swift-Tuttle comet was known in the middle ages as the “burning tears of St. Lawrence” because they appear at the same time as Lawrence’s feast.
– Patron Saint Index
2 Corinthians 9:6-10
Do not forget: thin sowing means thin reaping; the more you sow, the more you reap. Each one should give what he has decided in his own mind, not grudgingly or because he is made to, for God loves a cheerful giver. And there is no limit to the blessings which God can send you – he will make sure that you will always have all you need for yourselves in every possible circumstance, and still have something to spare for all sorts of good works. As scripture says: He was free in almsgiving, and gave to the poor: his good deeds will never be forgotten.
The one who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide you with all the seed you want and make the harvest of your good deeds a larger one.
I tell you, most solemnly, unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest.
Anyone who loves his life loses it; anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it for the eternal life.
If a man serves me, he must follow me, wherever I am, my servant will be there too.
If anyone serves me, my Father will honour him.
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.
Recently, I’ve had to make some hard decisions about church ministry. I was serving’ in two different ministries; I put serving in inverted commas, because truthfully I had become just a member in name for one of the ministries. It had been weighing on my shoulders, the guilt that I was no longer an active member, yet still claimed to be a ministry member and enjoyed the benefits or ‘prestige’ that came with it. A priest advised me that it was not right to have one foot in and one foot out, and it was best to make a firm decision. I knew quite clearly that my call was to serve in the other ministry, but still it was difficult to officially call it quits as I clung onto the familiarity and security of the first one.
However, once I announced my decision to the ministry leaders and made the firm choice, I felt so much lighter. It felt right to focus on just this one ministry, especially when there had been multiple signs that this was my calling. It was just a matter of whether I was accepting and believing of the signs. And in doing so, I found myself being invited to do more in this ministry; I knew that since I had answered the call to serve in this ministry, I ought to say ‘yes’.
The latest ask of me, was to share my personal testimony, in front of a bunch of strangers. This was something I was somewhat willing to do, but not quite yet prepared to; I was unsure if it was the right time, and of course very fearful of a public sharing! I spent a couple of weeks discerning, and again I could not ignore the signs He gave me. But I needed the courage to say ‘yes’, and trust that no matter my readiness or the seemingly imperfect timing, God will make a way.
In today’s first reading, I’m reminded that “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.” I am also reminded and comforted that even though my gift is small, He will take it all and multiply, just like the five loaves and two fishes that fed the thousands.
(Today’s Oxygen by Kristel Wang)
Prayer: Dear Jesus, help us to remember to always run to you first, to trust that even though we are broken people, we are worthy of your love.
Thanksgiving: Thank you, Heavenly Father, for nothing is possible without Your grace. Thank you for taking what little we have, and multiplying the harvest in abundance.