St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr
August 10

The Office of Readings


From the Common of One Martyr, except the following:


FIRST READING          Acts 6:1-6;8:1b,4-8
In those days, as the number of disciples grew, the ones who spoke Greek complained that their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food, as compared with the widows of those who spoke Hebrew. The Twelve assembled the community of the disciples and said, “It is not right for us to neglect the word of God in order to wait on tables. Look around among your own number, brothers, for seven men acknowledged to be deeply spiritual and prudent, and we shall appoint them to this task. This will permit us to concentrate on prayer and the ministry of the word.”

The proposal was unanimously accepted by the community. Following this they selected Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit; Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus of Antioch, who had been a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who first prayed over them and then imposed hands on them.

That day saw the beginning of a great persecution of the church in Jerusalem. All except the apostles scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria.

The members of the church who had been dispersed went about preaching the word. Philip, for example, went down to the town of Samaria and there proclaimed the Messiah. Without exception, the crowds that heard Philip and saw the miracles he performed attended closely to what he had to say. There were many who had unclean spirits, which came out shrieking loudly. Many others were paralytics or cripples, and these were cured. The rejoicing in that town rose to fever pitch.


RESPONSORY            Matthew 10:32; John 12:26
If anyone declares himself for me before men
 - I will declare myself for him before my Father in heaven.

If anyone wishes to serve me,
he must follow me,
and where I am,
there my servant will be with me.
 - I will declare myself for him before my Father in heaven.


SECOND READING

From a sermon by Saint Augustine, bishop
(Sermo 304,1-4: PL 38, 1395-1397)

He ministered the sacred blood of Christ

The Roman Church commends to us today the anniversary of the triumph of Saint Lawrence. For on this day he trod the furious pagan world underfoot and flung aside its allurements, and so gained victory over Satan's attack on his faith.

As you have often heard, Larence was a deacon of the Church at Rome. THere he ministered the sacred blookd of Christ; there for the sake of Christ's name he poured out his own blood. Saint John the apostle was evidently teaching us about the mystery of the Lord's supper when he wrote:Just as Christ laid down his life for us, so we ought to lay down our lives for the brethen.My brethen, Lawrence understood this and, understanding, he acted on it. Just as he had partaken of a gift of self at the table of the Lord, so he prepared to offer such a gift. In his life he loved Christ;in his death he followed in his footsteps.

Brethren, we too must imitate Christ if we truly love him. We shall not be able render better return on that love than by modeling our lives on his. Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow in his steps.In saying this, the apostle Peter seems to have understood that Christ suffered only for those who follow in his steps, in the sense that Christ's passion is of no avail to those who do not. The holy martyrs followed Christ even to shedding their life's blood,even to reproducing the very likeness of his passion. They followed him, but not they alone. It is not true that the bridge was broken after the martyrs crossed; nor is it true that after they had drunk from it, the fountain of eternal life dried up.

I tell you again and again, my brethren, that in the Lord's garden are to be found not only the roses of his martyrs.In it there are also the lilies of the virgins, the ivy of wedded couples, and the violets of widows.On no account may any class of people despair, thinking that God has not called them. Christ suffered for all. What the Scriptures say of him is true:He desires all men to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.

Let us understand, then, how a Christian must follow Christ even though he does not shed his blood for him,and his faith is not called upon to undergo the great test of the martyr's suffereings.The apostle Paul says of Christ our Lord:Though he was in the form of God he did not consider equality with God a prize to be clung to.How unrivaled his majesty!But he emptied himself, taking on the form of a slave, made in the likeness of men, and presenting himself in human form.How deep his humility!

Christ humbled himself. Christian, that is what you must make your own. Christ became obedient.How is it that you are proud?When this humbling experience was completed and death itself lay conquered,Christ ascended into heaven.Let us follow him there, for we hear Paul saying: If you have been raised with Christ, you must lift your thoughts on high, where Christ now sits at the right hand of God.


RESPONSORY
Blessed Lawrence cried out:
I worship my God
and serve only him.
 - So I do not fear your torture.

God is my rock; I take refuge in him.
 - So I do not fear your torture.


COLLECT
O God, giver of that ardor of love for you
by which Saint Lawrence was outstandingly faithful in service
and glorious in martyrdom,
grant that we may love what he loved
and put into practice what he taught.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. The English translation of Psalm Responses, Alleluia Verses, Gospel Verses from Lectionary for Mass © 1969, 1981, 1997, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation (ICEL); the English translation of Antiphons, Invitatories, Responsories, Intercessions, Psalm 95, the Canticle of the Lamb, Psalm Prayers, Non-Biblical Readings from The Liturgy of the Hours © 1973, 1974, 1975, ICEL; excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 2010, ICEL. All rights reserved. Used with permission.



 
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