A Brief Reflection for the Feast of Saint Lawrence the Martyr

Today is the Feast of Saint Lawrence the Deacon, whose martyrdom in the Third Century gives us a salutary example to follow in these days when the same sort of prefects who demand his death believe that believing Catholics are “haters” who must be punished in some manner or another. The day is coming, if God does not intervene, when we may suffer something of the same fate as this holy martyr, whom Holy Church has honored with a simple octave for many centuries.

Here is the account of his life written by none other than Pope Saint Leo the Great as found in the readings for Matins in today’s Divine Office:

Then the fury of the heathen power was raging against Christ's choicest members, in aiming in especial at such as were of the Priestly Order, the wicked persecutor turned fiercely on the Levite Lawrence, who was remarkable, not only as a minister of the Sacraments, but also as distributor of the property of the Church, promising himself a double prey by the taking of this one man, namely, to make him betray the consecrated treasure, and apostatise from the true faith. The wretch was thus doubly fired by his greed for money and his hatred of the truth, his greed urging him to seize the gold, and his wickedness to rob a believer of Christ. He demanded of the upright keeper of the sacred treasury, to bring him the wealth of the Church, for which his rapacity longed. But the pureminded Levite showed him where these riches were stored, by bringing before him a great multitude of holy poor, by the feeding and clothing of whom he had laid up all. that he had, in such wise, that it could be lost no more, and was now all the safer, as the way of spending it had been the holier.

The baffled thief chafed, and his hatred for the godliness which had appointed such an use of riches, flaming forth, he attempted the robbery of a dearer treasure from him in whose hands he had found no coin, even to take from him that possession wherein he had holier wealth. He commanded Lawrence to deny Christ, and made ready to assail the immovable firmness of the Levite's soul with appalling tortures, of which the failure of the first was followed by the application of others more fearful still. When his limbs had been mangled and cut by many stripes, his tormentor ordered them to be roasted over a fire. He was laid on an iron grating, the bars of which by the continual fire below, became themselves burning hot, so that by turning and rearranging his limbs upon them, his agony was kept keener, and his suffering made to last longer.

Cruel savage! thou gainest nothing, and advancest nothing. That which can die passeth by degrees beyond the reach of thy tortures, and when Lawrence departeth to heaven, thou and thy fires are conquered. The love of Christ could not be overcome by the flames, and the glow that scorched the outward man was colder than that that burnt in the inner. Thou didst rage, O thou persecutor thou didst rage against the Martyr, but by making keener his agony, thou hast but made nobler his palm. What did thine imagination fail to discover that could minister to the glory of him who conquered thee, since even the means of his execution have turned to the honour of his triumph Wherefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us rejoice with spiritual joy, and make our boast in the Lord, Who is wonderful in His Saints, Ps. lxvii. 36, and hath given unto us, in them an help and an example let us, I say, make our boast of the extraordinary happiness of the illustrious Lawrence's end, in that same Lord Who hath so glorified the name of His servant throughout the whole world, that from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof, wheresoever the constellation of the Levitical lights shineth, even as Jerusalem is made glorious by Stephen, so Rome is made famous by Lawrence. (Pope Saint Leo the Great, Matins, The Divine Office, Feast of Saint Lawrence the Martyr.)

Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., described the scene as Saint Lawrence the Martyr gave up his life rather than to deny the Holy Faith after he had been scourged and torment on the rack prior to his being griddle alive on a hot gridiron:

The August sun has set behind the Vatican, and the life and animation which his burning heat, and had stilled for a time, began once more upon the seven hills. Lawrence was taken down from the rack about midday. In his prison, however, he had taken no rest, but wounded and bleeding as he was, he baptized the converts won to Christ by the sight of his courageous suffering. He confirmed their faith, and fired their souls with a martyr’s intrepidity. When the evening hour summoned Rome to its pleasures, the prefect recalled the executioners to their work, for a few hours’ rest ha sufficiently restored their energy to enable them to satisfy his cruelty.

Surrounded by this ill-favoured company, the prefect thus addressed the valiant deacon: ‘Sacrifice to the gods, or else the whole night long shall be witness of your torments.’ ‘My night has no darkness,’ answered Laurence. ‘and all things are full of light to me.’ They struck him on the mouth with stones, but he smiled and said: “I give Thee thanks, O Christ.’

