Yesterday was the feast of St.Lawrence, deacon and martyr. It is a day with special meaning for me because on August 10th seven years ago I was ordained a deacon, alongside my friend and classmate Vince Hansen.
. He was martyred in 258 in Rome, three days after the martyrdom of Pope St.Sixtus Ii and his deacon companions.
The deacon Lawrence was renowned for his love of the poor.
When ordered by the prefect to produce the treasure of the Church, Lawrence famously appeared before him with a crowd of widows and orphans, blind and crippled beggars and impoverished children and elderly people, the poor of Rome.
This so angered the prefect that he had the deacon scourged.
Then he was martyred on a gridiron over a blazing fire, dying after cheerfully telling his tormenters, "i'm done on this side, you can turn me over."
His example, both as one who loved the poor and as a courageous witness to the love of Christ reportedly so moved the people of Rome that many became Christians as a result.
The first reading from Second Corinthians for yesterdays Mass for the feast of St. Lawrence begins, "Whoever sows sparingly will reap sparingly and whoever sows bountifully will reap bountifully. ". There it is, in the life and death of the deacon Lawrence, a life given with great generosity, A life, like a handful of seed, sown prodigally, yet yielding such a rich harvest that Lawrence soon came to be regarded as one of the foundation stones of the Church of Rome.
As a deacon, as a disciple,, that is what I want to do with my life, to give it away lavishly out of love for Christ. May the example and the prayers of St. Lawrence help my life to be the seed freely given which will yield an abundant harvest.
[The wonderful photos of the St. Lawrence window of Bourges Cathederal are vy Stuart Whatling and are part of a an amazing collection of medieval stained glass and sculpture that he has documented and made available at www.medievalart.org uk]