Tuesday, August 10, 2010

White Martyrdom


Readings for Tuesday, August 10/Feast of St. Lawrence:
2 Corinthians 9:6-10
Psalm 112:1-2,5-9
John 12:24-26

Today we celebrate the feast of Saint Lawrence, a deacon from the 3rd Century. The story of his martyrdom is one that is more notable in the early Church. He was placed on a large rack and set atop a fire so that he would slowly burn to death. It is said that so joyful was he in his martyrdom that at one point he told his torturers ‘You can flip me over, I’m done on this side’ and just before his death ‘I think I’m fully cooked’.

When I had my conversion and really began to understand what it was to be a Christian, I often and fervently prayed that I would get the stigmata or be able to suffer some sort of really painful death to show the Lord how much I loved Him, how much I was willing to endure for Him. That prayer has yet to be answered and I doubt that it ever will, at least in the sense that I understood it. What the Lord has shown me is that I, and each of us, is invited to a white martyrdom – a death not of blood but of our will. It is giving up our will out of love from God and neighbor, dying to ourselves that others might live.

Our gospel today tells us that unless the grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies it remains but a grain of wheat, but if it dies it bears much fruit. The Lord is inviting us today to offer ourselves, to die daily – each and every day – in specific ways for God and neighbor. Saint Lawrence certainly lived this until the time of his read martyrdom. May we, through his intercession, also have the strength to daily pick up our cross, die to ourselves, and follow after Christ.