Friday, August 10, 2012

He said what?

Today is the Feast of St. Lawrence of Rome - he's the patron saint of comedians.

Lawrence lived in third century Rome and was a deacon. In 258 Emperor Valerian thought the Christians had stashed away a significant treasure and he decided to persecute said treasure out of them. Valerian told Lawrence to bring the Church's treasure to him. Lawrence promised to bring it to him in three days. Lawrence showed up with the poor and sick of Rome declaring they were the treasure of the Church. Let's just say that Valerian wasn't happy and essentially condemned Lawrence to the barbecue. Lawrence was laid on a grill and slowly burned to death. He told the executioner, "I'm done on this side, turn me over." And just before he died he said, "It's cooked enough now." It's horrible and comic and fortifying all at the same time.

St. Tertullian said, "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church."  In modern conversation a martyr is someone who whines a lot in order to gain sympathy.  Yikes!  That's a serious "redefinition" for someone who died so as not to renounce her faith.  However, there may need to be a newer definition for martyr: someone whose reputation/business/life is destroyed by the media because he or she refuses to kowtow to secularism.  There are powerful people, modern Valerians, who can make or break someone with a comment or a "sound bite".

Being a faithful and practicing Christian (of whatever stripe) is akin to being a nut these days.  Public persecutions with barbecues are not currently in vogue, but ripping a Christian to proverbial shreds is perfectly acceptable.  As Christ said in today's Gospel (John 12:24-26): 

"Amen, amen, I say to you, 
unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies,
it remains just a grain of wheat;
but if it dies, it produces much fruit.
Whoever loves his life loses it,
and whoever hates his life in this world
will preserve it for eternal life."

Being a Christian means we have to put it all on the line for Christ.  What are you willing to say for Christ?  What are you willing to give up?  

St. Lawrence, pray for us.

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