Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thursday, First Week of Lent: San Lorenzo in Panisperna

The #40 bus that runs from the Vatican to the Victor Emmanuel monument, picked up one block from the Domus Santa Maria.  As today is the ninth day our pilgrimage, it was grand to see the bus packed with seminarians and other students headed for San Lorenzo in Panisperna to attend Mass.  We were all one big family in Christ.   

Beautiful depiction of the Martyrdom of St. Lawrence over the altar

St. Lawrence, martyred around 258, was one of the most beloved saints both in Rome and throughout Latin Christendom.  A deacon of the Roman Church, he found himself faced with the task of administering the Church after the arrest of Pope Sixtus II and four of his fellow deacons in the Catacombs of Callixtus. Meeting the pope while he was being led away to prison and execution, Lawrence begged to be able to accompany him.  The pope turned this request down, giving the deacon charge of the temporal goods of the church, while telling him that the deacon would follow his bishop in four days time.  Lawrence then went forth and gave away the material goods of the church to the poor in the city.  Soon he in turn was arrested and brought before the magistrates. When they demanded the treasures of the Church, Lawrence turned to the poor, saying that these were the true treasures of the Church.  Enraged, the Romans cast him into a dark prison cell near the site of today’s church.  There, he converted the jailer and his family.  He was then condemned to be burnt alive over a gridiron set up on the site of today’s station.  On the 10th  August 258, St. Lawrence suffered and died for his steadfast faith in Christ.  "Turn me over, I’m done on this side", he said to his executioners as he neared the end of his torture, and thus he passed from this world to the glory of the kingdom of God.

As we continue our lenten journey, although we may not be physical martyrs for Christ, we can profess our love through many acts of kindness to our neightbor, repentence for our sins, and forgiveness toward others.  

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