…THE SHARP POINTY STICK APPROACH…..

419073_442144382505138_1407182026_n

So…I wish to make a confession.

I am sure it comes as NO surprise that I, J.L. Wallace, am a sinner….oh yes, don’t look so shocked (or laugh too loud). I am a sinner, and what’s more I KNOW IT.

See, therein lay the entire crux of what I am about to expound. For some, knowing they are a sinner is something they could care two figs about…for others, it is a source of deep abashed feelings or emotions….for ME, however, it is a source of never-ending resolve.

When I became a Cleric, I resolved to notice every day that I fail God in so many ways…BUT…I also resolved to correct those ways every single day. Some days I do not meet my mark, of course, for I suffer from one of the WORST sins in the book…WRATH.

When someone asks me “WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?” and “By whose authority do you do this?”  I say “I am the Reverend Friar, Dr. J.L. Wallace, ThD (That is Advanced Degree in Theology in case you did not know)..SERVANT of God..I do what I do by HIS authority, for I need NONE HIGHER”…yeah…I let them get to me almost every time…stupidity does that to a person who suffers from Wrath….but I am working on correcting that. 🙂

Recently I was approached by a real pew-pounding-HEY HALLELUJAH type. You know, one of those who believes they do no wrong, are sinless before God, and want to convert EVERYONE to the way their church thinks because (and I quote) “There is a war for souls…Satan is trying to take over their soul, and the world”….well…DUH! Of course I responded in a typically ME fashion “Satan does not concern me”. It’s true! What some fallen angel tries to do with weak minded people who make weak minded choices is really NONE of my concern.

They seemed put out that I was not “Preaching the sword of truth” and trying to get people afraid…so afraid that they will lose their soul and therefore not be redeemed.

Let me fill you all in on something: God gave man free will..the ability to choose who they worship, who they follow, and what they want to do with THEIR SOUL. Their soul is not in my keeping, for I am only here to serve them FOR GOD and to help them find their way back to their faith (WHATEVER THEIR FAITH MAY BE), nor is it my duty to scare them into running to a church. There are PLENTY of churches out there doing just that right now…see how well it is working for them? (that was sarcasm, by the way)

You cannot convert someone by poking them in the heart with a sharp pointy stick and say “convert or die”. It just does not work. Oh sure, they may go to the church and do their pater and ave like a good Christian…but when they leave the church they seem to leave something behind…GOD. They go home, and sink right back into their sins because they believe they are “saved” simply because they attend a building service once a week. I, on the other hand, remind them DAILY to keep up the good work and keep striving to better themselves in His Graces.

Their faith is limited to the building they attend…when they leave it, they leave Him there among the pews.

Me, I go a different path. I use the “Feather Hammer” approach.

I gently remind them of God, His mercy, love, forgiveness, and willingness to accept their flawed and imperfect selves back into His graces if only they remember who they are, who made them, and WHY they need to change. I do not scare them into loving God…for if you make people afraid, then the change is not real.

The change has to occur INSIDE of them.

THEY have to realize what they did wrong, and ask for His forgiveness…not have it handed to them on a public forum and have them shouting “I AM A SINNER!” before a crowd.

People are touchy creatures, and it only takes a nudge instead of a shove, to get them to do the right thing..lest they become outraged,or embarrassed, and slink away back into the life they had before their ‘conversion’.

Take my Parish, for example.

MANY of the people who are in my online Parish are those the CHURCHES ‘threw away’…why? Because they did not follow THE CHURCH’S LAWS.

Now, I don’t know about you but I was under the impression we were supposed to be following GOD’S laws. ..I will come back to that point in a second, but first let me say this: I love how in this day and age we have public education, and all the modern miracles and tools of learning at our fingertips.

We learn to read, comprehend, and put into practice the language we are taught to speak and write….it is truly a marvel that less than 100 years ago only a handful out of a thousand COULD read or write. Now we have computers, and media technology that makes the entire WORLD at our fingertips…sigh…truly a marvel.

So..with that said…I return to the subject…is there ANY SINGLE PERSON on the face of this planet that has NOT heard of God? Heard of Jesus? …Are there people that have been living in a cave for hundreds of years who have NOT read about things like The Resurrection, Heaven, Hell, Adam and Eve, sin, redemption, salvation, and repentance…?

I know many CLAIM to have ‘read the Bible’…but have they READ the Bible???

If they had they seemed to have missed something…which I will cheerfully point out now….

