of Creighton University's Online Ministries
August 10th, 2011
School of Nursing
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.
St. Lawrence was a deacon in the early church and was entrusted with administration of the church goods and care of the poor. When facing certain death at the hands of Valerian, he was wise enough to preserve the property of the Church by distributing amongst the poor. His courageous albeit defiant act of presenting the poor, diseased, and disabled as the true treasures sealed his fate. Lawrence’s solid faith was so clearly evident throughout his torture and final death. What can we learn from his actions and faith? What can we do to protect the treasures of our Church? While most of us will never be in the position of being responsible for physical property of the Church, we are, nevertheless, guardians of the many treasures. These treasures include our beliefs as well as those we serve. How have we safeguarded those vulnerable persons who are part of our church body? A question for me to ponder and to find ways to answer through action, not just intention. That’s a hard one for me, for I always have those good intentions, I just “forget” to act on them sometimes.
Since my brother was also named Lawrence and died on August 8 – the readings take on a very personal meaning for me. This year marks the 50th anniversary of his death and it seems I have been given many opportunities to reflect upon it and its meaning in my life. Earlier this year, when I was preparing a Memorial Day speech for the American Legion celebrations in some small towns here in Nebraska, I reflected upon my brother’s death in service to his country. It was then that I realized it was 50 years ago -- a golden anniversary and a time for further healing. I believe it was a gift from God as is being assigned this particular day for writing a reflection. A gift of opportunity to search and find inner peace and understanding of this event.
I wonder if my brother in his short 20 years of life on earth was able to save any treasures as his namesake did – perhaps his greatest gift were the various reactions to his premature death. My mother entered into a series of daily prayers for him that continued for 48 years until her own death. Her faith was always unwavering and her role modeling of it was never more evident than after his death. My father turned to God for comfort and became a consistent church-goer and received the sacrament of communion regularly – things that were not behaviors for him prior to Larry’s death. The relationship between my sister and me deepened even more at our young ages, as we faced the awareness of our own vulnerabilities, and the need for faith to survive. The bond between us continues to this day 50 years later and stronger than ever.
The readings all celebrate the blessings of the Lord to us and the opportunities for us to pay homage to him through our actions and gifts to others. It is one thing to pray and tell God of our gratitude for the blessing, it is quite another when we demonstrate that gratitude in how we live our lives. There is no doubt that true prosperity comes as we give of our selves in thoughts, words, and deeds. We must take the abundance of our own lives and appropriately share it with others. It is through our giving and our dying of ourselves and selfish nature, that we will be granted eternal life.
One last thought on that ties together the martyr we honor and the commands of our readings – I found amid one of the write-ups on St. Lawrence:
“Father, you called Saint Lawrence to serve you by love and crowned his life with glorious martyrdom. Help us to be like him in loving you and doing your work. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”
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