Posted by: fvbcdm | August 10, 2012

Feast of Saint Lawrence (10 August 2012)

This Friday, August 10, is the feast of Saint Lawrence, one of the most prominent of the Roman martyrs, a deacon who was in charge of the gathering of food, clothing, and housing for the poor of the city of Rome during his time.  He was captured by the anti-Christian forces of the emperor, Valerian, and put to death because of his adherence to Our Lord Jesus Christ in the year 258.  One of Rome’s basilicas stands near the main railroad station of the city and bears his name.  


When we read in our liturgical Office of Readings today, we find a passage by Saint Augustine which is very instructive.  Augustine quotes Saint Paul as saying “Christ suffered for us all, leaving us an example, that we should follow in his steps.”  But lest we be misled, Saint Augustine makes it clear that our lives don’t have to end in martyrdom as did that of Our Lord. He tells us: I tell you . . . that in the Lord’s garden there are to be found not only the roses of his martyrs, but also the lilies of the virgins, the ivy of wedded couples, and the violets of the widows.  No class of people may despair, thinking that God has not called them.  Christ suffered for all.  What the Scriptures say of him is true: “He desires all men to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.”


It is interesting that Augustine uses the world of flowers as an example of the variety of ways of following Christ in our world.  There are martyrs whose blood is red like roses; there are the lilies of the unmarried, wedded couples who cling to one another like ivy clings to trees or walls, and there are the widows whose sorrow at being left alone is symbolized by the violets with their color purple.  Are there others, too?  Of course!  The world of flowers contains many species; the Church likewise is composed of many people in different ways of life.  We might not be able to think of appropriate flowers to symbolize housewives, businessmen, members of the military, students, merchants, artists, and those whose vocation is a life of illness, but they are the living stones in the temple of the Church and are very precious to God.  Let’s not underestimate ourselves just because others consider us unimportant or treat us as if we were.  Let us do our best, and then let God be the judge, always asking him for his mercy and compassion.  Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

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