YOU CANNOT PICK AND CHOOSE WHAT GOD SAYS. If God has chosen someone to spread His word, and commands it to be as it is written, then who do YOU think you are to try and change that?

Do YOU know the mind and will of God?

Are you THAT arrogant that you believe that only YOUR church is right?

I have heard EVERY church claim that title…hence why I am not IN a church. How can EVERY church claim to be the ‘one true faith’?

Will it not cause confusion and drive away the very people you are trying to save?

Will it not make them say “If they are ALL the ‘right way’ and yet fight among themselves, and their people judge others outside of their belief system, then how can I choose which one to follow if they are not ACTING LIKE CHRISTIANS SHOULD?”…???

What God dictated to mankind in The Bible is FLAT FACT…PERIOD….it is not open for discussion, nor is it open for interpretation. You cannot pull ONE scripture out, found a belief structure upon it, herd people into the church with sharp pointy sticks, and MAKE them believe.

Jesus Himself never emotionally, or mentally, battered people into believing in Him. He simply stated His mission, told them the laws, and expected them to make a choice…believe in Him, or not. For in the end it is on THEM and THEIR SOUL should they choose otherwise.

He spoke of His Father’s love, mercy, forgiveness, and willingness to give EVERYTHING people asked for, all they had to do was believe in Him, and simply to ask.

He also spoke of “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” (John 10:16)…so if you speak the TRUTH, UNALTERED AND UNDILUTED BY DOGMA AND RHETORIC then people WILL flock into the church…but sadly, I have seen little of that lately.

There is a reason people are not going to church now…there is a reason people’s faith is slipping…they do not like being judged by MAN. They do not like having someone point out their flaws and yet not correct THEIR OWN.

Now, I know that churches have their rhetoric, dogma, rules…but tell me, how can these rules apply to everyone EXCEPT the people ‘preaching’…? I have NEVER thought myself above everyone else…never looked down on a ‘sinner’..never said “They do not believe as I do…so I cannot associate with them or talk to them”.

I am like everyone else…I am a sinner, and I fail God. The only difference is that I KNOW these things, and am willing to put my all into helping OTHER people to realize that God loves them no matter HOW flawed they are, and that if they just simply trust in Him, BELIEVE in Him, then they have a better shot at getting into His Kingdom.

The point I am trying to make is NOT with a stick, it is with a LOVING HAND that I reach out an grasp the hand of another…

As my Master said “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” (Luke 5:31)…and I have never met a doctor who yelled at his patient saying “YOU SILLY,SILLY SICK PERSON…GET INSIDE AND BE HEALED!”. I HAVE, however, heard my Master (the GREAT Physician) say “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  “If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?” ( Matthew 5:47)…hence why HE HIMSELF sat with tax collectors, soldiers, prostitutes, and every kind of ‘scum’ know to man back then.  It was because of this He also said “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34)

Point of fact: He ALSO said “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:30-31)…and… ““Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1-2) …so…explain to me how you can call someone a sinner, yet do not realize that YOU YOURSELF are a sinner as well?

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?

You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” – Matthew 7:3-5

I tell ya…sometimes it gets my blood boiling so hot when I see other people condemning what I do, yet they themselves are not willing to take up the yoke and help other people. What I do, I do out of LOVE….Love for God…love for MANKIND. I do not do it for numbers, or fame, or money, or simply to say “I converted so many people”…I do it because yes I realize “The End is near”…I even say to people “repent, for the kingdom of Heaven draws near”. (Matthew 4:17)….but I ALSO know this…that if you speak TRUTH…if you speak PEACE, then people WILL understand and change their ways…as they did with my Master…”THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SITTING IN DARKNESS SAW A GREAT LIGHT, AND THOSE WHO WERE SITTING IN THE LAND AND SHADOW OF DEATH, UPON THEM A LIGHT DAWNED.” (Matthew 4:16)

People are not idiots…well…not MANY at any rate… 😀 But they DO understand that God is watching, I know because I remind them..they DO know God is judging ONLY THEM, not en-mass…but as INDIVIDUALS…again, I know because I remind them…but I remind them GENTLY…for is it not written “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.”  (Galatians 6:1)…and so…in helping others realize their problems and help them through them, I in turn help MYSELF so that I too may not fall into the same trap.

You cannot yell at someone, scare the bejeepers out of them with talk of sin, hellfire, damnation, and then expect them to want to come join in your prayers!

You have to make them understand that GOD IS LOVE but by doing it GENTLY..USING HIS WORDS….”No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.” (1 John 4:12)

I am reminded of when my Master said “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.” (Matthew 23:15)…I myself realize my faults, my sins, and my errors…but ONE error I refuse to admit to is that I am “teaching false doctrine”.

