Today Mother Church celebrates the feast day of St. Lawrence, patron of deacons, the poor, cooks and fire. You might remember a fellow here several years ago over the summer, Charles Penalosa. He was a seminarian then but God called him to become a monk instead, so now he’s at Meinrad. He just made simple vows last week and took the name Lorenzo, after the saint we celebrate today. Let’s pray for Brother Lorenzo today. In any event, Lawrence lived a difficult life. But he remained joyful. He spent his life serving the poor, and to be sure, according to St. Lawrence, the treasures of the Church are the poor, the sick, the elderly. Real treasures are rarely glamorous. Here’s Wikipedia:
After the death of Sixtus, the prefect of Rome demanded that St Lawrence turn over the riches of the Church. St. Ambrose is the earliest source for the tale that St Lawrence asked for three days to gather together the wealth. He worked swiftly to distribute as much Church property to the poor as possible, so as to prevent its being seized by the prefect. On the third day, at the head of a small delegation, he presented himself to the prefect, and when ordered to give up the treasures of the Church he presented the poor, the crippled, the blind and the suffering, and said these were the true treasures of the Church. One account records him declaring to the prefect, “The Church is truly rich, far richer than your emperor.” This act of defiance led directly to his martyrdom and can be compared to the parallel Roman tale of the jewels of Cornelia.
Lawrence therefore died a martyr under Emperor Valerian in 258. As he was being roasted to death, he famously said, “Turn me over, I’m done on this side.” For that he is patron of cooks and fire. But he suffered mightily, and each year on August 10, there is a meteor shower. It called the tears of St. Lawrence.