August 10, 2008

The Feast of Saint Lawrence

Angelico's Lawrence helping the poor
Whenever I present my "Celebrations" talk across the country, I always mention St Lawrence's story. I don't know where we were but something was said about the church's treasure, and a younger Dawson was sitting across the room and looked at me then, and smiled. We were both thinking of Lawrence.

Little is known of Lawrence but his martyrdom around 258 made a deep and lasting impression on the early church because his story has been famously celebrated from the earliest times.

Lawrence was a keeper of the church's material goods. The emperor said to Lawrence, "Your doctrine says you must render to Caesar what is his. Bring me the church's treasures." Lawrence told him he'd need a few days to get everything in order.

After three days Lawrence gathered a great number of blind, lame, sick, orphaned and widowed persons, and said, "These are the treasure of the church". The emperor was not impressed and had Lawrence roasted alive.

Legend has it that after awhile, Lawrence said, "Turn me over, I'm well done on that side". He is the patron saint of barbecuers.
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