I give The Word as it is written…no interpretation…no dogma…no rhetoric, for it itself NEEDS NONE FOR IT STAND ALONE AS THE WORD OF GOD. It is written in plain black and white, and since people CAN read, they too know it’s interpretation. So, if I simply give it as it is written, and without interpretation, and I do not spout church laws or doctrine, therefore (LOGICALLY) I cannot be preaching ‘false doctrine’.

Some people, however, no matter HOW hard you try will not accept the facts…they will splutter, and fuss, and use words pounded into them from a pulpit, and be as blind as a bat in daytime to anything anyone says differently.

“Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit?” – Luke 6:39

In conclusion I will say this…I cannot be converted, for my faith is solid…for it comes from CHRIST HIMSELF. It was HE who sought me out…HE who commanded me to serve…and until HE says otherwise, I will continue to serve as He has shown me to…for I took MY schooling from HIM. If you read the Bible, then you know how He instructed His disciples, how He appointed them and said “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)…sorry, but you cannot do that only on Sunday…behind the walls of a building….without actually DOING something about it..

You cannot scream at them how much of a sinner they are, order them to redeem themselves, and not do something to help them out of the hole they fell in because they were not as strong in faith as you are.

Again I quote: “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?

Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.

If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”

Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless ?

Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?

You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.

And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.

You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.”  – James 2:14-26

That is the difference between those like ME, and those like THEM. I dared to give it all up, and reach into the darkness to help pull them into the light with a LOVING hand, not a mailed fist.

So…PUT DOWN THE POINTY STICK, TAKE UP THE BIBLE, READ IT, THEN FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS!

SAINT OF THE DAY: 17 AUGUST, 2015

Saint Hyacinth

Missionary Preacher and Thaumaturge
(† 1257)

Saint Hyacinth

Saint Hyacinth, named the glorious Apostle of the North, was born of noble parents in Poland, about the year 1185. In 1218, as a Canon of Cracow he accompanied the bishop of that region to Rome.

There he met Saint Dominic and soon afterward was one of the first to receive the habit of the Friar Preachers, in a group clothed by the patriarch himself.

He became a living copy of his dear master.

The church was his only chamber, and the ground his only bed.

So wonderful was his progress in virtue that within a year Dominic sent him with a small group to preach and plant the Order in Poland, where he founded two houses.

His apostolic journeys extended over numerous and vast regions. Austria, Bohemia, Livonia, the shores of the Black Sea, Tartary, Northern China in the east, Sweden, Norway and Denmark to the west, were evangelized by him, and he is said to have visited Scotland. Everywhere he traveled unarmed, without a horse, with no money, no interpreters, no furs in the severe winters, and often without a guide, abandoning to Divine Providence his mission in its entirety.

Everywhere multitudes were converted, churches and convents were built; one hundred and twenty thousand pagans and infidels were baptized by his hands.

He worked many miracles; at Cracow he raised a dead youth to life.

He had inherited from Saint Dominic a perfect filial confidence in the Mother of God; to Her he ascribed his success, and to Her aid he looked for his own salvation.

It was at the request of this indefatigable missionary that Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote his famous philosophical Summa contra Gentiles, proving the reasonableness of the Faith on behalf of those unfamiliar with doctrine.

While Saint Hyacinth was at Kiev the Tartars sacked the town, but it was only as he finished Mass that the Saint heard of the danger.

Without waiting to unvest, he took the ciborium in his hands, and was leaving the church.

Then occurred the most famous of his countless prodigies.

As he passed by a statue of Mary a voice said: Hyacinth, My son, why do you leave Me behind? Take Me with you… The statue was of heavy alabaster, but when Hyacinth took it in his arms it was light as a reed.

With the Blessed Sacrament and the statue he walked to the Dnieper river, and crossed dry-shod over the surface of the waters to the far bank.

On the eve of the Assumption, 1257, he was advised of his coming death.

In spite of an unrelenting fever, he celebrated Mass on the feast day and communicated as a dying man.

He was anointed at the foot of altar, and died on the great Feast of Our Lady.

(SOURCE: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).)

READING OF THE DAY: 17 AUGUST, 2015

A homeless man sits covered in snow early on March 25, 2013 in Washington, DC. A messy Monday is in store for millions along the East Coast, with winter weather advisories warning of a mixture of snow and rain for Washington, DC, Philadelphia, metropolitan New York and parts of northeast New Jersey. AFP PHOTO / Karen BLEIERKAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images ORG XMIT:

“A young man approached Jesus and said, “Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?”

