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Tuesday of the nineteenth week in Ordinary Time – Odd numbered year

Posté par diaconos le 10 août 2021

If anyone serves me, my Father will honour him

Verse of the day John-6:37

Saint Lawrence or Laurence (Latin: Laurentius, lit. « laurelled »; 31 December AD 225[1] – 10 August 258) was one of the seven deacons of the city of Rome, Italy, under Pope Sixtus II who were martyred in the persecution of the Christians that the Roman Emperor Valerian ordered in 258. Lawrence encountered the future Pope Sixtus II, who was of Greek origin and one of the most famous and highly esteemed teachers, in Caesaraugusta (today Zaragoza). Eventually, both left Spain for Rome.
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When Sixtus became the Pope in 257, he ordained Lawrence as a deacon, and though Lawrence was still young appointed him first among the seven deacons who served in the cathedral church. St. Lawrence was thought to have been born on December 31, AD 225, in Valencia, or less probably, in Huesca, the town from which his parents came in the later region of Aragon that was then part of the Roman province of Hispania Tarraconensis.
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The martyrs Orentius (Modern Spanish: San Orencio) and Patientia (Modern Spanish: Santa Paciencia) are traditionally held to have been his parents. Lawrence encountered the future Pope Sixtus II, who was of Greek origin and one of the most famous and highly esteemed teachers, in Caesaraugusta (today Zaragoza). Eventually, both left Spain for Rome. When Sixtus became the Pope in 257, he ordained Lawrence as a deacon, and though Lawrence was still young appointed him first among the seven deacons who served in the cathedral church.
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He is therefore called « archdeacon of Rome », a position of great trust that included the care of the treasury and riches of the Church and the distribution of alms to the indigent. St. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, notes that Roman authorities had established a norm according to which all Christians who had been denounced must be executed and their goods confiscated by the Imperial treasury. At the beginning of August 258, the Emperor Valerian issued an edict that all bishops, priests, and deacons should immediately be put to death. Pope Sixtus II was captured on 6 August 258, at the cemetery of St. Callixtus while celebrating the liturgy and executed forthwith. After the death of Sixtus, the prefect of Rome demanded that Lawrence turn over the riches of the Church.
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St. Ambrose is the earliest source for the narrative that Lawrence asked for three days to gather the wealth. He worked swiftly to distribute as much Church property to the indigent as possible, so as to prevent its being seized by the prefect. On the third day, at the head of a small delegation, he presented himself to the prefect, and when ordered to deliver the treasures of the Church he presented the indigent, the crippled, the blind, and the suffering, and declared that these were the true treasures of the Church.
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# Salvation is a spiritual concept that means « deliverance and release ». The believer who has salvation is delivered and set free from sin, dissatisfaction and eternal condemnation (hell). He enjoys a relationship with God and thus has access to heaven. Soteriology is a field of theology that studies the different doctrines of salvation. The salvation of the soul is one of the fundamental themes of Christianity. It allows access to paradise. Its study is called soteriology. In Christianity, salvation is associated with Christ, who is considered the redeemer of humanity; thus soteriology is linked to Christology.

In Catholicism, it is offered through grace, the sacraments and good works. In Protestantism and Evangelical Christianity, it is offered by faith and grace alone. This notion covers a great variety of themes, which have been more or less developed according to the periods of history and the Christian confessions.

In the second century, Clement of Alexandria, one of the first Christians to master ancient classical philosophy, used many images to describe the salvation brought by Christ. He used the image of light that gives intelligence, or of music that softens hearts, tames wild animals like people, and gives them life.

In the fourth century, Athanasius of Alexandria described salvation as the fact that God, Father, Son and Spirit, dwells in man, already in this life. In the fifth century, the African bishop Augustine of Hippo developed the theme of salvation in his book The City of God. Salvation is expressed in terms of regeneration, beginning at baptism and ending in the resurrection.

Medieval theology, dominated by Augustinian thought, left little room for human freedom: Thomas Aquinas tried to organise around Augustine’s thought a metaphysical system that would reconcile grace and human freedom. He had to hold both the affirmation of divine action in every action of Man, and the affirmation of the freedom of this same Man.

Jansenism was a theological trend within the framework of the Catholic Reformation, which emerged in the years following the Council of Trent but which had its roots in earlier debates. It was linked to a long tradition of Augustinian thought. Jansenius, then a university student and later a professor, undertook to write a theological sum that would address the problem of grace by synthesising the thought of St Augustine.

From the Gospel according to John

24 Amen, amen, I say to you, if a grain of wheat that falls into the earth does not die, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 He who loves his life loses it; he who separates from it in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone wants to serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, my Father will honour him.  (Jn 12, 24-26)

Jesus gave his life for the salvation of the world

In contrast to all the dreams of a glorious Messiah that the disciples still entertained and to all the thoughts of human wisdom that could occupy the minds of the Greeks, Jesus affirmed in the most solemn way the absolute necessity of his death for the salvation of the world. The image with which he expressed this thought was full of accuracy and depth. The seeds had to be sown in order to germinate, to give vigorous plants and at harvest time to give a good yield of wheat.

It was to himself that Jesus applied this image. If he had not given his life for the salvation of the world, a few great religious and moral truths would have remained from him, and the few disciples he had gathered around him up to that point; we would not have seen the formation of a Christian Church, a new humanity, and the birth to divine life of the millions of souls who for more than twenty centuries have been the fruit of his death.

But if this absolute principle of the kingdom of God: through death to life, was true for Jesus, it was no less true for all its members. This is what Jesus positively declared when he said: « He who loves his life loses it; and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

The soul is the physical life and the psychic, natural life, with all the faculties whose activity manifests this life. He who loves it will refuse to give it up to death as Jesus gave up his, he who hates it in this world where sin reigns, will save it for eternal life, because it will be changed into eternal life. These words apply to all Christians, and they were of supreme importance to Jesus, for they recurred frequently in his discourses.

« If anyone serves me, let him follow me ; and where I am, there shall my servant be also ; if anyone serves me, my Father will honour him. (Jn 12, :26) There is a serious exhortation and a rich promise in these words. To serve Christ is to give oneself to him and therefore to follow him in his life and in his death. This path which he himself followed, leads with certainty into his glory. To be with Jesus where he is is the bliss and the glory of heaven, and thus will be perfectly fulfilled that precious promise : « My Father will honour him. »

Deacon Michel Houyoux

Links to other Christian websites

◊ Britanica : click here to read the paper → Saint Lawrence (Christian saint)

  St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr HD

Image de prévisualisation YouTube

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