Jesus said, «Truly, I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Those who love their life destroy it, and those who despise their life in this world keep it for everlasting life. Whoever wants to serve me, let him follow me and wherever I am, there shall my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him».
The glorification which comes from the Father is narrowly related to the divine will. This divine will can be discerned only when we are a liberated and free people. If our life and actions are conditioned purely by social or popular will, according to already established system, then we become directly or indirectly slave to such elements.
Jesus wishes that we act like God, full in liberty, like a free citizens of the Kingdom of God. This detachment will help us to attach to the divine will, which is narrowly connected to the human will, as willed by God, in our own nature.
The more we act humanly with compassion and love, the more we act like divine. In Jesus’ humanity, our humanity finds its divinity. Just like Jesus we should learn to detach from all that are not of our nature, as willed by God. It is in this detachment that God finds His glory in us. It is in this same detachment that Deacon Lawrence could serve the poor, earning the enmity of the powerful emperor.
«Whoever wants to serve me, let him follow me and wherever I am, there shall my servant be also»
Fr. Antoni CAROL i Hostench
(Sant Cugat del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain)
Today, the Church —through the liturgy of the Eucharist celebrating the feast of St. Lawrence, the roman martyr— reminds us that «there exists a testimony of coherence that all Christians must be willing to give, even at the cost of great sacrifice and suffering» (Saint John Paul II).
Moral law is saint and inviolable. This assertion, certainly contrasts with the relativistic environment abounding now a days, whereas we tend to easily adapting ethical demands to our personal comfort or to our own weaknesses. We shall certainly not find anyone admitting: —I am immoral; —I am unconscious; —I am a person without truth... Anyone admitting these facts would automatically and immediately disqualify himself.
The definite question would therefore be: what moral, what conscience and what truth are we talking about? It is evident that social peace and healthy coexistence cannot be based on a “moral à la carte”, where each one chooses his own way, without bearing in mind the inclinations and aspirations the Creator has set out for our nature. This “moral”, far from leading us trough the «paths of righteousness» towards the «green pastures» the Good Shepherd wants for us (cf. Ps 23:1-3), it would irremediably take us to the quicksand of the “moral relativism”, where absolutely everything can be debated, agreed upon and justified.
Martyrs are unappealable testimonies of the saintliness of the moral law: there are basic demands of love that accept neither exceptions nor adaptations. In fact, «in the New Covenant we can find numerous testimonies followers of Christ that (...) accepted persecutions and death before making the idolatrous gesture of burning incense before the statue of the Emperor» (Saint John Paul II).
In the Roman environment of emperor Valerian, the deacon «St. Lawrence loved Christ in life, and imitated Christ unto death» (St. Augustine). And, once again, we see confirmed that «the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life» (Jn 12:25). Luckily for us, the memory of St. Lawrence will perpetually remain as a signal that to follow Christ is worth offering our life rather than admitting frivolous interpretations of his path.