He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good?

There is only One who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

He asked him, “Which ones?”

And Jesus replied, ” ‘You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness;
honor your father and your mother’; and ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.'”

The young man said to him, “All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?”

Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to (the) poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.” -Matthew 19:16-22.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 16 AUGUST, 2015

Saint Roch

Saint Roch

Confessor, Patron Saint of Invalids, and Dogs
(† 1327)

Saint Roch was the son of a governor of Montpellier.

His pious parents, already advanced in age, obtained his birth by their persevering prayers, promising to give to God the child He would grant them.

This miraculous infant was born with a red cross on his breast, sign of a very particular predestination.

From the age of five he began to chastise his little body by privations.

As he grew in age and in grace, he was noted for his gracious hospitality for the poor and travelers.

He was not yet twenty years old when he experienced the grief of losing both his father and his mother.

He immediately sold all his property and made himself poor to follow Christ.

He entered the Third Order of Saint Francis and dressed as a pilgrim, traveled on foot to Rome, asking alms.

A pestilence was then devastating Italy; he devoted himself to caring for the sick.

Passing alongside their beds, he would take their hand, and with them make the sign of the Cross, and all rose up cured. In Rome, miracles multiplied where he passed.

He lived there for three years without making known his name and his origins, even to the Holy Father.

Then, returning to his native region, he was suddenly seized by the plague and withdrew into a cabin on the borders of a forest, where a dog brought him a small loaf of bread every day.

Cured by the graces of heaven, he entered Montpellier like a stranger; and his uncle, the governor, not recognizing him, cast him into prison as a spy.

After five years there he died, stretched out on the ground, after receiving the Last Sacraments.

He was recognized by the red cross on his breast, and his funeral was a triumph.

His cult became very popular and has remained so for the entire Church.

We always see him pictured with his famous little dog.

(SOURCE: Lives of the Saints for Every Day of the Year. (Reprint of the work of John Gilmary Shea, with Appendix including recently canonized Saints) (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1955).)

COMMENTARY ON READING: 13 AUGUST, 2015

preach1
Commentary on the reading of the day provided by :

Saint Augustine (354-430), Bishop of Hippo (North Africa) and Doctor of the Church
Sermon 83, 2

“Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us” (Mt 5,12)

Everyone is God’s debtor and has his brother as debtor. Indeed, who is there who owes nothing to God except the one in whom no sin could be found?

And who has no brother as his debtor if not the one whom no one has offended?

Do you think you can find a single person in all humankind who is not answerable to his brother for some fault or other?

So each of us is a debtor and has debtors.

That is why the righteous God gives you a rule of conduct regarding your debtor which he follows with regard to his.

For there are two works of mercy able to set us free that the Lord himself teaches us in a few words in his Gospel: “Forgive and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given you” (Lk 6,37f.)… This refers to indulgence and kindness.

This is what he teaches us about forgiveness: you want to be forgiven for your sins and you also have sins to forgive others.

The same applies to charity: a beggar asks you an alms and you are God’s beggar, for we are all beggars of God when we pray to him.

We stand – or rather, we prostrate ourselves – before our Father’s door, before his great bounty.

Groaning, we implore him, anxious to receive something from him: now, this ‘something’ is God himself.

But what is the beggar asking you? Bread?

As for you, what are you asking God if not Christ, who said: “I am the living bread come down from heaven” (Jn 6,51).

Do you wish to be forgiven?

“Forgive and you will be forgiven.”

Do you wish to receive?

“Give, and it will be given you.”

READING OF THE DAY: 13 AUGUST, 2015

svourxda

“Peter approached Jesus and asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?”

Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.

That is why the kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants.

When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.

Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt.

At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’

Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan.

When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount.

He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, ‘Pay back what you owe.’

Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’

But he refused. Instead, he had him put in prison until he paid back the debt.

Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair.

His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.
Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?’

Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt.

So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.”

When Jesus finished these words, he left Galilee and went to the district of Judea across the Jordan.” -Matthew 18:21-35.19:1.

READING OF THE DAY: 12 AUGUST, 2015

hqdefault (1)

“Jesus said to his disciples: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.

If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.

If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’

If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.

Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Again, (amen,) I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”” -Matthew 18:15-20.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 11 AUGUST, 2015

Saint- Clare of Assisi 3

Saint Clare of Assisi

Foundress and Abbess
(1194-1253)

On Palm Sunday, March 19, 1212, a maiden eighteen years of age left her rich and noble family to retire for her reception as a religious to the little church of the Portiuncula. This maiden was Saint Clare.

