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».
On this feast day of St. Lawrence, we remember not only St. Lawrence, but all the martyrs who shed their blood for the faith. In today's world, it seems to me that God does not necessarily ask us to shed our blood, rather He asks us to understand that life is a gift from God, and this life belongs to God. It is in this sense that Jesus is asking us to choose Him (as the author of life) than the life itself.
If we accept this truth, and learn to live according to it, we will no longer have the fear of death, and even we will be able to accept death as a great gift from the Lord, though imposed by the society. Before this truth, life and death have the same value, for in life and in death we belong to the Lord, St. Paul tells us. In this belonging, God will honour us.
Action of the day ; Be aware that everything belong to God.
«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.