The iron bed or gridiron with three bars was brought in and the saint was stripped of his garments and extended upon it while burning coals were placed beneath it. As they were holding him down with iron forks, Laurence said: ‘I offer myself as a sacrifice to God for an odour of sweetness.’ The executioners continually stirred up the fire and brought fresh coals, while they still held him down with their forks. Then the saint said: ‘Learn, unhappy man, how great is the power of my God; for your burning coals give me refreshment, but they will be your eternal punishment. I call Thee, O Lord, to witness: when I was accused, I did not deny Thee; when I was questioned, I confessed Thee, O Christ; on the red-hot coals I gave thanks.’ And with his countenance radiant with heavenly beauty, he continued: ‘Yea. I give Thee thanks, O Lord Jesus Christ, for that Thou has deigned to strengthen me.’ He then raised his eyes to his judge, and said: ‘See, this side is well-roasted; turn me on the other and eat.’ Then continuing his canticle of praise to God: ‘I give Thee thanks, O Lord, that I have merited to enter into Thy dwelling place.’ As he was on the point of death, he remembered the Church. The thought of the eternal Rome gave him fresh strength and he breathed forth this ecstatic prayer: ‘O Christ, only God, O Splendour, O Power of the Father, O Maker of heaven and earth, and builder of the city’s walls! Thou hast placed Rome’s sceptre high over all. Thou hast willed to subject the world to it, in order to unite under one law the nations which differ in manner, customs, language, genius, and sacrifice. Behold the whole human race has submitted to its empire, and all discord and dissensions disappear in its unity. Remember thy purpose: Thou didst will to bind the immense universe together under the Christian Kingdom. O Christ, for the sake of Thy Romans, make this city Christian; for to it Thou gavest the charge of leading all the rest to sacred unity. All its members in every place are united—a very type of Thy Kingdom; the conquered universe has bowed before it. Oh! may its royal head be bowed in turn! Send Thy Gabriel and bid him heal the blindness of the sons of Iulus that they may know the true God. I see a prince who is to come—an Emperor who is a servant of God. He will not suffer Rome to remain a slave; he will close the temples and fasten them with bolts for ever.’

Thus he prayed, and with these words he breathed forth his soul. Some noble Romans who had been conquered to Christ by the martyr’s admirable boldness, removed his body; the love of the most high God had suddenly filled their hearts and dispelled their former errors. From that day the worship of the infamous gods grew cold; few people went now to the temples, but hastened to the altars of Christ. Thus Laurence, going unarmed to the battle, had wounded the enemy with his own sword.’ (Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., The Liturgical Year, Volume 13, Time after Penteocost, Book IV, pp. 307-308.)

“Make this city Christian.”

The conciliar “popes,” including Jorge Mario Bergoglio at present, have done the work of de-Christianizing the world, all in the name of the “new evangelization, including the City of Rome itself. “Saint John Paul II” himself specifically rejected 1929 Lateran Concordat’s stipulation that Catholicism was to be recognized as the official religion of Italy. The 1929 Concordat was thus revised accordingly on February 18, 1984:

1.  With Reference to Article 1

The principle, originally stated in Lateran treaties, that the Catholic religion is the sole religion of the Italian state is no longer in force. (1984 Revisions to the 1929 Lateran Concordat.)

Indeed, the late Archbishop Marcel Lebvre, the founder of the Gallicanist Society of Saint Pius X, correctly pointed out to Joseph “Cardinal” Ratzinger in 1987 that the future “Pope Benedict XVI” was working to-Christianize society, something that should have taught His Excellency that he was not dealing with an official of the Catholic Church:

Under pressure, Rome gave in. On July 14, Cardinal Ratzinger received Archbishop Lefebvre at the Holy Office. At first the Cardinal persisted in arguing that "the State is competent in religious matters."

"But the State must have an ultimate and eternal end," replied the Archbishop.

"Your Grace, that is the case for the Church, not the State. By itself the State does not know."

Archbishop Lefebvre was distraught: a Cardinal and Prefect of the Holy Office wanted to show him that the State can have no religion and cannot prevent the spread of error. However, before talking about concessions, the Cardinal made a threat: the consequence of an illicit episcopal consecration would be "schism and excommunication."

"Schism?" retorted the Archbishop. "If there is a schism, it is because of what the Vatican did at Assisi and how you replied to our Dubiae: the Church is breaking with the traditional Magisterium. But the Church against her past and her Tradition is not the Catholic Church; this is why being excommunicated by a liberal, ecumenical, and revolutionary Church is a matter of indifference to us."

As this tirade ended, Joseph Ratzinger gave in: "Let us find a practical solution. Make a moderate declaration on the Council and the new missal a bit like the one that Jean Guitton has suggested to you. Then, we would give you a bishop for ordinations, we could work out an arrangement with the diocesan bishops, and you could continue as you are doing. As for a Cardinal Protector, and make your suggestions."

How did Marcel Lefebvre not jump for joy? Rome was giving in! But his penetrating faith went to the very heart of the Cardinal's rejection of doctrine. He said to himself: "So, must Jesus no longer reign? Is Jesus no longer God? Rome has lost the Faith. Rome is in apostasy. We can no longer trust this lot!" To the Cardinal, he said:

"Eminence, even if you give us everything--a bishop, some autonomy from the bishops, the 1962 liturgy, allow us to continue our seminaries--we cannot work together because we are going in different directions. You are working to dechristianize society and the Church, and we are working to Christianize them.

