(Sermo 329 in natali martyrum: PL 38, 1454-1456; St Augustine, Bishop, Doctor – of Grace)
The church everywhere flourishes through the glorious deeds of the holy martyrs. With our own eyes we can judge the truth of our song, that the death of his saints is precious in the sight of The Lord. [Psalms 115:15] It is precious in our sight and in the sight of the Lord as well, for in his name they died.
But the price of these deaths is the death of one man. See how many deaths is the death he paid for dying himself! For if he had not died, would the grain of wheat have been multiplied? You have heard what he said on his way to his passion, which was our redemption: “Amen, amen I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, Itself remain alone. But if it die, it bring forth much fruit. He that love his life shall lose it; and he that hate his life in this world, keep it unto life eternal. “Unless the grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains alone; but of it dies, it bears much fruit.” [Jn12:24-25]
On the cross he made the great exchange. There the purse which held our price was opened, for when the soldier spear opened his side, the price of the whole world flowed forth. Thus he purchased the faithful and the martyrs. But the faith of the Martyrs has been tested, their blood is the proof. They paid back the price Christ paid for them, thus fulfilling the words of St John; “Just as Christ laid down his life for us, we too must lay down our lives for our brothers”.[1Jn3:16]
Elsewhere it is said: You are seated at a great table, Observe carefully all that is set before you, for you also must prepare such a banquet. The table is large, for the banquet is none other than the Lord of the table himself. No one has his guests feed upon himself, and yet this is precisely what Christ our Lord does; though host, he himself is both food and drink. The martyrs recognized the food and drink they were given, in order to make repayment in kind.
But how can they make repayment, unless he first spends his riches on them and gives them the means to repay? And what does the psalm we have sung recommend when it says: “the death of the saints is precious in the sight of the Lord ? [ Psalms 115:15]
In this Psalm man ponders the great things he has received from god, the great gifts of grace from the Almighty: God created man, sought him when he was lost, pardoned him when he was found, supported him when he struggled in weakness, did not abandon him when he was in danger, crowned him in victory, and gave himself as the prize. Reflecting on all this, man cries out, saying “What shall I give the Lord for all he has given me? I shall take up the cup of salvation.
What is this Cup? It is the cup of suffering, bitter but helpful: the cup which, if the physician did not did not first drink it, the sick man would fear to touch, Yes, it is the cup of suffering, and of it Christ is speaking when he says, Father, if it is possible let this cup pass from me. [Mt26:39 ]
Of this cup the martyrs said: “I shall take the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord.” [“I will take the chalice of salvation; and I will call upon the name of the Lord.” [Psalms 115:13] “Love God all thy life, and call upon him for thy salvation.” [Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) 13:18] ]..But are you afraid you will weaken? No they reply, And why? Because I shall call upon the name of the Lord. Do you think martyrs could have been victorious, unless he was victorious in the martyrs who said: Rejoice, for I have overcome the world? The Lord of heavens directed their minds and tongues; through them he overcame the devil of the earth and crowned them as martyrs in heaven. Blessed are those who have drunk this cup! Their torments are at an end, and they have taken their place of honor. And so, my dear ones, consider; although you cannot see with your eyes, do so with your mind and soul, and see that the death of the saints is precious in the sight of the Lord. [Psalms 115:15]
St. Lawrence (August 10th) was roasted alive
on a gridiron; therefore his attribute in Christian Art is the instrument of his martyrdom. St. Lawrence is commonly said to be the patron saint of lazy people, because he was too lazy to turn himself over on the gridiron. The Golden Legend, it should be added, is not responsible for this not very witty statement. In addition to the gridiron hanging from his girdle, or lying by his side, the saint is represented at times in a deacon’s dress, with tongues of fire embroidered upon it, in allusion to his martyrdom. Where the gridiron is omitted he has a plate of gold or silver, or it may be a money-bag in his hand, because the treasures of the Church were in his keeping. (Martyred 258.)
Facts and information about Saint Lawrence
- The patron of Fire and Bankers
- Born: c225 lived on earth 33 yrs. as did Christ
- Memorial Day / Feast Day: August 10th
- Date of Death: Saint Lawrence died in A.D. 258
- Cause of Death: Roasted alive on a gridiron
Daily Indulgence: Partial (300 days) (S.P. Ap., Nov 12, 1935). RACCOLTA pg509.