Already she had learned from Saint Francis to scorn the world, and was secretly resolved to live for God alone.

There she was met by Saint Francis and his brethren, and at the altar of Our Lady, Saint Francis cut off her hair, clothed her in the habit of penance, a piece of sackcloth, with a cord as a cincture.

Thus was she espoused to Christ. Saint Francis placed her for the moment in a Benedictine convent.

It was in a tiny house outside Assisi that she founded her Order.

Two weeks after Clare’s consecration, her sister Agnes left home secretly to go to join her, at the age of fourteen years. Agnes succeeded in her intention, despite their father’s strong opposition and a convoy of twelve men who attempted to take her back home by force.

While Clare prayed in the convent, Agnes became so heavy they were unable to move her.

Later their mother and other noble ladies joined them.

They went barefoot, observed perpetual abstinence, constant silence, and perfect poverty.

Saint Clare is celebrated for a miracle which occurred when the Saracen army of Frederick II was ravaging the valley of Spoleto.

A legion of infidels advanced to assault the convent outside Assisi. The Saint, who was ill in the infirmary, rose and went, supported by her religious, to the door of the convent; there she had the Blessed Sacrament placed in a monstrance above the gate of the monastery facing the enemy.

She knelt before it and prayed, Deliver not to beasts, O Lord, the souls of those who confess Your Name!

A voice from the Host replied, My protection will never fail you.

A sudden panic seized the infidel army, which took flight; and the Saint’s convent was spared.

Although Saint Clare herself never left her monastery of Saint Damian, her Order spread in many places not only in Europe but elsewhere, and some four thousand convents, divided into several branches, shelter her disciples.

Many Saints have come from these, especially from the groups which have maintained the original absolute poverty of her Constitutions.

The Sisters of the original Order live by charity, and their convents possess nothing.

Saint Clare died in 1253, as the Passion was being read, and Our Lady and the Angels conducted her to glory.

(SOURCE: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 9;Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).)

READING OF THE DAY: 11 AUGUST, 2015

JesusTeachingLovingChild

“The disciples approached Jesus and said, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.

See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.

What is your opinion?

If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray?

And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray.

In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.”” -Matthew 18:1-5.10.12-14.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 10 AUGUST, 2015

St_Lawrence_MBA_Lyon_EX60b

Saint Lawrence

Deacon and Martyr

Patron Saint of Cooks
(† 258)

Saint Lawrence was Chief of the seven deacons of Rome. In the year 258 Pope Sixtus was led out to die, and Saint Lawrence followed beside him, weeping because unable to share his fate. Where are you going, my father, without your son?

Where are you going, holy pontiff, without your deacon?

Never did you offer a sacrifice without my serving you at the altar.

In what way have I displeased you?

The holy Pope comforted him with the words, I am not abandoning you, my son; a more difficult trial and a more glorious victory are reserved for you; in three days you will follow me.

This prophecy was fulfilled. After the Pope’s martyrdom the prefect of the city, knowing the rich offerings which the Christians put into the hands of the clergy, demanded the treasures of the Roman Church from Lawrence, their guardian.

The Saint promised to show him, at the end of three days, riches exceeding all the wealth of the empire. He was granted the time of delay.

The Archdeacon of Rome went about assembling the poor, the infirm, and the religious who lived by the alms of the faithful, and he brought them to the prefect on the appointed day. Behold the treasures I promised you; I add pearls and precious stones — these virgins and widows consecrated to God; the Church has no other riches.

The prefect replied: How dare you play games with me, miserable one?

Is this how you show your contempt for the imperial power?

Christ, whom Lawrence had served in His poor, gave him strength in the conflict which ensued.

After being placed on the rack, he was stretched on a grill over a slow fire.

He joked about his pains. I am roasted enough on this side, he said, perhaps you should turn me over.

Soon, his gaze towards heaven, he gave up his soul to God.

He was buried in the catacomb near the Tiburtine Way, called the Verano Field, a little over a mile from the city walls.

The faithful watched there for three days to mourn their holy Archdeacon who had been so good to them. God, by the glory of this holy martyr, demonstrates the value He sets upon love for the poor.

Innumerable prayers were offered at his tomb.

Saint Lawrence continued from his throne in heaven his charity to those in need, granting them, as Saint Augustine says, the smaller graces which they sought, and leading them to the desire of better gifts.

(SOURCE: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 9;Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).)