"For us, our Lord Jesus Christ is everything. He is our life. The Church is our Lord Jesus Christ; the priest is another Christ; the Mass is the triumph of Jesus Christ on the cross; in our seminaries everything tends towards the reign of our Lord Jesus Christ. But you! You are doing the opposite: you have just wanted to prove to me that our Lord Jesus Christ cannot, and must not, reign over society.

Recounting this incident, the Archbishop described the Cardinal's attitude: "Motionless, he looked at me, his eyes expressionless, as if I had just suggested something incomprehensible or unheard of." Then Ratzinger tried to argue that "the Church can still say whatever she wants to the State," while Lefebvre, the intuitive master of Catholic metaphysics, did not lose sight of the true end of human societies: the Reign of Christ." Fr. de Tinguy hit the nail on the head when he said of Marcel Lefebvre: "His faith defies those who love theological quibbles." (His Excellency Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, The Biography of Marcel Lefebvre, Kansas City, Missouri: Angelus Press, 2004, pp. 547-548.) 

It is important to note that a “revolutionary” church cannot be the Catholic Church. Saint Pius X taught Catholicism is the very foundation of social order:

Here we have, founded by Catholics, an inter-denominational association that is to work for the reform of civilization, an undertaking which is above all religious in character; for there is no true civilization without a moral civilization, and no true moral civilization without the true religion: it is a proven truth, a historical fact. (Pope Saint Pius X, Notre Charge Apostolique, August 15, 1910.)

No, Venerable Brethren, We must repeat with the utmost energy in these times of social and intellectual anarchy when everyone takes it upon himself to teach as a teacher and lawmaker - the City cannot be built otherwise than as God has built it; society cannot be setup unless the Church lays the foundations and supervises the work; no, civilization is not something yet to be found, nor is the New City to be built on hazy notions; it has been in existence and still is: it is Christian civilization, it is the Catholic City. It has only to be set up and restored continually against the unremitting attacks of insane dreamers, rebels and miscreants. omnia instaurare in Christo. (Pope Saint Pius X, Notre Charge Apostolique, August 15, 1910.)

There is nothing Catholic to be found in the teaching of the conciliar “popes” on the necessity of reclaiming cities and nations for Christ the King and His true Church. The conciliar revolutionaries have shown themselves to be the haters of the Holy Faith and of the true God Who has entrusted to the Catholic Church His Sacred Deposit of Faith.

Dom Prosper Gueranger has given us a prayer with which to honor Saint Lawrence on his feast day:

‘Thrice blessed are the Roman people, for they honour thee on the very spot where thy sacred bones repose! They prostrate in thy sanctuary, and watering the ground with their tears they pour out their vows. We who are distant from Rome, separated by the Alps and Pyrenees, how can we ever imagine what treasures she possesses, or how rich is her earth in sacred tombs? We have not her privileges; but from afar we gaze on the heavens. O holy Laurence! it is there we seek the memorial of thy passion; for thou hast two dwelling-places, that of thy body on earth, and that of thy soul in heaven. In the ineffable heavenly city thou has been received to citizenship, and the civic crown adorns thy brow in its eternal Senate. So brightly shine thy jewels that it seemeth the heavenly Rome hath chosen thee perpetual Consul. The joy of the Quirites proves how great is thine office, thine influence, and thy power, for thou grantest their requests. Thou hearest all who pray to three, they ask what they will and none ever goes away sad.

‘Ever assist thy children of the queen city; give them the strong support of thy fatherly love, and a mother’s tender, loving care. Together with them, O thou honour of Christ, listen thy humble client confessing his misery and sins. I acknowledge that I am not worthy that Christ should hear me; but though the patronage of the holy martyrs, my evils can be remedied. Hearken to thy suppliant; in thy goodness free me form the fetters of the flesh and the world.’ (Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., The Liturgical Year, Volume 13, Time after Pentecost, Book IV, pp. 307-308.)

May the Rosaries we pray in this month of August, the month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, hasten the day when a true pope will fulfill Our Lady’s Fatima Message by consecrating Russia to the same Immaculate Heart of Mary with all of the world’s true bishops. In the meantime, we pray to the martyrs, including our dear, courageous Saint Lawrence the Martyr, to make no concessions to lords of Modernity in the world or to those of Modernism in the counterfeit church of conciliarism as to make any concessions is deny Christ the King before men. 

Vivat Christus Rex!

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.

Saint Joseph, pray for us.

Saint Lawrence the Deacon, pray for us.