Saint Lawrence was one of
seven deacons who were in charge of giving help to the poor and the
needy. When a persecution broke out, Pope St. Sixtus was condemned to
death. As he was led to execution, Lawrence followed him weeping,
"Father, where are you going without your deacon?" he said.
"I am not leaving you, my son," answered the Pope. "in
three days you will follow me." Full of joy, Lawrence gave to the
poor the rest of the money he had on hand and even sold expensive
vessels to have more to give away.
The Prefect of Rome, a
greedy pagan, thought the Church had a great fortune hidden away. So he
ordered Lawrence to bring the Church's treasure to him. The Saint said
he would, in three days. Then he went through the city and gathered
together all the poor and sick people supported by the Church. When he
showed them to the Prefect, he said: "This is the Church's
In great anger, the
Prefect condemned Lawrence to a slow, cruel death. The Saint was tied on
top of an iron grill over a slow fire that roasted his flesh little by
little, but Lawrence was burning with so much love of God that he almost
did not feel the flames. In fact, God gave him so much strength and joy
that he even joked. "Turn me over," he said to the judge.
"I'm done on this side!" And just before he died, he said,
"It's cooked enough now." Then he prayed that the city of Rome
might be converted to Jesus and that the Catholic Faith might spread all
over the world. After that, he went to receive the martyr's reward. Saint Lawrence's feast day is August 10th.