St. Lawrence Deacon & Martyr – 10 August

This famous martyr of Rome lived in the third century. He was one of seven deacons who were in charge of giving help to the poor and the needy. When a persecution broke out, Pope St. Sixtus II was condemned to death. As he was led to execution, Lawrence followed him weeping. “Father, where are you going without your deacon?” “I am not leaving you, my son,” answered the pope. “In three days you will follow me.” Full of joy, Lawrence gave to the poor the rest of the money he had on hand. He even sold some of the Church’s possessions to have more to give away.

The prefect of Rome, a greedy man, thought the Church had a great fortune hidden away. He ordered Lawrence to bring the Church’s treasure to him. The saint said he would, in three days. Then he went through the city and gathered together all the poor and sick people who were being supported by the Church. He showed them to the prefect and said: “This is the Church’s treasure.” The prefect was furious. In his anger he condemned Lawrence to a slow, cruel death. The saint was tied on top of an iron grill over a slow fire that roasted him. God gave him so much strength and joy that Lawrence is said to have instructed his executioner, “Turn me over. I am broiled enough on this side.” Before he died, he prayed that the city of Rome might be converted to Jesus. He prayed that the Catholic faith would spread all over the world.

Lawrence died on August 10, 258. Devotion to him spread throughout Italy and northern Africa. Emperor Constantine built a beautiful basilica in Lawrence’s honor. St. Lawrence is among the saints mentioned in the First Eucharistic Prayer at Mass.

When we’re inclined to complain about something that bothers us, we can ask St. Lawrence to help us be patient. The martyrs had the grace to be faithful to Christ in terrible circumstances because they had been faithful to him in the little everyday situations that we all face.